The City of Fredericton diverts approximately ten percent of its waste through curbside recycling; people living in apartments have no curbside recycling at all. In comparison, Halifax has a robust curbside recycling program that includes organics and diverts over fifty percent of its waste. This is an issue that affects all New Brunswickers.
Provincially, only fifteen percent of garbage was diverted from landfills through recycling in 2016. For the last 15 years, successive provincial governments have abandoned their leadership on waste management, leaving a hodgepodge of regional recycling programs that are not required to meet any provincial objectives.
To push New Brunswick in the right direction on waste reduction, I am calling on the government to introduce a provincial waste management strategy with measurable goals and a timeline; ensure all New Brunswickers have access to curbside pickup to recycle metal, glass and organics; implement strategies aimed to increase the repair of valuable household items, reuse waste construction materials; and introduce a strategy to eliminate single-use plastics and reduce excessive plastic packaging.
There is considerable interest in the community. The inadequacy of recycling in Fredericton is one of the most frequent concerns raised at our community gatherings. A petition to the City of Fredericton organized by a human rights class at St. Thomas University has over 1000 signatures.
The recent agreement reached by Environment Ministers from across Canada to cut waste going to landfills by 30% over the next decade and to keep plastics out of the environment will be helpful in pressing for better recycling and waste reduction measures in New Brunswick.