The Toronto Garbage Strike

July 3, 2009

I’ve always found it intriguing that the Chinese symbols for crisis are the equivalent of danger + opportunity.

Humans are interesting to watch in times of crisis, or even impending crises. I’m sure everyone remembers the craziness that ensued once the ‘Y2K bug’ was announced. All the books, TV shows, food stockpiling etc etc – it ended up being almost a disappointment when nothing happened.

I was certainly reminded of this again last week as I waited in line at my local LCBO – with my modest three bottles of wine in hand – on the eve of the impending strike.

Some of us panic in these situations (I enjoy vino with dinner on occasion – sue me! haha), while others seem to really embrace the inherent ‘opportunity’ being presented to them. Take the case of LCBO strike for example – if there HAD been a strike (can you imagine the headlines? “The Ontario Booze Crisis!”), I’m sure the more enterprising drinkers among us would have explored other options – like drinking more beer, or homebrewing, or perhaps complete abstinence (ok, maybe not)?

The current garbage strike (or ‘garbage crisis’ if you prefer) in Toronto is another prime example of a golden opportunity for people – an opportunity to at least spend more time truly thinking about the ‘garbage’ they produce. As I’ve seen first hand, a lot of people seem to be doing more than that.

It warms my heart to learn that a lot more people are starting to take matters into their own hands (NO, I don’t mean taking their garbage and dumping it elsewhere! haha) – making an effort to learn more about composting and other waste management options.

A number of Toronto area people have emailed me about getting into vermicomposting, and I think that’s awesome.

As cool as the ‘green bag/cart’ program is, and as much as I approve of the idea (primarily for the countless people that will never, ever try composting), I’ve always felt that it makes way more sense to do it yourself and enjoy all the rewards (such as the feeling of independence, and of course the beautiful compost).

Vermicomposting in particular offers real benefits for those living in densely populated urban areas, like the GTA. You don’t need a lot of space or fancy equipment to get started – a tiny Rubbermaid bin the size of a shoebox would get you moving in the right direction. You may not be able to use ALL your compostable waste materials initially if you only have room for a tiny bin – but at least it’s a start.

Anyway – just some random thoughts rattling around my brain on a dreary Friday.