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Tales from the Dump: Dumps should be a resource, not a liability

You know what you are going to come across in the salvage area

Hurray, the strike is over. Hopefully, the salvage area at the dump will open soon.

I like to go to the dump to have a look around. To drop off some animal waste, put my recyclables into the correct bins and take a little meander through the salvage area. One just never knows what one will come across. It might be a book you want to read or a piece of clothing you like. It could be a pair of boots, crocs or sandals you can use. It might be a saucepan you could use or just the right size lid for your frying pan. Or it could be a tool you don’t have but could use, someday.

You never know what you might find at the dump’s salvage area. Sometimes it’s even useful. Walt Humphries photo

A year ago, someone found 20 to 30 unopened bags of soil at the dump. They were soon divided up by those present and put into the back of several people’s vehicles. So, 30 bags of good garden soil that otherwise would get buried and contaminated in the dump were saved. Burying them in the dump I would consider a bit of a waste and a crime against nature. We live in a place that is a little short of good soil, so throwing it away in the dump is just plain dumb, yet it happens every year in one way or another.

The salvage area at the dump needs a big sign and a catchy name. I would suggest something like The Finders Keepers Memorial Salvage Area, dedicated to all the people who have salvaged at the dump over the years and thus helped to build a better Yellowknife. People who reuse, recycle, repurpose and keep stuff from being destroyed and buried.

I think the city council should learn from the strike and pass a law that the salvage area at the dump is good for people’s mental health and the well-being of the planet. It should never be closed, for more than a day or two at a time. It is an essential service, ecologically friendly and good for our physical and mental health. It is also an important part of our culture and heritage and helps to make us unique. It is also a tourist attraction, especially for people who have never seen a dump before.

I think the GNWT should pass a law that every dump in the north must have a salvage area and the federal government could also pass a law, that every dump in the country has a salvage area. It would give people something to do and reduce the cost of living for many. If all dumps had a salvage area for people to drop things off, it would help a lot of people willing to take advantage of them. Also, there should be a rule or law, that it was illegal to throw away anything of value or that could be reused, recycled or composted. Then dumps as we know them would soon become things of the past because burying things in the ground just doesn’t make sense.

So dumps would become sorting plants and a voluntary salvage area. The dumps should be viewed as a resource and not become a liability. The first step would be for the city administration and council to decide that the salvage area and recycling stations are very important and essential services. Also, it is spring, and the dump is a great place to find all the raw materials for gardening and a good time to get things started.

This brings us to another question. What happens to all the soil that is processed in the compost area? For a few years, the city tried to sell it but because their system is rather sloppy, gravel and other bits and pieces got mixed in with the compost and weren’t up to grade to sell. People just don’t want gravel or plastic in their gardens. So apparently the city uses it to cover the baled garbage. Turning compost into soil and then using it to cover and hide all that garbage just seems wasteful. It is time the human race stopped burying garbage or dumping it into rivers, lakes and oceans. We must stop turning the planet into one rather large and toxic garbage dump. That’s foolish folly.