New Modules Help Stash Your Trash


New modules help stash your trash
Containers to rotate around downtown

By: Lindsey Wiebe, Winnipeg Free Press

Sixty bags, each weighing around 11 kilograms, are crammed with old coffee cups, pop cans, takeout boxes and snack packaging.

It is, in the words of the Downtown BIZ’s Dave Stone, “an awful lot of litter in just five days.”

But the entire mound of trash heaped in front of the MTS Centre Thursday morning was collected by BIZ cleanup crews from downtown streets in under a week — none of the more than 660 kilograms of waste made it to trash bins. And that’s not unusual, they say.

In a bid to keep downtown litter bugs in check, the BIZ has set up five new trash ‘modules’ to be rotated around high-traffic locations.

The modules are platforms fitted with garbage bins, bright signage, a container for cigarette butts and some potted plants. Crews clean up an average of 45,000 cigarette butts a year downtown. The BIZ plans to monitor the bins for four weeks to see how they go over.

Although waste in the transparent bags heaped on Portage Avenue included a significant amount of recyclables, there are no plans yet to set up more recycling bins to go with the new modules. Cleanup operator Murray Swanson said his crew deals with all manner of messes, and said the new bins could help: “It’s just a matter of whether (people) are too lazy to use them.”

But they could be a tough sell. Ryan Genaille, who wandered past a new module Thursday, admitted if it came down to it, he’d probably toss a butt on the ground rather than dash to the waste bin and risk missing a bus.

However, the small ‘pocket ashtrays’ given away for free by Take Pride Winnipeg! Thursday, and meant for holding a cigarette butt until it can be disposed of later, went over a little better. “It’s awesome,” he said. “I’ll use this for sure.”

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition October 1, 2010