Coffee cups, takeout containers and food top list of items in Victoria trash cans

WatchAn audit of downtown Victoria garbage cans has produced some surprising results. The city hired a contractor to comb through 45 garbage cans in August and it found more than 25,000 single-use items are being disposed of every day. April Lawrence reports.

A quick glance in any downtown Victoria garbage can and you will see plastic and paper cups and lids, and a lot of them.

The City of Victoria hired a contractor in August to conduct an audit of the contents of 45 garbage bins throughout the city over a three day period.

“Essentially they dumped it out on the table and they looked and they sort that waste into over 80 categories,” said the City of Victoria’s Manager of Sustainability Rory Tooke.

It found residents and visitors discarded roughly 25,000 single-use items in the garbage every day.

“We’re about 13,000 cups, both plastic and paper cups disposed in our garbage cans,” he said.

They also found more than half a ton of food waste was discarded on average each day, followed by pet waste, and 330 kilograms, or 730 pounds, of disposable cups.

They also found 6300 takeout containers and 5800 straws, including many paper straws.

The reason the city did the audit is to know more about who’s throwing out what and where so they can try to prevent so many single-use items from ending up in the landfill.

“To figure out what type of bin designs we need to put in place to make sure people put those materials in the right spot so ultimately they don’t end up at the landfill,” said Tooke.

The city does have a few “tri-bins”, for food waste, recyclable containers, and trash, in certain locations as part of an older pilot project but they plan to add more as part of their Zero Waste Strategy next year.

Staff is asking council for $200,000 to implement the recommendations in the report and continue to the second development phase of the Zero Waste Strategy. They are also asking for $100,000 to hire an additional staff member to help implement it. Council will consider it as part of its 2020 budget deliberations.


April LawrenceApril Lawrence

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