Monday, October 02, 2006

♫ burn, baby burn ♫

Speaking of garbage, what does a small island like Bermuda do with all it's garbage? Do we recycle? Well, Yes & no. Bermuda has facilities to promote recycling & while some do, it has been reported that the recycling plant is full. So where does it all go? We actually have an incinerator. It's a big bad boy too! Garbage pick up is Tuesdays & Fridays in our neck of the woods. I am ashamed to say that we don't recycle here. Me, the recycling queen for most of my life, has not recycled in Bermuda - it's shocking I know. I'd always get on my parents case about not recycling enough & now we have an case of role reversal. Ironic! Bound by law, Toronto households now also have to compost organic matter, in addition to most things.

In my defense, Bermuda just doesn't make it easy for things to be recycled. Bottles & cans have to be in blue or clear bags in order to be recycled. Seriously! Whatever happened to using recycling bins. Those garbage bags that they are so adamant on having, takes 500 - 1,000 years to degrade if it ends up in a landfill. OK, so we don't have a landfill & it's off to the incinerator. Um, isn't burning plastic the worst thing to do? The toxicity, the fumes & not to mention the smoke from it being burned. Isn't that environmentally hazardous? But wait, we're a speck in the ocean, so I guess we're okay. But Bermuda does redeem itself a little. The one thing it does differently compared to Canada is having grocery stores indulging not in plastic bags but paper grocery bags of yester-year, except these are made from recycled paper. Go Bermuda!

Unfortunately, businesses here don't recycle here either. It's appalling the amount of paper we just shred shred shred.
There's a lot of paper utilized, with the high number of offshore investment, financial & insurance companies here. In their defense confidential reports & documents have to be shredded, but we can still lay blame when the trees start to dwindle.

I recently watched a BBC documentary about India recycling plastic. Some of the poor unemployed population have become involved in this clean up process that also doubles as a source of income. Working as free lance collectors, they get paid by batches of plastic collected from the dumps. While it may not be the most appeasing job, it's honest work & for these people it's work that feeds their families & provides roofs over their heads. Some fortunate ones have been hired full time for the fascinating non-mechanized process of sorting & sterilizing plastic which is then bound & sent off to the recycling plant. I have to say I am proud. The land of my birth has engaged in a clean up act with plastics.

I for one have made a resolution. I'm going back to my roots & become a recycling junkie again. Maybe, in the process I can help save a few roots in the rain forest!


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