Downtown visitors are throwing out a lot of coffee cups and single-use items. That’s what city staff have discovered so far after spending three days digging through the contents of 45 downtown and urban core trash bins.
The two-part analysis is part of an effort to better understand what’s being tossed out, and what can be done to make sure things are properly disposed of.
“We’re seeing a lot of coffee cups in the downtown area,” said Rory Tooke, manager of sustainability for the city. “We’re seeing garbage and other single-use items. One thing that’s kind of a surprise and that we haven’t seen before is we’re seeing a lot of paper straws.”
Environmental scientists from Metro Testing and Engineering have been taking the content and sorting the findings into over 80 categories before weighing and cataloguing it. An initial report of the findings is due at the end of the month, while a second investigation and final report will be done in the fall, to compare how the non-tourism season trash might look.
“We’ll use [the report] as staff to identify things such as policy interventions, how we design out programs and ultimately where we end up putting the different cans to ensure that people are doing the right thing.”
This may include installing more separated trash bins, which divide between trash, recycling and compost. Presently there are only 16 of these located across downtown Victoria.
“We’re really interested to see how we can expand that by going into different areas like urban villages to really ensure we’re getting the full diversion of those waste materials, and minimizing what’s going to landfills as much as possible,” Tooke said.
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