Funny Thing About Recycling

So I’m on my way to a trade show in downtown Montreal, at Place Bonaventure (one of the largest convention center we have here)… and as usual, I didn’t have time to eat lunch because of work so I grabbed a sandwich so I could eat on my way there… from the moment I finished my sandwich in the subway and started heading towards the trade show, I looked for a recycling bin to throw my napkin and paper sandwich wrapper (it’s nice when quick eateries think of giving you recyclable packaging that doesn’t last 250 years since you will have devoured the food for which the package was manufactered in the first place, in about 5 minutes)… – This seemed an easy task: “To find a recycling bin” (wasn’t that a famous book that we all had to read n High School? Ah no, that’s To Kill A Mockingbird, but I was close…)…

I’m crossing the street in the Old Port and I get to the Palais Des Congrès (translated as the Congress Palace – ha! What a hilarious name don’t you think?), a HUGE convention center (I went there by accident, since I always get the two mixed up)… “no problem”, I think to myself, I’ll just walk to the other convention center (Bonaventure), which is just 5 mins away. As I’m still holding my napkin and now empty sandwich wrapper, I’m thinking “it would really be nice to get rid of these…where is that damn recycling bin?”…

Well just so you know, the Congress “King” doesn’t seem to recycle since his main hall in the “Palace” has no recycling bins that I could find… they did think of putting separators to make 2 lines in front of the Tim Horton’s (Starbuck’s main competitor here) as well as couches in a lounge area… how thoughtful… I make it to the 2nd Convention Center, Bonaventure, and think, I’ll finally get rid of this stuff I’ve been holding for no reason for the last 10 minutes… I look around… no recycling bins… OK, maybe it’s just me, I might be blinded by the fact that I am in a hurry… so I make my way to the Information Desk:

“Hello there” I say with a big smile…”can you direct me to the closest recycling bin please?”…

The man at the desk replies with a confused look on his face:

“Recycling bin?”… as I can see his eyes going to the back of his brain looking for that folder that contains the information…

“They are not exactly easy to find” he tells me…

Ant: “So…. what… you HID them?”

Info guy: “Well, uhm, not exactly, we just don’t have many of them… I have seen one in the basement, past all the cafeteria kiosk restaurants, when you go all the way down the hall, right next to the bathrooms… it is hard to find, but if you look hard for it, you’ll find it…” he tells me, with a smile on his face, as if he accomplished his mission and feels good about his job…

Ant: “Wow, ok thank you sir…” and I actually turned into Sherlock Holmes and took the 7 minute walk to find that damn recycling bin, that looked nothing like a recycling bin at all, it was a garbage with a converted opening that was made small enough to only accept cans.

Let me repeat that: “Wow” because that’s exactly what needs to be said here… WOW. Date: 2010. – Location: Montreal, North America, Planet Earth.- Traffic: humongous- millions of people pass through this building every year, for trade shows of all kinds. – Recycling: uhm no, not really… they didn’t think it necessary?

Is this for real? The city of Montreal hasn’t imposed one of the most highly visited buildings in the city to get freaking recycling bins?…. SERIOUSLY? … WOW. Very impressive guys…  How about we wake up and start making it less of a MISSION IMPOSSIBLE to recycle so people can really start making it part of their daily routine… I know of many multi-apartment or multi-condo buildings that have no recycling bins in Montreal… and I’ve also seen the touristic area garbages completely overflowing with recyclable and non-recyclable garbage on big weekends in the summer… (but you can’t ask the city to pay workers to pick up the garbage on the weekend… they have a collective agreement with the union, right?!)… It’s funny how in Tokyo I saw less garbages yet no garbage on the streets, and in Japan, if the city catches you throwing recyclable stuff in your garbage, they’ll fine you! (Yes they actually go through people’s garbages)… Now THERE’s a good WOW… maybe the next mayor of Montreal should be a Jean Guy Fukiyama or Pierre Yakozama…

Here's a cute way to remind people to at least throw their non recycled garbage INSIDE the bin as opposed to in the street...

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One thought on “Funny Thing About Recycling

  1. ANTHONY! I LOVE THIS! What a coïncidence, last Friday I was telling a friend about what a disgrace it was to see how dirty the city was and moreover, how dirty and disrespectful people are! I was walking from old Montreal to Place Bonaventure last Thursday and there were empty Tim Hortons plastic cups on the floor every meter I walked in front of the conference building! YES ON THE FLOOR!
    I was telling my friend how cityhall wasn’t doing its job and people even less effort to respect there city and working environment (because it’s essentially workers in the building having there smoke and coffee who just throw there cups!).
    I was planning to contact Tim Horton and suggest they put a message on their cup like “please recycle me” and also suggest they help the city provide recycling bins in strategic areas (like, near their shops for instance!).
    … And I’m not even going to start the subject on home and office recycling tonight because I’d rather go to bed in a good mood but WTF PEOPLE !!!!!!!!

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