Blue Bins in Big River

In July of 2007 the landfill in Big River stopped accepting bagged household garbage.
Twenty Five blue bins were located in nine different places around the town for the collection
of bagged garbage. The bins are emptied every Thursday by Highway 55 Waste Management
and trucked to the regional landfill in Canwood. Bins for recycling paper and cardboard are located on 1st St N between 1st Ave. and Mill Ave. Both town and RM residents use these bins.

Signs on the outsides of the bin indicate what can and cannot be disposed of but every system has problems and waste collection in Big River is no different. Some are discussed below.

Our present blue bin waste collection system depends on voluntary co-operation and has no safe guards against abuse. Therefore all manner of inappropiate material (i.e. -- material that should be hauled to our local landfill -- construction debris, furniture, tv's, metal and machinery) can and does get thrown into the bins. The biggest ongoing problem however is illustrated by these three photos taken in 2008. The six cardboard boxes pictured, together with a few bags of garbage, tossed willy nilly into the bin completely filled it up. It costs $34.00 every time a bin is emptied. It's sheer unmitigated stupidity to pay 34 dollars to dispose of six cardboard boxes yet week in and week out the problem persists. And all for the want of the effort to flatten a cardboard box.

    actual volume of six boxes

Problem number two is bin lids left jammed open and/or bagged garbage left outside the bin. It seems that as soon as some people go to take out their garbage their brains turn off. They don't think about what they're doing and they certainly don't watch what they're doing. The first bin they walk up to is where the bag goes, if the bin is full in goes the bag anyway and the lid is left jammed open. The adjacent bin could well be empty but that's the luck of the draw, they didn't happen to walk up to that one.    

The bins are emptied on Thursdays so by Tuesdays and Wednesdays some of the stations are full. Instead of finding an empty bin there are some who simply throw what ever they've got on the ground outside the bin. Not smart. The raven's have a field day with exposed garbage bags of course and scatter stuff all over the place.
Some Observations

Often half of a days trash is deposited in the bins at night. This is when most of the abuse occurs so it's obviously deliberate and thought out as the people loading up their 1/2 half tons and skulking around in the dark, dumping in bins that are out of eyesight know that what they're doing is sabotage.

An inordinant number of diaper boxes are found in and around bad dumps. How does that reflect on users from ages 18 to 35?

The bin in the trailer park and the one on Mill Ave. are out of the way and are only used by the people in the immediate neighbourhood. They work to perfection. Virtually maintenance free they're emptied once every two weeks, year round. Why is it that these two neighbourhoods have no problems with their bins but ones that are in plain sight, used by everyone are constantly misused? The worst sites are the main one by the hotel and the one by the Community Center.

If the system has to be changed all the bins could be put in one place and monitored 24 hours a day by video camera to ensure that those who refuse to abide by a few common sense rules can be dealt with. Another solution might be to use the trailer park and mill ave as a model. Assign each neighbourhood a bin and place it in a place where it can be seen by many households. RM residents could likewise find secure locations in convienent spots around the country. If these bins were kept locked abuse would become impossible.