Blue bin blues fade

AT RANDOM: It’s been a year now since those once frowned-upon blue boxes hit our doorsteps and caused mass upset throughout Greater Vernon

It’s been a year now since those once frowned-upon blue boxes hit our doorsteps and caused mass upset throughout Greater Vernon.

Seniors were outraged and families were furious at the changes that were being forced upon them.

With a new list of rules to sort through, many raised issue with the new Multi Material B.C. program and the changes that ensued.

But one year later, and the outrage appears to have subsided. It seems the program has found some form of acceptance, not just locally, but provincially.

It’s likely there are still a number of people grumbling under their breath every time they haul their overflowing bins to the curb. It’s also very possible that the changes caused some to trash their recycling efforts altogether.

But with more than 25 pickups under our belts, it’s even more likely that this new program has even more people enlisted on the recycling roster. That in turn means more items are being saved from the landfill.

The publicity recycling gained, both good and bad, has caused greater awareness. People are recycling things they never knew they could, like shampoo bottles and paper envelopes.

Unfortunately in my household, that is not the case. I used to recycle everything, so now, while my recycling bin is still overflowing, so too is my garbage.

But it’s awareness for me that things like those blister packs (from pills and gum) can’t be recycled, nor can all those plastic baggies and wrap we use for lunches and leftovers. Straws, cutlery, stand-up pouches (a form of juice box), foil-lined carboard take-out lids and garbage bags also end up in the trash.

All the plastic wrap and bags that cover everything from bread to pull-ups to flats of water/juice and even the bags we carry our groceries home in are also ending up in the trash (even though these items can be recycled if taken directly into the depot).

I tried for a while to collect all such plastic, and managed to make a few trips to the depot. Unfortunately those efforts were soon trashed as piles of plastic around the house started cluttering up our lives.

But making that extra trip to the trash can every week has also made me think twice about my actions. It’s got me packing more lunches with re-usable Tupperware instead of sandwich baggies and choosing products from the store with less plastic packaging (if the price is right).

It’s fitting, considering Environment Week gets underway June 1 to 6 – the perfect time for us all to consider what kind of footprint we are leaving on the world.

Recycling our paper, plastic and metal is just one way of making a difference.

Another opportunity to contribute (which actually doubles as two good deeds) is donating gently used clothing, shoes and household items to thrift stores.

Whether it’s the Upper Room Mission Boutique, The Georgette Shop, Salvation Army, Value Village or Pro Life Thrift Store, not only do items get re-used, the sale benefits charity. There’s also the Gleaners, which accepts gently-used furniture and appliances.

The Vernon Women’s Transition House Society can also make great use of gently used items.

Supplies such as food, towels, glass and wood or old cabinets to build enclosures are always needed at the Vernon Exotic and Small Animal rescue.

The Red Cross will take wheelchairs, walkers, crutches and canes, bath seats and benches, commodes and toilet seats, power patient lifts, biomedical equipment such as nebulizers and feeding pumps and other durable medical equipment.

So before spring cleaning leaves you with loads of trash, consider what items can be re-used by someone a little less fortunate.