A funny thing happened on the way home the other day – the day before the weekly garbage collection pick up in Southampton.

As a roadside resident for more than 40 years, this family knows all about the non-caring segment of residents who consistently dump their trash late every single Monday and Thursday, with the exception of public holidays. Technically, they dump their trash early on holidays – like they do every Thursday on the first day of Cup Match, knowing full well no garbage will be collected!

They never bother to find out when the collection days postponed by public holidays will be! What right thinking person puts their trash out on a Wednesday night, the night before Cup Match seriously? And to make matters worse – they don’t know when to drop off their recyclables for collection either. But on top of all of that, clearly they are not clear on what’s recyclable in Bermuda.

Homestead Lane, Southampton West, Bermuda

Case in point: take a look at the featured photo again, and this one, taken last Wednesday, the day before the Thursday pick up. Look at the contents – whoever took the time to put electronic equipment in a blue recycling bag truly must be an environmental non-friendly individual (so tempted to use another word).

Why you may ask? For starters, Bermuda recycles glass bottles and cans only! Where does electronic equipment bound for the dump fit into all of this? Inquiring minds want to know!

So let’s revisit a few things. Shortly after the General Election, Bermuda Real initiated a special news series featuring Progressive Labour Party Cabinet Ministers. Public Works Minister Colonel David Burch was the first to engage in an extensive two-part feature, followed by the Minister of Transport.

In that series, Col Burch stated outright that “business as usual just won’t do”. Now that he’s back for a second time as Minister of Public Works, only this time he has been elected to sit in the House, he outlined a number of his Ministry’s initiatives. 

One of them was an instant plan to make recycling mandatory. But after consultation with the new Cabinet, he has had a change of heart. He has been convinced that educating the public first would be the right place to start. Now take a look at the featured photo again – it explains a lot on exactly why we need to educate people on recycling!

Bermuda Real Interview at the Ministry of Public Works

In a videotaped interview featured on Bermuda Real, Col Burch discussed the issue of recycling . “We should have an educational campaign to inform people about why it is wise to recycle and how we can benefit financially from doing so,” he said.

“Many of my friends will know that when I go to their house, they get chastised if they don’t recycle. And so we will start a programme to encourage Bermudians to recycle and see the benefit in it.” Imagine that! Apart from the potential revenue increases to benefit Bermuda’s overdrawn, indebted public purse, there’s a basic fundamental need to clue people in on the impact of their own carbon footprints!

Generally, you will hear the masses say: “I don’t bother wasting my time recycling in Bermuda,” sentiment. The question to that crew is simply this: Have you asked your young children or your grandchildren that? And while you’re at it – did you think about the unborn babies coming after that?

Quite often you hear older Bermudians say: “I don’t have to worry about it because I won’t be here – I’ll be dead and gone!” And yes, that’s true, but that’s NOT the attitude our ancestors fought despite the odds against them, to make a better life YOU! And we stand on the shoulders of those who came before us! 

Bermuda Real File Photo

So who are you to dismiss what is seriously a major issue for our future descendants? Isn’t that what sustainability is all about? And frankly, if that’s your attitude – then hurry up and be done! And don’t forget to leave money to bury your butt while you’re at it because funerals are NOT CHEAP! Now that’s REAL!

Sounds a bit harsh – perhaps! Translation: With the new records set by the 2017 Hurricane Season which has left a widespread trail of mass destruction and devastation throughout the Caribbean and US regions from the severe impact of two Category 5 hurricanes, the question is how much evidence, or proof do you need really?

So, let’s bring it all back to the central point. We have a recycling plant upgraded at the taxpayers expense, to handle recyclables on a much larger scale than we have been.

In the video statement, Col Burch said simply this: “Certainly the facility that we currently have at the quarry has the capacity to do considerably more than we do now and that’s one of the reasons why we are pushing to do this because we will be able to generate some revenue as a result of recycling.

America’s Cup Village at Cross Island, Dockyard, Bermuda

“The real test to this facility occurred during the America’s Cup. Anybody who went there would know that they were heavy into recycling and all of that waste was processed with no difficulty whatsoever, so before mandatory we’re going to go with voluntary recycling.” But he said: “Mandatory is likely to follow soon thereafter.

“We’ve committed to producing a Green Paper, which really is a discussion paper in Parliament, and that will collate all of the information and input that we’ve had from the wider community,” he added. The wider community includes YOU! “And then we’ll decide on the way forward,” said Col Burch.

In the interim, go get yourselves informed! Talking all of this “I can’t be bothered to recycle” nonsense is NOT going to save the world for your babies AND their unborn babies! We have a fundamental obligation to watch the backs of ‘Tomorrow’s People!”

Stop acting like you truly love your offspring while acting like the world WE live in today and your hellish carbon footprints don’t matter! And while you’re at it, make it a point to put all of your empty bottles and cans in a separate blue bag. Then find out what days YOU need to put it out on the roadside for collection! Make it a point to do so, then JUST DO IT! Barring that, pay attention to the educational campaign coming soon. And when mandatory recycling finally becomes a reality consider yourselves informed!

In a throw away society like Bermuda, where we have just as much trash as some inner cities in America, for a 21 square mile island, that’s only five miles wide at it’s widest point – it’s already WAY PAST TIME! After all, when it gets right down to it and you already know this – IGNORANCE is NOT a DEFENCE!

Thanks for Reading & Have a Bermuda Real Recycling Day!

Ceola Wilson on behalf of ‘Tomorrow’s People’