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2005 06 28
Trashing up the sidewalks

In southern Etobicoke today, the City of Toronto unveiled the first EUCAN recycling/litter bin as part of a 90-day pilot project. But if you were to walk by one of these things you would be hard pressed to recognize it as a waste bin since is covered in ads similar in size to bus shelters. But before we go on about what is wrong with the monster bins, let's focus on the weather.

Today was another smog day, and Toronto has already surpassed last year's total of smog days. Ontario set a record yesterday for energy consumption, and we broke it again today. According to the Toronto Environmental Alliance, Ontario coal plants are operating at maximum capacity. Employees at City Hall and Queen's Park did their part for conservation by reducing the use of air conditioning and turning off any thing electric that wasn't necessary. Even Honest Ed's said they would keep their gaudy lights off this evening. Obivously, these are good examples to set for the rest of us energy hogs.

But across town at the EUCAN unveiling, the City was proudly touting these monster garbage bins (seven feet high, 4 feet wide) which are electrically illuminated. If this pilot project is approved in the fall, thousands of our garbage bins will be lit up wasting unnecessary energy that is generated by our nuclear and coal plants. When did we decide it was necessary to have electric garbage bins?

There are a number of other design flaws in the EUCAN bin that are worth pointing out:
1. Each receptacle is not labelled. It is not clear where you put your recycling bottle, your newspaper, your litter, or cigarette butts.
2. The receptacle for litter is not covered which will allow animals and rain to get into the bins.
3. The placement of the EUCAN bin is perpendicular to the road instead of parallel -- if the bins are sited like this on downtown sidewalks they will become a serious obstacle in heavy pedestrian traffic.
4. The sheer size of the bins means that the ads will be competing in easy sight range with Viacom bus shelter ads. A deal between Viacom, EUCAN, and the City will have to guarantee the bins will be placed a fair distance away from bus shelters. Unfortunately, this means the advertisers needs will be served first, while residents and transit riders as an afterthought.
[email this story] Posted by Spacing Magazine on 06/28 at 09:36 PM

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