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EDITORIAL: Collective problem

Trash is more than just an eyesore. Getting it out of sight simply does not solve the problem.

Its not hard to imagine how disgusted people in Trenton feel about the mound of discarded items that was showing up in the downtown area in front of donation bins for the Red Cross. Trenton town council also took note of the growing problem this week, talking about possible action.

But a little publicity helps too in helping people to understand that getting rid of unwanted stuff takes responsibility to see that it goes to the right place, rather than wishful thinking that where theyve dumped it off will suit everybodys purposes.

Fortunately, since that discussion earlier this week, the Red Cross took up the gauntlet and saw to it that the mess got cleaned up. But we should emphasize, echoing a comment from town councillor V.J. Earle, that thats really not the job of the charitable organization.

Quite right. The Canadian Red Cross has plenty on its plate helping with causes in the country and internationally without having to organize a cleanup like this.

And there is obviously a cost to this, like any cleanup. Thats another thing a charitable organization does not need. Neither does the owner of the bins, LML Trading, which provides the drop-offs in communities for used clothing and shoes to be sold internationally. The aim is to reuse and recycle and keep more of this material out of landfills, while sharing some of the money raised with the Red Cross.

Its worth noting that similar misuse of drop-off locations has cropped up before. The local Salvation Army several years ago began to find what amounted to bags of trash dropped off in front of its thrift store outlet.

In the case of the Red Cross bins, theyre clearly marked as to what materials are being sought, namely, clothing and footwear. The size of the bins should be a good clue that pieces of furniture arent part of the collection list. Simply piling stuff outside the bins is nothing short of littering – and a plague to residents living in the vicinity.

The fact that more garbage was to be found in a gully behind the bins is another indication that some people are looking for an easy way out in discarding of unwanted items.

There is a relatively straightforward alternative to getting rid of such materials. They can be taken to the transfer station in Mount William operated by Pictou County Solid Waste, and the dumping fee is quite modest.

If people dont get the message, one solution might be to monitor these areas more regularly, hand out the information people need and, if they persist, charge them with littering. We already have enough of a headache with litter throughout the province, we dont want to add to it.

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