"Cowardice asks the question...is it safe? Expediency asks the question...is it politic? Vanity asks the question...is it popular? But conscience asks the question...is it right? And there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular but one must take it because it is right." ~Dr. Martin Luther King

Saturday, 24 May 2014

Clear bags versus opaque...how obscure is the plan. What else don't we know?

A garbage incinerator is being jointly built  by Durham and York Region. Garbage will no longer be trucked across the border to another country for disposal  because we are so pernickety we can't stand
the idea of disposing it  in our neighbourhood.

The last  person who dared to identify a suitable site sufficiently distant from all human habitation was Bob Rae when he was Ontario's Premier and we all know what happened to him.And if you don't.I don't

I don't know why you don't because we keep being reminded by other parties what an awful period that was.

He suggested public servants in all sectors take days off without pay so that nobody would have to be laid off.

Oh  My Lord , the Public Service Unions under Sid Ryan, new friend of the Liberals, can still be heard over the years in their screams of outrage.

Bob Rae gave up on the NDP after that. But he never lived it down. There was a perfect example of a Leader who tried to deal with entitlement and paid the penalty.

Anyway, back to clear bags and the incinerator.

When the incinerator is operating, garbage content becomes critical.

The  problem is about batteries and such  getting into the incinerator and causing toxic emissions into the atmosphere.

The problem with clear plastic bags is public acceptance .

People  don't like their garbage to be exposed.  garbage  men might have  similar reluctance.

So...small opaque bags  inside the clear bags, can be used for that stuff.

At first , I thought the plan was fine. Then a consultant was brought in .I didn't know we had hired a consultant.

He talked about enforcement. I asked "How is that proposed" He said "Bylaw officers would issue tickets."

I almost fell back in my chair.  Somehow I couldn't picture that.

Now the suggestion is a bag containing something it shouldn't would get a sticker and be left behind.

Well no. That's not much better.

Markham's experience has been positive. Rates of separation have improved tremendously.

Initial reaction in Aurora  is negative.  So....The first hurdle is overcoming the first hurdle.

We need a few answers. Getting permission to build an incinerator  is not a simple process.

Was the risk of toxic emissions. a known factor and a qualified risk. If not why is it offered as an
argument for clear bags?

Other countries use incinerators. Do they use clear plastic bags ?  Or what?

What else do we need to know we haven't been told until now?

We certainly don't  want  toxic emissions from a garbage incinerator.

If clear bags versus opaque bags are the solution ,I don't think that should be a hard sell.

I think we need to do a better job of informing than we ever have before. Including this time.


Anonymous said...

Pleeeze, cut that out E. I still have a sink of dirty dishes to deal with......

Anonymous said...

Are these new garbage Bylaw officers going to be renamed as "Sanitation Clairvoyants?

And they should be equipped with metal detectors which would obviously respond to the presence of batteries. The offending bag should then be impounded and its producer summoned for a "strip and search" with a $500 fine if illegal (Bylaw) materials are discovered.

Anonymous said...

We take our electronic waste to the town site or one run by a school. You cannot legislate common sense. It ends up as a red herring at council and people get clobbered.

Tim the Enchanter said...

A portion From the Ajax News May 8/2014

Ajax will be using the new incinerator as well so their council is doing the Clear Bag Boogie too.

The "reasoning" is the same used in Aurora - burning batteries and other recyclables will cause air quality issues.


"Mirka Januszkiewicz, Durham Region’s director of waste management services, says a “comprehensive” staff report on the issue is coming to regional council. She also noted that clear bags are not a magical solution to preventing hazardous items from reaching the incinerator -- or for increasing Durham’s waste-diversion rate. She says “education is the best safeguard” and that even in a clear garbage bag, a waste disposal driver will not be able to distinguish a battery, for example."


How hard is it to hide a few household batteries?
And why weren't those batteries disposed of correctly?
Because we all know how to do that - right?

I'm not sure who's been mixing up this "clear bags will save the environment" Kool-Aid but councils near and far have been drinking it.

Of course there are the privacy issues but there seems to be a workaround there.
So you stop buying green bags and buy clear bags.
What's the big deal?

Other than I don't appreciate the fact that my own town council has apparently given up on recycling education and decided that good old-fashioned public shaming is just the ticket, as if picking up our garbage was a favour and not actually financed by the piles of cash that we leave on the Town Hall doorstep every year.
And I'm a tad miffed, though not the least bit surprised that they've found a handy consultant, who for only $45000 will inform us all of the subtle, yet distinct difference between green (bad) and clear(good) bags.

That's almost a year's worth of Hillary House financing isn't it?

Anonymous said...

Hey , Tim, we can always find a consultant. They move from town to town giving the same speech and just changing the names.

Tim the Enchanter said...

This week at Council

1. Received an estimate from the Godson construction company of approximately $1,500 for paving, grading and curbing a strip of payment on the grade at Centre and Yonge Sts. 163' x 28' and left the matter to be included in the town inspection by council on Saturday.

2. Named Saturday, May 25 as inspection day of the town by council members.

3. Received a letter from the C.N.R. industrial commission regarding water facilities in town for an industry and asked for further information.

4. Appointed finance and property committee to deal with the offer of A.A. Cook for the purchase of the match factory property.

5. Conferred with Mr. Bazley of Dehydrating Processes Ltd. regarding the quit claim deed to be received by the town and received assurance of co-operation.

6. Heard report of Dr. C.J. Devins on the health of the assistant town clerk, M.L. Andrews, and on a unanimous vote of council granted Mr. Andrews a two or three months' leave of absence, the first month on full pay and the succeeding time on half pay.

7. Heard Dr. C.J. Devins present the recommendations and suggestions of the safety week committee.

8. Heard Robert Smith, town employee, request increased wages and placed him on full-time at $18 per week for four months ending Sept. 30. His services to be hired from then on at 35 cents per hour as at present.

9. Heard Dr. C.J. Devans suggest a clean-up campaign to keep the streets and boulevards cleaner and urge the use of street receptacles for waste.

10. Approved purchase by fire committee of 2,000 ft of copper wire and materials at a cost of $64.70 for use in installing bells in the homes of brigade members and of replacing worn-out lines in alarm system

11. Heard David Judd and his brother Donald Judd complain of the visciousness of a certain collie dog and discussed at length the dog problem and the question of a municipal pound.

12. Approved use of Constables Dunham and Goulding at a central crossing for public school children at Yonge and Church Sts. daily.

13. Passed recommendations of relief committee whereby inspection and supervision of relief gardens will be made and a certain quota of production attained before any relief will be granted next winter.

14. Learned the provincial government will contribute $87.50 to the town for the expenditures on relief gardens.

15. Referred offer of Professor Henri Lasere of the use of 25 acres on his property (the Collins farm) for use or relief gardens to the relief committee.

16. Approved purchase of transformers by the electric light committee from Maloney Electric, all prices submitted being the same.

17. Approved purchase of a new Union Jack for the town hall at a cost of $12.

Oh - did I mention it was this week in May 1940?

The Mayor was JM Walton and council meetings were on Mondays.

"Of Mice and Men" was playing at the Royal Theatre.

The British Expeditionary Force was trapped at Dunkirk waiting for evacuation.

In the first baseball game of season in the Aurora town league Collis Leather defeated Fleury Bissell 7-4.

(incidentally, Fleury-Bissell had confirmed in April that they were moving to Elora ON)

Regarding items 13,14 & 15.
Aurora council made it a rule that in order to qualify for winter relief one had to cultivate a garden and grow two bags of potatoes per person and two bushels of turnips, carrots etc.
The town was allotting land to applicants, inspecting the gardens and providing storage if needed.

Just thought we might enjoy an interesting little respite from some of the current political heat.

Anonymous said...

Tim had me until I hit the 35 cents per hour.

Anonymous said...

Most of the reports are done at the behest of Cllr Thompson. He actually complained once that one was only 4 pages long. Nothing about the content which should be the important factor.