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'More people in parks, means more litter,' so Vaughan is piloting garbage bin sensors
Aug. 13, 2021

A new pilot project is currently being tested in 22 parks located in Vaughan’s Wards 4 and 5 in hopes of reducing garbage.

“Many citizens are enjoying the summer weather in City of Vaughan parks. But more people in parks means more chance of litter,” the city said in a release on Aug. 11.

“To combat this, the city’s Public Works department has leveraged a new technological approach to help keep the community clean, safe and beautiful,” it added.

The way it works is that “garbage bin sensors are placed under the lids of select waste bins allowing Parks staff to monitor the fill-levels remotely and receive notifications when they need to be emptied.”

These sensors are real-time and they also collect historical data to “optimize waste collection schedules along routes, allowing staff to save on fuel, labour and fleet maintenance.”

With fewer trucks out driving, this would reduce carbon emissions, and also cut noise, traffic and help maintain the roads.

“Even more, they help to reduce overflowing waste bins, which often leads to litter on streets and in parks.”

The garbage bin sensors are currently located in the following areas: Concord Thornhill Regional Park (off-leash dog park), Marita Payne Park, Riviera Park, Glen Shields Avenue, Bob O'Link Avenue, Peach Tree Place, New Seabury Drive, Oakmount Crescent, Southview Park, the Le Jardin walkway to Southview Park, West Crossroads and East Crossroads Park, Langstaff Eco Park, LeParc Park, Sherwood Park, Tudor Park, Agostino Park, Derrywood Drive and Belwood Boulevard, Alexander Park, Forest Run Boulevard, the southwest corner of Bathurst Street and Worth Boulevard, the Sugarbush trail entrance, and Lakehurst Park.

Leveraging technology when dealing with garbage isn’t new with Vaughan since this project is part of the city’s Quick Response (QR) Code pilot project.

The city unleashed its QR pilot projects in September last year to allow residents to scan the code found on a city waste bin using their smartphone to notify city staff when it is full.

“The program resulted in quicker service to bins that required emptying, which reduced litter in parks,” the city said. “This project continues in select parks.”