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We must aim for zero waste

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While winter has been long in departing, the collection of refuse one sees along the streets of Fort Frances and the highways leading into our community indicates we continue to disregard basic environmental care.

It is a seven-month collection. And it is a sad statement of the way we disregard the environment.

Since its beginnings 31 years ago, Earth Day has focused on making our world a much better—and cleaner—place to live. Simple tasks of picking up litter along roads and streets begins to make our world better.

But a stronger statement would be to not create garbage in the first place. Waste should be finding its way into a recycling program.

The “Blue Box” collection program has been an overwhelming success. Today, the newspapers that are collected go back into pulp and are reused. Aluminum and metal cans are continually melted and reprocessed. The plastic from plastic bottles keeps returning to be reused.

But the volume of refuse put out each week by Fort Frances residents is still greater than the volume being recycled. We must look to reduce our waste destined for landfills.

The province has aimed at reducing waste by 50 percent, and it is a number that has been used in Northwestern Ontario communities. But would we accept 50 percent unemployment or poverty, or a 50 percent reduction in famine or disease?

We would all like to see zero unemployment, zero poverty, zero famine and zero disease. Yet why do we continue to tolerate anything but zero waste? We must come up with new solutions.

Solutions that reduce the burden placed on our environment, communities, and taxpayers. Solutions that facilitate corporate waste reduction, increased efficiency, and fiscal growth.

And solutions that establish the foundation for economic, environmental, and community sustainability.

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