November 23rd, 2017

Some questions about recycling

By Letter to the Editor on August 1, 2017.

I had a very informative and eye-opening conversation with my brother who lives in Brooks. We started discussing the issues of recycling and what was happening in Lethbridge.

My brother informed me that about two years ago the Town of Brooks, which has a recycling program, informed their citizens to stop putting plastic into their recycling bins. The reason given was that the supplier that had been buying the Town of Brooks’ recycled plastic stopped (not sure why).

The real surprise was that this supplier had stopped buying the recycled plastic two or three years prior to the town even letting the citizens know. Apparently, the town was just bundling up the plastic and sending it to the landfill. I guess that at some point someone in the town had enough brains to fess up to the citizens the problem.

So here is the question: how much of this, if any, is happening in other communities or in Lethbridge? I truly hope not. Question number two: what does happen to all the recycling, where does it go, what is it made into and what is the long-term future of recycling?

Maybe the Lethbridge Herald can investigate and let its readers know. I would certainly like to know.

Barrie Orich


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18 Responses to “Some questions about recycling”

  1. phlushie says:

    Good point Barrie. Does it really work or is it a “feel good” project which geneerates income for the city administration? I doubt if there will be an investigative report, as the paper only reports and does not investigate.

    • Montreal13 says:

      Phlushie , I think you are right- feel good.
      very disappointing that the herald is often just stenographers and not journalists- it seems.
      maybe they do not investigate because they are hoping for a job at the city? even if they don’t think it would be politically correct to actually investigate, they could at least interview different parties concerned to get a different perspective. a number of people have gone from the herald to the city, for work. some “journalists” have been transferred from council and city reporting and replaced with what appears to be more naive stenographers. But who from city hall would suggest such a thing?

  2. HaroldP says:

    Barrie, your question posed to the Lethbridge Herald may prompt some investigation on their part, however, your question(s) are best presented to the Waste Management of the City of Lethbridge, in particular Mr. Dave Schaaf and or to our City Council in care of our current Mayor. If they are honest, they will report the same information that you have gleaned from Brooks. Let us know if you get any responses.

    • Montreal13 says:

      Perhaps the city waste department didnot want the plastics and glass etc. , but could not figure how to explain to those who can’t emotionally deal with the facts. So perhaps, the waste department thought it was easier to pretend with concerns that it might create yet another NO VOTE! One councilor voted no to blue cart the first or second go round( I believe council voted 3 times?)with the statement that he wanted answers as to what the city would actually do with material that in fact has NO market. Does it end up in a third world country’s dump or our dump? What answer he actually received , if any ,I don’t know. City councils politically motivated yes vote was in response to many who just want feel good and out of sight-out of mind solutions. Naturally the city wants the gravy – paper and cardboard. The private providers currently take more of a variety of items than the city will EVER agree to take in their blue carts.
      And of course the politically handcuffed environment lethbridge doesn’t want to know. most everything environment lethbridge supplies for info is readily available on countless social media sites for free. they have cost us at least $300,000 -that I know of. plus there are in house city employees covering the same areas for info etc. as environment lethbridge already. This duplication is all politically motived and the taxpayer has lots of money and lots of gullibility.
      Yes please email : share your responses, if any. Just don’t eat any of them – they may stain your teeth.

  3. biff says:

    for this newspaper to be relevant, investigative journalism is essential. we all get the gossip from so many places, but struggle to find credible info on important issues. perhaps the paper has become too chummy with city hall and the like. so much they could possibly discover. land flip deals?: might the city have sold parcels for a fraction of what they paid, and for far less than the flipped deals grow to? a simple game of follow the money might interest readers, and inspire more subscriptions.

  4. Montreal13 says:

    I agree biff. Plus, I think, this city needs an independent ombudsman and auditor, with real power,not like the mayor and councilors. they are often treated like the same mushrooms the rest of us are. can’t blame the city admin for that all the time though because there are times when city council can’t emotionally /politically deal with the facts either. of course they would never admit that ,because it would point out that in fact all we need them for is attending hockey /ball games, fund raising functions etc. and all expenses paid international conferences. let city admin openly run the show and have it policed with an ombudsman and auditor. These people could call them to task for certain “practices”. Can you think of many mayors and councilors who can /would do that? Many don’t have the first clue what the policies and practices are even suppose to be. And it seems as though we have only self policing for most of a mayor and councilor’s “practices”. Read conflict of interest rules for a laugh for one thing.
    Having said that if I were a manager of a department at city hall my wage is in part based on how many employees are under me. The more employees the higher the wage and in turn the higher the pension. May be I would be delighted to increase the size of my empire?

  5. biff says:

    thanks for the add on, mtl13. there is a better way for city hall to work, and for newspapers.

    • Mike says:

      Newspapers, especially small town newspapers, were handcuffed when they were collectively purchased by media barons such as Conrad Black. Profits were pillaged to support the diminishing, but wealthy owners pool. Reporters were laid of in droves. I also witnessed municipal communications articles that were published as news by the under-resourced media. And yes, a couple of the media hounds were hired by the municipal overlords.
      Plastics, meanwhile, have not been saleable for at least ten years. It costs more to truck them to Calgary than they are worth. There are expensive solutions but until society rejects the convenience of plastics, bundling and hiding seems the only acceptable solution.
      We really are dumb and getting dumber.

  6. biff says:

    mike – well stated…and hard to refute your last musing.

  7. snowman says:

    Barrie, the City of Brooks has only cardboard bins for recycling the Newell recycling facility or the Med Hat recycle processing facility probably banned plastic bags because they plug- jam sorting machinery, otherwise landfill. What goes into a landfill-dump Lethbridge administration and city council in collusion with enviro groups claim residential citizens are bad cause worst pollution per capita forced to comply with City environment policy pay $1.5 million each for new recycling depots generate 2850-3000 tonnes of recyclables diversion from landfill but the City Waste Management allow 12894 tonnes of recyclables in landfill 2016 and 2017tonnes up from 2015(city annual report 2016 pg 97) go figure 12894 tonnes at$75,tonne landfill $967, to new facility charge $150.00 tonne processing fee $ 1,934,100.00. The question why does City allow 12894 tonnes of recyclables received at landfill ? Who is dumping recyclables ? Should be a Council investigation and heads should fly.

    • Mike says:

      The City is the most likely source of dumped plastics. The Council cannot investigate itself as the Mayor and most on Council are well aware of the facts and the polls.
      Truth is most citizens seem content to pay whatever it takes to ignore the process and feel good about recycling. Vanity and indifference are the main suspects in this tail chase. I do not anticipate any changes to the status quo as the people are getting exactly what they are asking for. Feel good environmentalism. That’s all folks. Find another hobby horse.

  8. phlushie says:

    @snowman some good questions, but I think the City wants us to pay an extra $7.00 per month to have a good feeeling ao=bout recycling even though it takes a different route to the land fill.

  9. HaroldP says:

    Phlushie, the answer, short and sweet, a new Mayor and electing City Councillors who will listen to their residents. The City plan to operate curbside recycling and build a recycling processing plant, (on the backs of the tax payers), can be stopped by electing a Mayor and City Councillors who are responsible and respective of the will of the majority of Lethbridge residents! PERIOD

    • Mike says:

      You are obviously new to the game Harold. For many years now similar complaints about excessive spending, a lack of accountability and bamboozled councillors rubber stamping staff proposals have circled the problem of Councillors voting to ignore voter wishes.
      Fact is most on council have no background in finance, auditing or government processes. They have to rely on staff opinions and each ends up washing the other. Automatic pay raises for the civil servants buys loyalty and the agendas of developers and business in general get well served. Lethbridge does have a better than most financial track record and has maintained its infrastructure much better than most.
      So is 7$ a month a cause to bring in a new team? Not from where I sit.

  10. Montreal13 says:

    No disrespect intended but I wonder how ,”new to the game” you may be Mike? If you believe the $7 a month figure from our “representatives”. Yes you may see something like that for a time on your bill. But there is a new loan out there for around 14 mil for a new sorting facility ,which is but one example from a long list of expenses . I don’t know if all of our recycling depots are even paid for yet. You may have some or a great deal of knowledge about how the ponzai scheme/steal from peter to pay paul game plays out at city hall. The city can artificially keep the figure at $7 indefinitely. And pat themselves on the back regularly in their monthly propaganda columns about how it is only costing $7 per month.
    Yes this latest vote from council can be overturned again with just one or two new members on council with the will to bring forward a resolution. Likely we will see the back of at least 2 current councilors thru retirement etc. any way..
    There was also a legal petition of 4125 electors brought to council but not honoured by them. Regina used the same type of petition that was honoured by their council and mayor.

  11. Mike says:

    I only lived in Lethbridge from 2004-2014. Enough time to learn some of the ropes, organize Citizens for Better Governance, and helped lead forums and opposition to the free spending at City Hall.
    Your observations on hidden costs and fuzzy agendas are well taken. Without auditing and lacking overall transparency, this city has swayed to the songs played by special interest groups for decades. The performing arts crowd are really tight and well organized. They only want $100M for their dreams. The third bridge advocates need only $175M for a bridge. Have a hard look at personnel costs that see automatic salary and benefit increases for Police, Fire, EMS and most other civil servants. The recycling lobby was formed after weak leadership failed to produce a comprehensive waste management policy so it was farmed out to an unaccountable lobby group of environmental hacks.
    During all of this though, the low voter turnouts and general apathy towards anything from city hall has given the voters exactly what they deserve. Expensive and unsustainable government that will eventually meet stiffer voter awareness and perhaps some better decision making out of City Hall. Don’t hold your breath though.

    • phlushie says:

      Thank you for that comment Mike. I hope many of the readers will take what you have said to heart, but like you said, I will not hold my breath. I have had to exhale since the ABC paper and now the recycling debacle.

  12. biff says:

    mike, we may not always be in complete agreement on the sundry issues that roll through this forum, but i could not have better expressed your points in this thread. thank you.

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