social action · writing prompts

an open​ letter about recycling

Dear (Politician),

Thank you for your service to our region.

I am a resident of your constituency and am concerned about the problems around recycling. I believe most people do not recycle extensively since it is time-consuming and also potentially expensive. In particular, rural residents who do not have blue-box service find recycling cumbersome.

With the Chinese markets now closed to Canada’s recyclables, the true cost and inconvenience of recycling are highlighted.

I propose legislation be put in place to ensure all of our packaging, which is the bulk of our household waste, is made from biodegradable plastics or other biodegradable materials. If most of our household waste could be composted, our recycling needs would be greatly reduced. It would be simpler for residents, and better for the environment.

On a related topic, single-use plastic bags have been targetted for removal from use, but is this truly an effective strategy? A few years ago, on a visit to New Zealand, I noticed the shopping bag options at store checkouts were either paper (biodegradable), or a biodegradable plastic. Yes, they are more expensive to the vendor and consumer, but they would not be any more expensive than our current recycling costs. Again, this would be simpler for residents and better for the environment.

Fort McMurray banned single-use plastic bags some years ago. Since that time, residents have been buying heavy-duty multi-use bags. Those bags are actually heavy-duty plastics which also ends up in the landfill once they are exhausted. I believe Victoria is looking at a similar program. It is not an environmentally-friendly strategy in the long term, as the bags are not biodegradable. Paper or biodegradable plastics would be best.

In the best-case scenario, Canada would produce its own biodegradable plastics for bags and packaging, which are oil products. This is the most environmentally responsible option. We certainly have the raw resources here in Alberta, and we have the skill and manpower throughout Canada. Let’s find a Canadian solution to this Canadian problem.

Kind Regards,

Dorothy Bentley



[This is a website dedicated to encouraging children to write. This letter may serve as a template for children to write to their politicians on issues of importance to them.]


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