I met B.Sc, B.B.A. Tony E. Madi, project engineerat a leading Canadian multinational geotechnical engineering firm, a couple of months ago and we got into a very interesting debate. Like many of you, I was taught to recycle as a kid and have been doing it ever since without questioning the real reasons behind it. It's what everyone else is doing and it's supposed to be good for the planet, right? Not exactly. Tony firmly believes that it's time to put an end to the old recycling myth. Turns out, if we examine the whole process of recycling, it is not as good of an idea as it is "known" to be.
Recycling is the most multi gender, class and race movement in the world. Did you know that more people recycle than vote? Well, now you do. Most people feel like they are contributing to the community and environment by sorting out their trash. The truth is, everything we're taught to believe that is good for the planet is actually one big scam. According to the New York Times, "recycling may be one of the most wasteful activity in modern America, a waste of time and money, a waste of human and natural resources."
Out of all of the materials that Montrealers are currently recycling, the only one that presents real value is metal, such as aluminium and steel. Here's how Tony E. Madi breaks down the recyclable materials:
It is the biggest waste of energy among all recyclable goods. Transport, sorting, storing and cleaning have an enormous cost in green house gases as well as in hefty taxpayer's bill. A controlled landfill in this case may be the best option, even if it takes 450 years for a bottle to decompose.
Paper is tricky, most of us believe that we're saving the world's forests by recycling it. In respect to transport, sorting, storing and cleaning, paper recycling is one of the priciest on the list. In addition, the quality of the after-product of recycled paper is extremely poor. The good news is that, in 2015, we have tree farms, where trees are being grown for the mere purpose of cutting them off and making paper.
Glass is the heaviest part of any city's waste. It also demands the most amount of energy to be recycled. As a result, a bunch of glass ends up in a landfill waiting for a buyer. In other words, overall, there isn't much use for the glass we throw in trash cans.
Metals are the only materials that retain their value after being recycled, so private companies can actually make money off them.
There is potential for glass, paper and plastic to gain value sometime in the future as the resources used to make them become more scarce.
You might ask yourself, why are recycling programs so popular then, if they are not actually helping the environment? The answer is simple. They are being pursued by politicians and bureaucrats so that their recycling targets can be met. Who sets these recycling targets? Politicians and bureaucrats. It's a vicious cycle of failed attempts at saving the planet that, ultimately, makes taxpayers suffer the most. Our money goes to things that do more damage than good.
Across the province, 1.5 million refundable containers are thrown in the garbage or left on the ground each day, never to be recycled.
By being environmentally conscious and adopting good practices in public spaces, you can keep our green spaces from turning into landfills.
So the next time you go to the park, consider bringing a reusable bag with you so that you can fill it with your empty containers. On your way home, you can return them at a nearby retailer.
Deposit-refund is an environmentally friendly way to recover and recycle refundable containers. According to Consignaction, recycling an aluminum can uses 95% less energy and 40% less water than making a new one.
This means that you can return your empty refundable containers to a convenience store, grocery store or supermarket, ensure that they will be fully recycled, and get a refund for each one.
Although Quebecers already return 75% of refundable containers, more can be done.
Did you know that it takes plastic bottles up to 400 years to break down naturally? Meanwhile, aluminum cans take between 200 and 500 years to degrade.
A quick visit to the Lachine Canal, Parc LaFontaine and Parc régional de la Rivière-du-Nord is all it takes to get a glimpse of how easy it is to forget your cans and bottles behind you when you leave.
Not only is returning your containers good for the environment, but it also results in better quality materials, helps future generations and creates jobs. It's a small gesture that has a huge impact.
Once containers are returned to a retailer, they are then transported and sorted before being melted down into raw materials and used to make new items, like backpacks, tents and even different containers.
To determine whether your container is refundable, just look for "Consignée Québec 5¢ Refund" on the product.
Keeping this in mind can help you substantially reduce your eco-footprint. In addition, by returning your refundable containers, you'll be helping cut down on pollution in parks, making them more enjoyable for you.
Since July 1, it has been possible for people who have had to recover from unemployment due to the pandemic and for people who have not been studying full time in the last 12 months to register for one of the training programs of the Program for the requalification and the accompaniment in information technology and communications (PRATIC).
Whether it's a college or university program, a certificate, an attestation of college studies (AEC) or a diploma of specialized graduate studies (DESS), among others, there are 142 training programs waiting for future students.
In Montreal alone, nearly sixty college programs and 20 university programs are available, and a total of 15 in the Capitale-Nationale region.
There are, for example, ACSs in programming, multimedia production, mobile application development or graphic design, to name a few.
The complete list of training courses offered by region can be found on the government website.
Thanks to a budget of some $39.6 million, financial assistance of $650 per week will be offered to 2,500 Quebecers for the duration of their full-time training. A $1,950 bursary will be awarded to graduates.
Who is eligible to enroll in PRATIC?
Two criteria will determine if a person is eligible to register for PRATIC. You must be unemployed and not have been a full-time student in the 12 months prior to applying.
The government suggests that you contact the Services Québec office in your area and an agent will determine with the future student if PRATIC corresponds to his/her needs.
Remember last year when it seemed that every week there were new COVID-19 rules that the Quebec government would spring on us and we all felt really down? Well, it's the same thing this year, but instead of misery, we're feeling optimistic because this summer's new COVID-19 rules have an eye towards a pandemic-freefuture.
One of the major changes coming on Monday is that you no longer have to maintain a two-metre distance between other people.
According to the Ministry of Health and Social Services (MSSS), "the distance to be respected between people from different residences will be lowered from two meters to one meter, both outside and inside."
There are still two situations that require two-metre distancing, however: "singing activities" and "high-intensity exercise in gyms," according to the government.
Wearing a face mask is still mandatory in all indoor public spaces.
Let's get flexible
No, not like that!
We're talking about stores, festivals, sporting events, and other activities with potentially large crowds.
As of Monday, there won't be any capacity limits inside retail stores. While you still have to maintain a one-metre distance, there will be no more annoying lineups outside.
Moreover, in venues with fixed seating, people from different households only need to keep one seat between them and other parties. One-metre distancing is still required in common areas.
Finally, "at amateur events where spectators are seated in bleachers, bleachers or fixed seating, the maximum number of spectators permitted per sports venue is 50 indoors and 100 outdoors."
The government has also reminded Quebecers that "since June 25, adequately protected people" — i.e. people with two doses of a vaccine — "no longer have to follow the recommendations on distancing and wearing a face covering during gatherings in private homes."
The bill was first tabled by Quebec's Minister of Indigenous Affairs, Ian Lafrenière, in December 2020, and it was passed following consultations between the government and Indigenous families in Quebec.
The goal was to meet the needs of Indigenous families while respecting their "culture and language, and also their suffering," according to the ministry.
The ministry also said it hopes "to support families in their quest for truth and also in the healing process."
In 2019, a report by the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls called on the Quebec government to provide Indigenous families with information on children who had been apprehended following admission to a hospital or health centre in Quebec.
How does the new law work?
Once it's implemented on September 21, Bill 79 will give Indigenous families access to personal information from "a health and social services institution, an organization or a religious congregation" about the circumstances surrounding the disappearance or death of children admitted to a health and social services institution in Quebec before December 31, 1992.
The government will provide the information through exemptions to Quebec's current laws that prevent disclosing personal information.
Under the new law, Quebec's minister responsible for Indigenous affairs will also have the power to launch an investigation if government information could help Indigenous families, but can't be disclosed because of the province's existing rules on disclosing personal information.
How have Indigenous leaders reacted to the new law?
On June 14, leaders from the Cree Nation said that while the law is an important step to "apologize or begin to compensate for the harm suffered by Indian Residential School survivors," the scope of the law needs to be revised since Indigenous children "were taken and never returned" for reasons beyond medical care in Quebec.
The Cree Nation specified that Quebec's education system was the largest "pretext for the institutionalized abduction of children," and that the school system's absence from Bill 79 means more action is needed.
The Grand Council of the Crees stated that not all Indigenous youth or community members will feel comfortable contacting the Quebec government for help with traumatic events that were associated with "governments they do not feel are their own."
The Council recommended that Quebec put mechanisms in place so Indigenous governments can represent and serve the needs of their own people.