Editor, The News:
I have lived in Maple Ridge for two years and I have to say that I absolutely love the city, particularly its beauty and incredibly welcoming residents.
However, there are a couple of issues surrounding residential waste disposal that really needs to be improved.
1. Although I appreciate the fact that Maple Ridge has a recycling program, it is out of date with comparison to other municipalities within Metro Vancouver and Canada, which allow for residents to put all recyclable material into one large collection bin.
It is time consuming and frustrating to have to sort through multiple options.
I am sure that much recyclable material is entering the landfill simply because Maple Ridgers are fed up with the onerous system.
Also, if recycling day is windy, there are often waste cans, plastic bags or even collection bags blowing down the street. That problem would be eliminated with a bin and automated collection system.
2. Metro Vancouver will ban all food scraps from its landfills by 2015. Why has council not made its plan of action with respect to this issue, clear to its residents? Why are we not working to get a system in place sooner, rather than later?
Personally, in our household, we already operate one large composter throughout the year, but because we use the compost for our vegetable garden and flower beds, we simply cannot add all of our scraps to the bin. It is really sad to think about the amount of waste that is entering the landfill, which could be put to better use, such as fertilizer.
Vancouver and other municipalities have implemented great systems that work well for everyone and I am disappointed that my own city has not followed suit.
I am not going to go in to grand detail on why collecting organic waste is beneficial as you can visit Vancouver’s web page to read about it (vancouver.ca/green-vancouver/food-scraps-program.aspx).
3. Requiring Maple Ridgers to be responsible for their own disposal of waste is worse for the environment than having a city-run program because it means that several different waste management companies are travelling up and down each block in Maple Ridge (while emitting greenhouse gases and unnecessarily adding to clogged up streets).
A city run system would be more convenient for residents and better for the environment. This would also allow for recycling, waste and food scrap collection to be scheduled and operated on the same day.
I am fully aware that the initiatives I have mentioned will cost our city and its residents in initial capital as well as ongoing fees. However, the food scrap ban is coming in two years, so we are going to bear those costs either way. What is the harm in starting early?
While we are at it, we might as well improve the other waste collection methods. Most residents are paying to have waste collection services (or landfill / transfer station drop off fees) on an individual basis, so I cannot imagine that the overall cost to each resident would be substantial.
Lastly, I know our city and its people and I know that we are passionate about protecting the gorgeous setting that we call home. The environment is important to us and will be important to our children and future generations. We need to lead by example and step up to be as good, if not better, than our neighbouring municipalities