Homeless in Vancouver: Brunno the building manager says...

Multi-unit dwellers in Vancouver are supposed to sort their recyclable garbage into the appropriate city-supplied blue bins: “Containers”, “Paper” or “Newsprint.”

The city scales the number of each bin type supplied to buildings according to ongoing feedback built into the collection system. It all works well for the most part.

However, the system is not a good fit for cardboard, which is mostly in the form of boxes and mostly too large for the bins. Even when the boxes are broken down or flattened, most times they are still too large to fit in the bins. And if they fit, it doesn’t take many of them to fill up the blue bin.

At best, large flattened boxes get stuck between two of the bins like books between bookends. At worst unflattened boxes just pile up; sometimes on and around the blue bins, and not infrequently in the garbage Dumpsters, which is exactly where they’renot supposed to end up.

Speaking as a binner, I think each block should have a city-supplied Dumpster for cardboard and paper. Statistical analysis could be used to determine the appropriate Dumpster size, just as it currently determines the number of paper bins supplied to buildings.

The only apartments in Fairview that do not regularly suffer the godawful mess of piled up cardboard boxes are the ones who either pay for private cardboard dumpsters or have conscientious building managers who not only flatten the boxes, but slice them up so they fit in the blue bins. In the latter case, they still have to resort to “bookending” the cardboard.

The city could definitely do with improving this part of its recycling system.

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