Pick up Your Trash Kingston!

Garbage in Kingston

Last weekend, Junior and family hiked around the Barriefield rock garden, through the village, and down and around Constantine Arena. Such a lovely (and at the risk of triggering a late blizzard) Spring day. Unfortunately one of the of the lesser remarked aspects of the end of hibernation is the blight revealed as the snow recedes. Amid the new buds forming and the slow transformation of browned grass to green, there before us lay the ubiquitous Tim Hortons cup.

If it were only the cups of course – rather everywhere we looked in the course of our walk it became immediately apparent that a tremendous amount of trash is swirled and whirled and caught up in the brambles and branches during the winter months. Among the other items I discovered were: several plastic drink bottles, one large plastic coolant container, chocolate bar and snack wrappers, small blocks of Styrofoam, and so on. I ended up filling only a small plastic bag – but could easily have filled several large garbage bags worth.

Which leads me really to the point of this post: namely, when exactly did Kingstonians abandon personal responsibility? Do you really want Kingston to look like this? How hard is it to place your garbage into a garbage can – or better yet take it home with you? Of course part of the answer to that question is – which garbage can? I can’t think of even one public garbage can in the entire area of Barriefield.

Perhaps residents don’t think it is their problem to deal with? I note that we seem very happy to have various levels of government collect our trash and recyclables – mostly because participation in these efforts takes very little personal effort, as the collection of our disposables is conducted at arms length financed by taxes – requiring very little in the way of active personal participation. Perhaps it is too much to ask people not to litter, especially when we have become accustomed to having ‘the government’ take care of it. However, I would like to think Kingstonians care about their city and the image it projects to residents and visitors, so I challenge you to clean up after yourselves!

Get out of your cars, go for a walk and take a bag along with you. I guarantee you will find no shortage of garbage which needs cleaning.

Harvey Kirkpatrick

Harvey Kirkpatrick is Kingstonist's Co-Founder. His features curiously explore urban planning, what if scenarios, the local food scene and notable Kingstonians. Loves playing tourist and listening to rap music. Learn more about Harvey...

6 thoughts on “Pick up Your Trash Kingston!

  • At least part of the problem is that most of the public garbage cans disappear over the winter. I guess the city is saving money? But as a year-round dog-walker, it is an irritant.

    But yeah, Kingston does seem to have its share of old-fashioned litterbugs. I thought littering went out in the 80s!

  • Its a sure sign of spring when trash lined streets make their appearance. With the exception of my university days, I have sepnt at least one saturday walking in the spring with a garbage bag in hand (It started as someting my parents forced us to do growing up in the country and having ditches which were used as drive by trash cans by many many drivers, and just turned into something I did, because we live in a beautiful city, and I like to try and help a little to keep it that way)

    Sadly the same can be said for many dog owners. Now that the snow is melted the lawn to our apartment seems filled with Dog Doo. I think people kind of take an if I cant see it its not there approach in the winter months, maybe they assume that the snow it falls into or gets covered up by will magiaclly make the mess disappear, but it doesn’t.

    Its sad that so many people take a seasonnal approach to picking up after themselves.

  • Unfortunately this is not solely a Kingston problem. I was just in Ottawa and it’s the same story there – snow melts and our winter littering rears its ugly head. The difference in Ottawa is that there are garbage cans around (they just ignore them apparently). The lack of garbage cans and recycling bins around Kingston has been a huge pet peeve of mine for a while now (https://www.kingstonist.com/2008/05/03/kingston-recycles/). With all the great new stuff Kingston is getting these days (the KRC, the renovated Grand, the new performing arts centre on the water [more on that later]) and other tourist attractions, it would be really nice to see more garbage cans and recycling bins around town. In the meantime, please do your part, even if it just means cleaning your own front lawn.

  • @ Danielle re garbage cans: I absolutely agree – more garbage cans please – and here’s the thing – the city could with relative ease and at relatively low cost compared to some of the other spending they conduct, plant many dozens more garbage bins around the city. I recognise that on the east side, the city doesn’t actually own any of the land around Ft Henry and Barriefield, but I rather suspect with just a little effort something could be worked out with DND.

    @ Rhiannon re picking up other peoples trash: it is a shame that folks like yourself have to clean up because of sheer carelessness of others. I do this at least once a spring, mostly because I have small children who like to wander off the beaten path, and I have no interest in them picking up batteries and used condoms (two items found discarded in the barriefield rock garden) and so on.

    Anyway, the point of my post was hopefully to gently remind a few readers about the fact that we have a responsibility to take care of our city – even when others won’t.

    cheers, junior

  • Heh. I reckon that 90% of all this is not the result of the lack of trash cans at all.

    In my neighborhood, it’s almost all due to windy recycling days.

    People put their bins out overnight and, by morning, anything that was loose is gone in the wind.

    Look at the mix of trash you see, and tell me that’s wrong. Notice the pattern? It’s either lots of plastic and cans, or lots of paper.

  • @RicoJ I agree that the contents of recycling bins have ended up on my lawn more often than I desire, but your neighborhood must be a statistical outlier if blue/grey box contents account for 90% of your urban tumbleweeds. Not to bash any one brand in particular, but fast food containers are by far the biggest culprits. Otherwise, I think that’s great advice..putting bins/trash out in the AM.

Leave a Reply

You cannot copy content from this page, please share the link instead!