News Local

Vancouver parks lack recycling bins: study

By Michael Mui, 24 Hours Vancouver



Some of Vancouver’s parks barely have a single recycling or organics bin within them — big parks too, like Queen Elizabeth — and the “greenest” city says there won’t be anything committed until 2017 to address the oversight.

The issue was identified in a City Studio report conducted by Langara College students, who examined the number, locations and contents of bins at four Vancouver parks — Hillcrest, Queen Elizabeth, John Hendry and South Memorial.

The report found the vast majority, if not nearly all, of the bins were trash cans, many of them stuffed with recyclables or organic waste that could be diverted away from landfills.

Park Board commissioner Michael Wiebe said the lack of recycling facilities in parks is contrary to the city’s stated green goals.

“What’s been customary for Vancouverites is when we’re at the park ... people put their bottles beside the garbage bin and someone will come and collect them. But that’s not how our parks should look. That’s not part of the process. That has become common practice,” he said, adding there are about 30 trash cans per recycling bin currently present.

One of the issues is placement and design — and a potential idea, Wiebe said, could be implementing waste disposal stations with three openings — one coloured green for organics, a blue one for recyclables, and a black one for garbage.

“The Stanley Park cleanup happened because people made a fuss ... we shouldn’t have pool-sized amounts of garbage in Stanley Park,” he said.

“Creating the proper bins is one of the fixes we need.”

Albert Shamess, director of waste management at the city — which provides collection for the park bins — said the reason bins don’t already exist is due to “contamination.”

“In actual fact there isn’t a lot (of recycling bins) around city streets. One of the big problems has been contamination ... in addition to recyclables you see a lot of garbage,” Shamess said.

“The Park Board is obviously looking for increased cycling. We’re looking for increased recycling. We’ll work with them on what that looks like, what the cost will be and logistics on program development. Then we’ll go back to council with a report.”

Shamess added the report to council will be made this fall, as part of submissions for the 2017 budget.