Public control of Newfoundland and Labrador’s solid waste system is the best way to improve the province’s recycling programs, says CUPE.
The latest report from the Newfoundland and Labrador auditor general documents problems with the province’s recycling efforts, including:
- 1.3 million used tires awaiting recycling
- Two failed attempts to contract out used tire collection, transportation and recycling; and a third failed attempt to contract out just tire recycling
- A new low in the number of drink containers collected for recycling
- Two untendered drink container recycling contracts with no “identifiable expiry date” and incomplete contract information
- A $12.5 million waste management trust fund that could be spent on “significant waste management initiatives”
“We share many of the concerns expressed by the Auditor General and strongly believe the time is now for the provincial government to step up to the plate and spearhead a move toward a publicly-owned and operated waste management plan,” says CUPE Newfoundland and Labrador President Wayne Lucas.
“The patchwork, mostly private sector, approach is simply not working. Either we are committed to a green future, or we’re not,” says Lucas.
“CUPE has been saying for years now that 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,” he says.
“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 per cent of their waste stream from landfill sites. It’s an achievable goal,” says Lucas.