We see periodic publicity from Waste Watch about how many tons or waste have been “diverted from landfills.” What does that really mean, though? We don't really know because Waste Watch is very cagey about publicizing what proportion of the total collected recyclables that represents. Moreover, how much, even of the diverted amount, ultimately ends up “diverted” to the Waste Watch incinerators?
How much of the total, along with the hazardous waste which residents dutifully bring to the Centers, ends up in meter-high piles of incinerator ash piled behind the Waste Watch buildings, broadcasting toxins into the air during the burning and leaching toxins into the groundwater from the ash piles until Waste Watch personnel bestir themselves to haul them away to – uh – landfills.
Of course, no one wants to discourage vital recycling efforts by the province's residents or do anything to derail the years of training we have had concerning sorting, bagging, etc. It's also clear that policies can't change with every fluctuation of markets. At the same time, don't we deserve to be told the truth about how the Waste Watch program (and therefore the province) is ultimately doing in these efforts? If some categories of materials can't be sold or otherwise used productively at present then that is sad, but we can handle the truth.