Updated: Jan 25
Canadian society is one of the most consumerist in the world. Have you ever wondered where so much garbage is going? Where do all those long disposable coffee cups that are seen in the movies end up? We have.
Rubbish by Nathan Copley
We, the architects of FL Translations and Teepeeca, live most of our lives in a country with very low levels of consumerism and even in these conditions, the garbage is piled up in the corners. Sometimes it covers large urban spaces such as parks and sterile sites. Rivers, dams and beautiful white-sand beaches don't escape the disaster either. And thus, unfortunately, many people identify their first olfactory memory of our wonderful capital city with the unmistakable smell of garbage.
In our path as translators and interpreters, we had the opportunity to work in one of the largest landfills in our country. Our mission was to serve as interpreters during negotiations with delegations from first world countries that brought their proposals on waste management and treatment. As it is usual in the life of each translator and interpreter, we acquired invaluable knowledge during those working hours. It turns out that we learnt that organic waste should not be mixed with inorganic. The first, in its decomposition process, generates methane gas, which is highly flammable and can cause large fires that, when in contact with plastic waste and other substances, can emit fumes and gases harmful to humans and the environment as well.
We learned that the problem was not precisely the lack of resources or the absence of qualified personnel to ensure that the city was kept clean and that the garbage was collected and transported to landfills periodically. None of this is necessary in order to take care of a country’s environment. The basis for guaranteeing the care and protection of the environment is a civil society educated and aware of the need to fight against climate change for the sake of all.
One of our first surprises in Canada was to discover that, despite the wide consumption of goods, despite so many paper bags and so many plastic bottles, the garbage was as elusive as the sun can be at the end of the year north of Canada. Many weeks passed before we could see the first cans of coke lying on the ground.
When we arrived in Toronto, we stayed for the first two weeks with a couple of good friends who helped us take our first steps in this country. With them, we learned to classify garbage inside the house.