Earth Matters by Jacqueline Milner – Making Sense of Trash Habits in City Parks – July 13, 2011 – Cornwall Ontario

Cornwall ON – My niece and I spent some time in a lovely city park close to home over the past four days.  Water and a playground are like seventh heaven to a four year old, especially during these lovely summer days.  The splash pad/playground area we visited is designated for 4 to 12 year old children and is greatly appreciated by family members and friends of children living in and around the city. This wonderful play area is on the waterfront, offers picnic tables and shade trees for those wishing to spend the day or afternoon and there are several park benches for those wishing to sit and relax a bit while the children are playing.  The area also offers change rooms, bathrooms and a canteen bordering the splash pad.

On our last visit we brought our own snacks and water, none of which generated any garbage.  Today we made some purchases of ice cream bars at the canteen.  So we needed to dispose of some garbage directly following our purchase.  We immediately went to the closest garbage can to find it was for recycling, plastic and cans only.  Great that a recycling bin was available however the garbage can was at an inconvenient distance from this container and from the canteen so I can only guess that many people used this recycling bin for their canteen garbage as well.

As we moved from the splash pad to the playground area I observed that there were seven garbage cans in the area and only one recycling bin, previously mentioned.  I also noticed that the garbage cans contained recyclables. (see image below)

So why am I writing about this?  Firstly I cannot believe in this day and age that people continue to throw recyclables into garbage cans which are destined for our land fill sites.  Secondly if a community has decided that an area requires 7 garbage cans why is there only one recycle bin?  This clearly does not serve the people frequenting this area or the community that we can surmise wants to divert recyclables from the landfill because they have installed at least one recycle container in the first place.  If a mom is trying to keep an eye on her small child in the playground, having a recycle bin at the other end of the park area is not going to encourage her to deposit it there.

In this case I might suggest the ideal solution would be to twin a recycle container with each garbage can.  If it is thought to be unnecessary at least one or two additional recycle bins throughout this large park area could benefit all concerned.

So what can we do about this?  Get involved?  If placement of facilities or equipment for public use does not make sense to you, contact your local Municipal Departments.  Share your suggestions for improvement.  Your input can greatly benefit your community.

Your commentary is encouraged and appreciated below or to

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  1. Interesting article Jacqueline, it’s so true that City Council sometimes sleeps at the switch.

  2. @Stan…thanks for the comment Stan. I doubt that City Council made the decision about the number of recycle or garbage bins. I wanted to get the point across that we the citizens also need to take responsibility for things as they are. If something isn’t serving us, taking the positive action of “making a phone call or sending a note” with a suggestion for improvement to the people responsible can bring about needed change.

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