Fredericton — Apparently, taking good care of the environment isn’t considered to be an essential service by the Fredericton Solid Waste Commission, as it was announced earlier this week that it would be ceasing all recycling operations going forward.
After deciding to put a temporary pause on the service, City Council introduced a bill that would see Fredericton’s homeless population at least double their usual bottle-collecting numbers to help minimize the recyclables being thrown into the landfill during this stoppage of service.
“This is just good housekeeping and good common sense,” explained Mayor Mike O’Brien. “We’re keeping the employees at the waste commission safe and we’re using an untapped resource here in the city with our homeless population.”
O’Brien believes this will be a good news story for the city’s homeless population as well.
“I think they’re practically dying for something to do with their time,” he continued. “I mean, just imagine how boring it must be to sit around in the cold all day. Nothing to do, nowhere to go, no real purpose. I totally think these people are going to see me as a hero after all this. They may even make a statue of me in their next tent city or something.”
Our reporter pressed the mayor on how he sees this initiative working.
“It’s really not going to take a whole lot of added effort. These people are already out there looking for cans and bottles — we’re just asking that they start doing it for 16 hours a day rather than their typical eight. You rarely see them in groups when they’re doing it, either, so they’re already practising social distancing — it’s as if they’ve been preparing for this their whole time as homeless people.”
When word got out to the homeless population, the reaction wasn’t as optimistic as O’Brien and Council had anticipated.
“This is garbage,” exclaimed Bradley Hannaford while picking up a piece of garbage. “And so is the city’s plan. I know I won’t be trying extra hard for those bastards. They never do anything for us. They don’t look after us, they evict us from out tenting community, they eliminate our funding and resources and never care about our well-being.
“And now, when they want something from us, they expect us to just grab a cart and go on our merry way collecting extra bottles for them. Well no thanks — those carts aren’t even properly sanitized!”
When pressed on this specific issue, Council asked that Frederictonians simply leave a small amount product in every hand-sanitizer container they’re throwing away, for the homeless to use to disinfect their carts and other necessary materials.