(St. John’s) – CUPE Newfoundland and Labrador has a major caveat to yesterday’s announced waste management strategy from the province – it must remain in public hands.
CUPE NL President Wayne Lucas says, “We share many of the concerns expressed by the Sierra Club and others that the plan as it’s currently set up is ‘underwhelming’. Our primary concern, and this is one that all residents should be made aware of, is that for the current system to be truly transformed, it must remain in public hands. That has not been explicitly mentioned in the plan.
“Expanding programs to reduce, reuse and recycle our waste is an idea that’s long overdue. But we have to get it right. CUPE believes that public infrastructure and services must be owned and operated on a non-profit basis to ensure efficient spending and proper regulation in the interest of the public and of our planet,” he says.
“Public control ensures that governments can enforce environmental standards in municipal waste management practices. The last thing our province needs is for some large, multinational corporation to come here and make millions upon millions of dollars from our recyclables, for example.
“We have to stop thinking about it as garbage. It’s not garbage…it’s a valuable resource. Just look at Nova Scotia, where they are already diverting 50% of their waste stream from landfill sites. It’s an achievable goal.
“I recently heard that province’s environment minister say that the prevailing wisdom used to be that environmentalism was bad for the economy. His province’s experience in recycling and composting has proven that assumption wrong,” Lucas points out.
Wayne Lucas John McCracken
President, CUPE NL CUPE Communications Representative
727-2509 (Cell) (902) 455-4180 (o)