Cup of Jo: Trash talk

by Jodie Primeau

The North Renfrew Times welcomes a new columnist this week. Jodie Primeau grew up in Deep River and recently returned to town to work at a Pembroke law firm. This is the first installment of her “Cup of Jo.”

Facebook is on to me. A couple of weeks ago, I got a warning from Facebook. Jodie, do you know how to Spot Fake News?

This pop-up ad confronted me: the main source of my news had, in fact, been Deep River Discussions for the last two weeks. Busted.Jodie primeau

Can you blame me? For those who have never joined or have weaned themselves away from the local social media platform, the Deep River Discussions group attracts 1,292 Facebook users (mostly Renfrew County citizens) to discuss, in a public platform, the “news” affecting us locally.

This site is a one-stop shop for bulletins, public service messages, gossip, accolades, gripes, referrals, advertisements and all-out text wars.

Informative, gripping, and sometimes humorous: I wholly admit my indulgence in reading Deep River Discussions regularly.

In fact, it often spawns inquisitions or investigations of my own, too long to post on comment sections.

Take garbage. Deep River is now imposing a two-bag maximum per household.

A helpful post, advising residents of the change took on a life of its own within hours.

The discussion morphed, swerved and exploded, hitting topics from complaints about practicality, to near-philosophical debates about taxation, population-control, environmental justice, and socialism.

Garbage is a hot topic in Deep River that hits emotional triggers in many of us.

I hit Google to solve the Deep River disposal problem in one fell click.

Is there a garbage policy that can address the concerns of pollution, cost-savings, and fairness? In short, no. But other countries have found creative ways to limit waste while opening new opportunities for more environmental waste management.

In Sweden, great care is taken to sort garbage to ensure only one per cent of all waste goes into landfills. More, they have found a way to convert its trash (and the dump from some of its neighbouring countries) into useable energy!

This, of course, requires a great investment into the necessary technology. This approach might be a little ambitious for our little town right now.

In many Dutch cities, the municipality will pick up as many bags as you want, but only in the “approved” bags, with high price tags sold at the grocery stores with the proceeds returning back to the city.

Recycling, properly sorted, however, is entirely free and easily accessible. They have increased recycling capacities to account for reduced residential waste allowances.

You pay for the garbage you make, you get a pass on the recycling you produce and sort.
Deep River town council is attempting to address the cost of garbage by instituting a two-bag maximum. This is the limit they have put on taxpayers.

But the cost of change can’t be put entirely on Deep Riverites’ shoulders: we need an alternative to garbage bags.

With every measure must come a plan. Our European comparators have achieved success by implementing systems that not only limit behaviour but help the population can adapt to the change.

To be a true benefit to taxpayers, any limits that Deep River puts on garbage disposal must be complemented with better ways of disposing that same garbage.

Do we look into increased or simplified recycling? Could we put our PhD’s to work to create fancy machines that convert our trash into hydro bill savings?

Maybe we just drop it all off in Pembroke. (Just kidding!)

Whatever the solution, creative measures can shoulder the burden that garbage limitations impose.

I have not attempted to summarize the 90+ comments on the Deep River Discussion garbage limit posts.

I encourage you to check the comments out: the harsh, the insightful, and the downright funny.

Fake news or simply opinions on news aside; Deep River Discussions, this kind of trash-talk is my “bag.”