A couple weeks ago at the salvage area, someone had dumped out a big pile of law books. There had to be between 50 to 100 of them. Books of different statutes, case studies, codes and ordinances. Books that may well get a lawyer or law student excited, but not of much use or interest to most people.

It looked like someone had cleaned out a law library. It was pure irony or satire, when you consider all the legal shenanigans going on in Ottawa and here in Yellowknife, someone was throwing all their legal books away. Symbolically, it was a sign of the times. Why have lawyers and law books when politicians make and then enforce the laws.

When I looked at the books, I couldn’t help but think, “what a waste.”

Those books had to have cost a lot and surely some poor, struggling, up-and-coming law student could have used them? Also, if the city is thinking of starting up a university, valuable books like these, could go into their library and not into the dump.

Now, I am sure that some people will say, “We don’t need books anymore, because you can get it all online digitally,” which is true.

However, while the content may be the same, I can guarantee you that many people will get far more out of reading an actual book than staring at a computer screen.

Finding books thrown away at the dump is certainly not an unusual experience. I think the dump really needs to hire a librarian to decide what is truly garbage and what should be kept for posterity. We could even get fancy and build a big underground crypt to keep them all for future generation or even space aliens to find. What an archaeological treasure trove that would be.

Currently, the city pretends that it recycles glass, but it doesn’t. They do put it into one area so that it can be dug up and be recycled at some future date. Apparently, much the same happens with most plastics. It isn’t recycled but baled and put out at the dump, in case it ever needs to be dug up to be recycled. Right now, it is too expensive to ship it south. It is a little disappointing that these things aren’t recycled and sad that the city deceives people in this way.

For years the city has talked about reducing the amount of garbage that goes into the dump and yet there has also been a lot of dithering going on. I drove up to the hidden and forbidden “contractors only area” to see what was there. What I found was a thick layer of stuff, none of which should be there, because it takes up a lot of dump space needlessly and could all be recycled, composted, reused or turned into fire wood.

Wood and cardboard should be banned outright from the dump. They can be recycled, reused, burnt, turned into wood pellets or compost. Why after decades of talking about it are wood and cardboard still being bulldozed and buried. Mattresses take up a lot of space yet are basically made of organic cloth and metal. Several places take mattresses apart and recycle or compost the components. So why aren’t we?

The final item which I see every week or two are dozens of plastic crates used to send big plastic bottles of pop or milk to the North. It usually says right on them that they are to be reused, yet they end up in our dump.

They take up a lot of space because they don’t even get crushed flat. People don’t bother to salvage them because the plastic dividers inside make them useless for storage containers.

The city could certainly hire some casual labour to take apart mattresses and sort things out. Someone should use those law books and come up with a simple rule: no wood, cardboard, mattresses, plastic crates or books allowed. Simple, doable and a real space saver.

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