Friday, December 8, 2023

Black Garbage Bags? Clear Bags? How About Plaid …

By K. Taylor, Aurora ON. There has been a lot of conversation lately about the colour of our garbage bags (black garbage bags, clear bags); swirling in the air like the contents of my blue box on a windy Thursday. It took me by surprise at first; a debate over the colour of garbage bags? Are we so very fashion forward in this town that our refuse must be placed curb side in a hue approved of by the fashionable elite? Perhaps a bold plaid or jaunty stripe would make more of a statement? Or perhaps it should be decreed that all trash should heretofore match the trim of the corresponding house; assuming of course that said house is painted in appropriately fashionable colours?

“Just as most of us would never litter for the greater good of our communities, so we need to be a bit more vigilant with our household waste.”

I’m being facetious of course, there is a more serious argument afoot. And yet, at its root, isn’t this really about the colour of a bag after all? I’ve read arguments and points supporting both sides, and for the record I’m for the clear bags; I suppose I have a latent exhibitionist streak after all. But it does surprise me that such a very small thing can stir up emotions. The for side is clear: in other municipalities a clear bag has forced residents to redirect substantial amounts of their waste into the correct streams. This keeps it away from landfills where that apple core and cereal box will languish in the rotting heap of plastic until we humans throw our hands up, give up on this earth, and go colonize Mars instead. Uh … kind of gross when you think about it.

The argument against the bags, though it occasionally smacks of I don’t want to and you can’t make me stubbornness; has some valid concerns too. For example if we are allowed to fill said bag with smaller grocery bags, is this actually going to change anything? Good question. Is this really the best route to take for garbage diversion? I don’t know, is it?

“We once went to an open house at a recycling plant, trust me, it’s cool.”

What I do know is a heap of quotes and clichés that could make your head spin. No man is an island (John Donne)… you know that one. We did not inherit the earth from our parents, we are borrowing it from our children (proverb). And of course a slew of others all leading to the same place. We are at our core, an animal species that functions in packs; herds; multi-national conglomerates. Sure there are a few brave souls who head out into the wilderness and spend the rest of their days living off berries and sipping honeysuckle tea with the raccoons. But for the vast majority of us, we need each other to survive. Just as most of us would never litter for the greater good of our communities, so we need to be a bit more vigilant with our household waste.

We have limited places to put our rubbish, these places fill up quickly and clogging them with things that have other homes makes them overflow. And garbage is icky so why would we want it overflowing? In addition to this, when you think of it, recycling and composting is just, well, really cool. We once went to an open house at a recycling plant, trust me, it’s cool.

So let’s all recycle our recyclables! Green bin our green-binables! Let’s do what’s right because we’re part of a community and it helps us all; because at our core we’re decent citizens of this town. And because as a town, we‘re pretty awesome. That’s all. Simple. It then won’t matter what colour your garbage bag is, black garbage bags or clear bags. Although for the record I’m warming to the idea. If you pass a house with a garbage bag decorated with rainbows and daisies; you’ll know whose it is.

K. Taylor
Aurora, ON

UPDATE: The controversial Town of Aurora Clear Bag program was never implemented due to strong public opposition.


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