A Plastic Pest

Cher Yukon,

Comment ca va? This will be my last article from La Belle Province as, by the time this gets out, I will be back in Whitehorse visiting, teaching and frequenting coffee shops. I was going to write about this subject when I first arrived in Montréal, but for some reason (actually, a good reason that I’ll explain in more detail at the end of this letter), I put it aside.

Here in Montréal, there is a phenomenon called the “publi-sac” (pronounced poobli-sac).

Advertising here is insane and competition for business is fierce. The publi-sac is a plastic bag, delivered to every household, wanted or not. It is filled with flyers for every type of business, from restaurants to esthetic shops to tire stores.

In our borough of Verdun, garbage and recycling is picked up on Thursdays and the publi sac is conveniently delivered after the garbage/recycling pick-up. Many of the publi-sacs are dropped right back into recycling bags, but one has to hold on to them for another week before they can be taken away.

At first, the bags were plastic – total landfill material. At least now they say they are recyclable or biodegradable. Grant and I used to laugh at the name of the bags. Now they are just annoying.

I think the whole recycling program here is in jeopardy.

We have watched news stories where the discussion has been what to do with all the bags of recyclables …There is no magic machine (not here, yet, anyway) that separates the articles into like recyclables, but rather there are now piles and piles and piles of unprocessed recyclables left in their blue bags.

There is no room to store them anywhere and it is likely they will end up in the landfill. Despite the fact that it is a bit more work on the part of each household, at least at Raven Recycling, in Whitehorse (and in other recycling centres in the Yukon), recyclables are being processed into their proper categories.

Why would Montréal set up a recycling program they can’t enforce? Here I go again on my soapbox. Anyway, back to publi-sacs …

I wrote a song about them the second week we were here. I sang it to Chelsea, on her Thanksgiving visit, and she said, “Mom, you can’t send that in. They’ll think you are on something!”

Well, I held off sending it in, then forgot about it until last week. Like it or not, here comes the song. It is sung to the melody of The Cat Came Back. Here goes …

The public-sac, it came today,

A plastic bag, filled with paper flyers,

Oh, the publi-sac, it just wouldn’t stay away.

(Verse 2)

The publi-sac, disaster in the landfill,

In the blue recycle bags they lay,

The publi-sac, why won’t they just go away?

(Verse 3)

The publi-sac, got a solution,

Don’t agree, but anyway we use them,

The publi-sac, cat’s litter box is clean, today.

The End. Hmm … maybe I should have listened to Chelsea.

This may be my last “Cher Yukon” column, but it is not goodbye. Darrell has a new assignment for me back in the Yukon. I am the new fashion columnist for What’s Up Yukon. Yukon fashions! I’m very excited.

So, talk to you soon,

Your friend,


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