It’s simple: know what to put in the trash

Montreal ad at Concordia tells people to throw out recyclable and compostable things

If you hop on the metro after spending time at your downtown classes—which most of us do—you must have seen the huge ad about not littering done by the city of Montreal. It’s designed to be seen as you head underground from the Hall building.

If you haven’t, here’s a quick description: a hand is dropping a handful of garbage into the trash, with the snappy slogan of, “it’s simple! Clean up the environment.” So far so good. There’s only one problem: in that little handful of trash there is 90 per cent recyclable paper and an orange peel.

Not a huge deal, right? Wrong. There is a huge deal here. Recyclable paper should only ever end up in the blue bins for recycling. Orange peels, and all other food waste for the record, should be composted and not tossed in the nearest trashcan. Recyclable paper and biowaste does not belong in the garbage.

Of course, the city meant well by creating this ad. Montreal is encouraging everyone to pick up after themselves, and not just leave wrappers, cigarette butts and dog droppings in the gutter (which Montrealers are pretty guilty of doing on a daily basis). But paper and an orange peel in the ad is just sloppy.

This weekend, thousands of people took to the streets of Montreal to bring attention to global warming. Another 100,000 marched the streets of New York. At this point in history, we should be far past asking people not to litter.Trash is no longer garbage, but a combination of recyclable, reusable and reducible items.

Nine boroughs offer composting pickup programs on the island according to the city’s website. Considering how many areas are trying to promote compost collection, that orange peel should not be present.

In terms of garbage disposal, Concordia is quite advanced. Composting and recycling bins are found in almost every building on both campuses. And yet, this humongous ad is impossible to miss, and located on a path no student can skip.

Why isn’t the city stepping up its game with this ad campaign? By not including recycling and composting in this ad, Montreal is showing a concerning lack of attention towards these important aspects of waste management and indicating an absence of commitment to dealing with sustainability on a municipal level.

Concordia, a beacon of sustainability in this city, should be more wary with what ads it posts on and around campus.

The city should work to promote composting and recycling in the city, and offer better services in these departments. If not, they should at least take the time to remove bio waste from their litter campaign.

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The Sustainability Action Fund (SAF) has become a key player in on-campus sustainability since students voted it in a year and a half ago. Last year 77 per cent of the SAF's budget was paid out to sustainability projects at Concordia, the majority of which went to student projects.

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