Recycling problems

I followed the recent letters regarding glass vs. plastic bottles and they raised some interesting points.

(Letter writer) Al Hudec says wine bottles are single use and yet most people return them to either a bottle depot or the liquor store. They are then either reused or recycled, I don't know which, but either way the glass is being used more than once.

However, on a wider scale, do any of us really know how much of what we take to the depot or put in our blue bins actually ends up being recycled?

One of the problems is that little word "recyclable" on a huge range of products. Because these products are very often sold in different jurisdictions, what might be recycled in one country is not necessarily recycled in Canada, however most people would assume that they belong in the blue bin.

Cardboard would appear to be eminently recyclable, and yet I found out some years ago (on a visit to Science World in Vancouver) that our cardboard is collected and then shipped to China for recycling.

If this is the case, then we are damaging the environment more than we are helping. The bunker fuel used in ships is one of the most damaging sources of emissions on the planet.

The same applies to much of the plastic we "recycle”. It gets shipped to a Far East nation, which is overwhelmed with plastic from Western countries and subsequently dumps it on beaches or in the ocean.

There is much opprobrium heaped on the packaging industry, but the reality is it is simply responding to consumer demands. If your new TV or fridge was not packed in styrofoam and cardboard, it would probably arrive dented or broken and you would be outraged.

Similarly, people who buy goods in a store expect it to be nicely packaged. In fact, very often, when the packaging is damaged, people will not buy it. I know, I was in retail for 25 years.

Let's expand the issue of recycling even further. California is banning the use of gas-powered yard tools, starting in 2025. It would not surprise me to see Canada do the same if the Liberals remain in power.

Gas vehicles are being discouraged and governments are trying to coerce us all into buying battery powered vehicles. So what is going to happen to the billions of mowers, weedeaters, chainsaws, trimmers, blowers and cars that will be proscribed?

I can see engine blocks and transmissions being melted down and reused, but what about body parts, interiors, handles, wiring, cables, etc. That is all destined for the landfill?

Clearly there would be no financial incentive to pay anyone to pick apart all these products and try and reuse anything, the labour cost would be prohibitive.

The government seems to think when we all drive around in electric cars, the world will be saved. But everything comes at a cost.

We have to take a holistic view of the planet, not just view it through a single country's lens. We might be reducing emissions here, but if it involves destroying it somewhere else are we moving forwards or sideways.

Take the proposed lithium mine at Thacker Pass, Nevada. It is slated to produce 60,000 tons of lithium per year. To do so involves digging up 20 to 30 million tons of earth and destroying an entire ecosystem—plants, trees and animals.

Then there is the sulphuric acid used to process the lithium and the 75 ton trucks and excavators that will work the mine, they will be gas or diesel powered. But hey, you've got your nice new EV, so who cares right?

What we need is an independent audit of the costs and benefits of the present recycling regime. It should be conducted by scientists not linked to either fossil fuel or environmental groups, and certainly not anyone linked to the government.

The chances of that happening? I'd guess zero, as there are too many groups with vested interests who want to steer the narrative one way or the other.

Peter Emery, Kelowna


180-day wait for X-ray

Re. Jeffery M Simon’s letter X-ray wait times 'nonsense' (Castanet, Aug. 11)

My husband has been waiting since March, more than 180 days, for a simple X-ray, not 60 days.

First his requisition was sent to Medical Imaging on Richter Street (in Kelowna). Then it closed due to (having) no staff and it was sent back to the doctor, who then sent it to Kelowna General Hospital. It is now confirmed for the beginning September.

Currently, there are only two places to get an X-ray in the Kelowna area. One is in West Kelowna and the other is at KGH. It is ridiculous.

(My husband) has been in extraordinary pain waiting for a proper diagnosis. This is totally unacceptable and our MLAs need to do something to correct this situation.

Marilyn McNamara

Penticton municipal 'cops'

Re. Brian Kettle's letter Enforce beach bylaws (Castanet, Aug. 11)

I fully agree with the writer suggesting Penticton bylaw officers patrol the Okanagan and Skaha beaches for litter and rule violators.

People who say "I can afford the fine” do not sit well with me. A court appearance would be forthcoming.

I have always had concerns with the bylaw officers just ticketing the expired meters, avoiding personal contact. This may be the direction of (city) management, I believe. Many properties in Penticton have to keep up their yards and bylaw will only act on complaints from neighbours and the public. I was told that a few weeks ago by the Penticton bylaw (department).

My management skills tell me to be a leader and not a follower. I would push for municipal policing to handle bylaw infractions and also traffic violators to first educate and (then hand out) fine more serious for repeat infractions.

The RCMP are far too busy to do these tasks. Penticton city council must take a new direction to keep Penticton clean and law-abiding.

Train bylaw officers to be municipal police and effect positive change for the better in Penticton.

Victor Rasiles, Penticton

Idling ban hurts tourism

Re. 1 minute idling now the law (Castanet, Aug. 11)

So Kelowna is now on board with a one-minute idle time for your vehicle.

Well B.C., I guess you guys don't like the tourist money here.

These people come with their families, kids, elderly and pets. They spend good money here to keep the B.C. tourism economy going.

I'd also say B.C. has, pretty much, a tourist economy—not like any other provinces that actually have jobs beside tourism.

When the tourism season hits in the summer, and the environmentalists say each year will be hotter, I hope this bylaw makes (visitors) go to other provinces and B.C. gets the short end of the stick.

How is this any different then waiting at a light in Kelowna for more than five minutes because the roads here cannot accommodate the amount of people who live here, near mind the number of tourists on our roads—roads that are 20 years behind.

Wake up smell the coffee. Kelowna deserves the lack of tourism this will (create).

Hey Canadian government, why don't you go after the billionaires who fly to space for 10 minutes? We all know how much those 10-minute rides pollute our environment.

Dereck Allard

Doesn't want 'snitches'

Re. 1 minute idling now the law (Castanet, Aug 11)

An idling bylaw to reduce emissions in Kelowna is a step in the right direction.

Like all bylaws it will be enforced (after) complaints, which means someone has to make a complaint. It is also a way of having people rat on each other instead of having to do the work yourself.

If you make the bylaw at City Hall, find a better way to enforce it. I don't want to live in a society where my neighbours are a bunch of snitches. Take it a little further and we’ll have a bunch of vigilantees on our hands.

On the same subject, what about banning the use of all recreational vehicles? Boats and (personal watercraft) on the lake serve one purpose only, providing cheap thrills to the riders.

Let's name a few others, like ATVs of all kinds and snowmobiles. These are not used to transport anything from point A to point B, with a few exceptions, as far as I know. The less fuel we burn, the less pollution we make, right?

Oh, I keep forgetting, that would be detrimental to our economy and destroy tourism.

When are we going to get serious about pollution or should I laugh?

Alain Lauzon, Penticton

Enforce beach bylaws

I live on Lakeshore drive in Penticton and walk the beach most everyday.

The beach and sidewalks are being used as garbage dumps. You can find dirty diapers, old food boxes, numerous coffee cups and just plain old garbage polluting our lake and beach.

There is no excuse for dumping garbage on the beach, sidewalk , and in the lake, as there are numerous garbage cans along the walkway.

I suggest anyone who is caught throwing their trash on the beach, sidewalks and in the lake , be fined $5,000 for a first offence and $10,000 for a second offence and so on.

This has to stop and only (the city’s) bylaw (department) can make this happen by using walking patrols along the beach.

There are people bathing their dogs in the water and are not even caring that no dogs are allowed on the beach. I approached a fellow doing this on the beach and informed him of the signs and a possible fine from bylaw. His reply was he could afford the fine as he makes lots of money.

Really, what is wrong with these people? They only care about themselves and nobody else. (They think) laws do not apply to them.

Let’s wake up Penticton, and have these laws enforced before it is too late to save our beautiful lake.

Stand up and say something before that happens.

Brian Kettle

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