Last summer during a visit from my sister and brother-in-law, we decided to go to the Khyber Pass, a bring-your-own-wine Afghan restaurant, in Montreal. It’s a charming restaurant with great food (great vegetarian options too) and a cozy terrace in the back. One of the great aspects of dining-out in Montreal is that some restaurants have a bring-your-own-wine licence which encourages people to eat out more since you’re not spending a fortune on wine.
Thus, on this occasion, we did just that. We brought 2 bottles of wine and enjoyed a great meal. While discussing with the friendly waiter who had also lived in Victoria, BC (where my sister lived) we got got into great conversation about food and wine. At the end, he asked if I had finished eating and I made a comment like “Yah, you don’t compost leftovers do you?” to which he replied “No, we don’t even recycle wine bottles”.
There I was, Urban Green Girl, who was just told that her 2 wine bottles (completely empty) were going to be thrown into the garbage. He told me 2000 bottles were actually disposed of each week, simply because the owner didn’t want to bother with recycling.
Stunned, I was sure this was illegal. The next day, I called the city of Montreal to inquire on whether it was true that a restaurant, a bring-your-own-wine restaurant no less, was allowed to not recycle. I was instructed to call the Eco-quartier that took care of recycling programs for that area.
I called and explained the situtation and said I didn’t want to make a complaint but instead, help the owner start recycling. They told me about a campaign they had that would give 2 large recycling bins for free to the restaurant (normally a $200 value each) and even deliver them.
SUCCESS IN ITS PUREST FORM
They took the restaurant’s info and contacted them to let them know about the program. About a month or so later, I got a call from Eco-quartier letting me know that they had, in fact, started recycling.
This brought a great amount of joy to me, to know that one person, could make a difference and reduce landfill waste by 2000 wine bottles per week.
THE MORAL OF THE STORY
Always give the benefit of the doubt. In this case, the owners were immigrants to Canada and not accustomed to the “importance” of recycling. So, it is important to try to work with them and let them know about services available. If the offer of help is refuted, then you escalate in which ever manner you can. Be creative!
Is it our job to do this? No! But if we don’t and it’s not mandatory by law to recycle (which is the case in Montreal unfortunately), then who will?
We need to fight for environmental protection until it becomes important enough that we can trust our elected officials to take care of it, but until then, FIGHT!
* BTW – In case you’re wondering, I carried the empty wine bottles home with me that night to recycle them