Blue bins coming to parks, but slowly
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.
The City of Ottawa is planning to install recycling bins in about 50 parks this year.