Burlap Sack: Remedy’s paper bags

Have you noticed that these bags may not be recyclable?

With the new opening of Remedy Cafe in the CCIS building this year, students have seen a number of changes occur. First, the overwhelming smell of chai and butter chicken in the air. Second, an influx of seating in the nook where Remedy has made its home. Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, newly overflowing garbage cans filled with takeout bags. 

If you’ve ever ordered a take-out wrap or samosa at Remedy, you’re familiar with the iconic white bag it comes in. If not, you’ll soon start noticing them around CCIS. The bag is paper, but has no recycling symbol on it. If you check the sides and the bottom you will find plenty of Remedy logos, but no symbol to help you sort your waste appropriately. As a result, by the end of each day all nearby garbage cans are overflowing with these bags, while the adjacent paper recycling slot sits nearly empty.

Paper is simple to recycle; it seems intuitive to direct those bags to recycling, especially with CCIS’ convenient waste division bins. And students want to recycle, if given the opportunity. It’s ingrained in science culture to be environmentally conscious, future-oriented, and accountable for one’s actions. In a science-based learning hub, these ideas should be pushed forwards, not to the side.

Is this simply a matter of poor labelling? After all, the bags are special order, equipped with logos specific to the company. Perhaps a recycling symbol was overlooked in the ordering process. Is the paper lined with plastic, like a coffee cup, and therefore not eligible for recycling? Upon contacting Remedy via email, they gave no response other than “We’ll get back to you shortly!” Two weeks later, it reads more like “We are not interested in tackling that issue.” 

For an Edmonton cafe that boasts a supposed “customer-focused” atmosphere and interest in local products, the absence of this tiny symbol seems like a major oversight. By opening a location in a busy, science-focused building, it seems like good practice to incorporate recyclables. Hopefully by increasing contact with Remedy, both individually and through groups like Sustain SU, our recycling bins will be a little more full, and our garbage bins a little emptier. With some unity and a little fight, we can work together on social media, in person, and through organizations to spark change that makes a visible difference.

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