Blue bins com­ing to parks, but slowly

Ottawa Citizen - - CITY - MATTHEW PEAR­SON mpear­son@postmedia.com twit­ter.com/mpear­son78

The con­stant sight of garbage cans over­flow­ing with plas­tic bot­tles and pop cans at Mooney’s Bay prompted River Coun. Ri­ley Brock­ing­ton to de­mand some­thing he says is long over­due — re­cy­cling bins in city parks.

“There’s no ex­cuse in 2018 to not have re­cy­cling,” he said after Tues­day’s en­vi­ron­ment and cli­mate pro­tec­tion com­mit­tee meet­ing.

Al­though Brock­ing­ton ques­tioned why garbage cans are more preva­lent than blue bins at most parks, he also ac­knowl­edged a pi­lot project con­ducted by the city last sum­mer at a small num­ber of pop­u­lar parks was not as suc­cess­ful as it could have been. Multi-use parks with beaches, wad­ing pools and sports-tour­na­ment fa­cil­i­ties, such as Petrie Is­land, Mil­le­nium Park and Mooney’s Bay, al­ready have lim­ited re­cy­cling on-site.

Ac­cord­ing to city staff, only a small amount of re­cy­clables was ac­tu­ally di­verted from the land­fill last year be­cause many were con­tam­i­nated with food and dog waste. The lo­ca­tion of re­cy­cling bins in park­ing lots — to min­i­mize col­lec­tion costs — may have pre­vented peo­ple from us­ing them.

This year, a new pi­lot project will see blue bins placed be­side garbage bins in about 50 city parks. Each bin will fea­ture pic­tures to show what ma­te­ri­als can go in the bin and, based on the re­sults, the city will de­ter­mine the best way to im­ple­ment a full-scale parks-re­cy­cling pro­gram.

“We’re mov­ing in the right di­rec­tion,” Brock­ing­ton said.

But it’s not hap­pen­ing fast. The Victoria Day long week­end, the un­of­fi­cial start of pic­nic sea­son, is just around the cor­ner, but the city is un­able to say yet which parks will soon have blue bins. A list will hope­fully be avail­able by the time coun­cil meets next week.

“We’re go­ing to roll it out slowly,” said Mar­i­lyn Journeaux, di­rec­tor of solid waste ser­vices.

Part of the roll­out will in­volve in­creased pub­lic ed­u­ca­tion, she said. Home­own­ers do a good job sep­a­rat­ing garbage and re­cy­clables, but that wasn’t the case in parks dur­ing last sum­mer’s pi­lot project. Dog waste, hot­dogs and other food waste of­ten ended up con­tam­i­nat­ing an en­tire blue bin. “As soon as one bag of dog poop ends up in the blue bin, it’s garbage,” Journeaux said. “If it be­comes ‘un­re­cy­clable,’ what’s the pur­pose of pro­vid­ing that ser­vice?”

The new ap­proach will need to be well thought out, said Coun. David Ch­er­nushenko, who chairs the com­mit­tee. Bins must be con­ve­nient, well-signed and col­lected reg­u­larly.

Or­ga­niz­ers of fes­ti­vals and spe­cial events will also be en­cour­aged to step up re­cy­cling ef­forts.

TONY CALD­WELL

The City of Ot­tawa is plan­ning to in­stall re­cy­cling bins in about 50 parks this year.

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