Public Spaces Waste Management Program

To help divert more waste from landfills and provide opportunities to recycle, compost, and dispose of dog waste in public spaces, the Township developed the Public Spaces Waste Management program. The program installs multi-stream waste receptacles in select Township parks, trails, and other public areas. The bins provide consistency between the municipal curbside collection program and bins found in Township facilities.

Metro Vancouver, the organization that manages transfer stations in our region, prohibits recyclable materials, food scraps, and large amounts of pet waste from landfills. In order to comply with these restrictions and keep public spaces clean and safe, these multi-stream receptacles encourage responsible disposal of garbage, recycling, pet waste, and organics while residents are out and about.

Diverting this waste from the landfill also helps reduce greenhouse gas emissions, improves safety for waste facility staff, ensures that containers are recycled and given a second life, and food scraps are turned into compost.

If you see one of the bins, help us become a more sustainable community by sorting your waste. Not sure where something belongs? Try our What Goes Where tool or visit Recycling Resources.

Dog waste collected from Public Spaces bins is separated from bags before being processed at a wastewater treatment plant. At the plant, the waste is treated until clean water, biosolids (used in fertilizer), and methane gas are produced. The methane is captured and used to run the facility. “Recycling” your pet waste is better for our waterways, human health, and helps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

While small amounts of dog waste can be disposed of as garbage, provided it is double-bagged and tied with the air removed, Metro Vancouver bans larger amounts from the landfill.

Dog waste must be treated separately from other streams of waste because it:

  • Poses a health hazard to workers who may handle it unknowingly
  • Doesn’t break down properly and takes up extra space when disposed of in a landfill
  • Produces methane, a greenhouse gas 25 times more potent than carbon dioxide
  • Acts as a fertilizer and promotes algal blooms which lowers oxygen availability and can harm fish when washed, untreated, into waterways

Audits of existing Township parks and street-side garbage bins showed that 40-55% of the material collected in public spaces is dog waste. Across the whole Township, that adds up to a lot of waste! To avoid fines from Metro Vancouver, as well as do our part to improve worker safety and reduce our impact on the environment, the Township has included a pet waste collection stream on many of the new multi-stream receptacles. Additionally, Metro Vancouver is rolling out public dog waste bins in regional parks and many other neighbouring municipalities are developing their own programs to solve this issue.

Small amounts of dog waste can be disposed of as household garbage provided it is double-bagged and tied with the air removed. For larger amounts, pet waste (without bags) can be flushed down the toilet or composted in your backyard. (Note: the composter should be placed well away from any vegetable garden or waterway, and resulting compost should only be used on shrubs and never near plants intended for eating).

Pet owners can hire collection companies to collect waste from their home or strata complex. To find pet-waste collection companies in your neighbourhood, try searching the internet or asking neighbours. For more ideas about what to do with pet waste at home, visit Metro Vancouver’s What To Do With Dog Waste.

During the pilot project in May 2017, the Township installed 44 multi-stream bins in Walnut Grove. The first expansion phase is scheduled to roll out in mid-2019 and begins with 38 bins installed in Noel Booth Park, the new Yorkson Community Park, and additional locations in Walnut Grove. Phase 3 will see expansion to McLeod Athletic Park, Aldergrove Athletic Park, and Willoughby Community Park in winter 2019.
Plans for future expansion are in the works. Funding dependant, the program will expand to the rest of the Township over the next few years and see receptacles installed in parks, trails, and along busy streets in every community.

Three different types of bins will be available, depending on location:


3-stream dog waste, garbage, and recycling bins will be installed along trails, streets, and in dog parks.


Garbage, Compost, and Recycling

Garbage, compost, and recycling bins will be installed in areas where food is being consumed or dogs are not allowed, such as playing fields, spray parks, picnic shelters, and near concession stands.

4 stream

4-stream dog waste, garbage, recycling, and compost will be installed in locations where all types of waste are equally likely.

While on-site surveying of the public was conducted during the pilot project and helped determine future plans, feedback is always welcome. As we implement new receptacles, we will work with local business associations and continue to gather feedback from the public as they use the new bins.

In 2015, Township Council approved a Litter and Illegal Waste Management Strategy. The strategy has a three-pillar approach focused on Education, Enforcement, and Infrastructure. Infrastructure, such as waste receptacles, is critical to the Litter and Illegal Waste Management Strategy due to projected growth in the Township and the increased use of public spaces.

Currently, there are over 700 garbage receptacles throughout parks and roadways in the Township. Until the pilot project, there were no options for organics diversion or paper and containers recycling, only limited options for refundable beverage container recycling in public spaces.

In 2017, the Township conducted a Public Spaces program pilot project of new multi-stream receptacles in the Walnut Grove community. The pilot project was in effect until September 2017, when waste characterization studies, visual audits, and public and staff feedback were compiled in order to evaluate and gauge the effectiveness of, and response to, the pilot program.

A report on the pilot project identified the program as overwhelmingly positive and successful: both staff and the public appreciated the design of the bins and the opportunity to dispose of materials correctly, especially pet waste. Sorting accuracy by the public was found to be acceptable, and in the fall of 2017, Council permitted expansion of the pilot, supporting the vision to rollout the bins across the Township.

Beginning winter 2018, the Township will implement 38 additional receptacles in Yorkson Park, Noel Booth Park, and in additional locations across Walnut Grove. This will ensure efficient handling of waste and providing easy-to-use recycling and organics collection opportunities to public users in parks, trails, and on roadways.

For these new receptacles, diversion efforts and opportunities will continue to be key: the Township will add receptacles with compost bins near concession stands and in areas where people are eating or playing to encourage proper disposal of food scraps.

Similarly, as dog waste was diverted from other streams with almost perfect accuracy during the pilot project, many Public Space receptacles will continue to manage pet waste effectively by offering dedicated dog waste bins.

While multi-stream Public Spaces bins can collect a variety of common waste items, only waste generated by active users of parks, trails, and roadways is accepted in the receptacles. For residents seeking information on how to best sort waste at home, and details on the municipal cart and recycling program, visit Recycling Resources.

This rollout of new Public Spaces bins brings the Township closer to its diversion commitment of 80% by 2020, and fosters a greener, more sustainable community for all to enjoy.

Encouraging Responsible Park Use

Receptacles with designated dog waste streams help keep our parks clean and enjoyable for all. As part of the Public Spaces Regulation Bylaw 2018 No. 5298, pet owners are reminded: 

Learn more about responsible use of public spaces