Wouldn’t it be nice to put up a blue bin decorated to look like a certain blue monster beside this? Photo: Susie Liu

Garneau is known for its cute plastic garbage bins pinned around the school. In the galleria, we are encouraged by one-eyed green monsters and transparent digestive tracts to put trash in its place. They have done their job well; these days the occasional plastic yogurt sleeve on the ground can be traced back to only the laziest individuals.

However, as the only places to put our waste in, garbage bins are often filled with recyclable items. Plastic water bottles, crumpled chemistry tests, and empty soda cans find their way into garbage bins with banana peels, saran wrap, and old shoes (I’ve seen it). It doesn’t take an environmentalist to say it’s a shame that instead of being processed into recycled goods, our recyclables are ending up in a landfill with all our other trash.

Fortunately, TDSB policies dealing with handy work like simply pinning recycling bins to the wall changed since five years ago. No longer do we have to hire contractors to do the gargantuan task of drilling four holes in cement and screwing a plastic bin to the wall – we can save most of the $500 it would have cost by letting our trained custodian staff do the job.

So why don’t we have recycling bins?

It’s not because our caretakers don’t want to; it’s because there are no bins to install. When the existing garbage bins were installed, space was left beside them for their twin bins, which former head caretaker Dave Drysdale says were promised to be supplied by the TDSB’s recycling initiative headed by Mieke Foster. Like all other schools, we didn’t get any bins and received no explanation. More recent reports from the school administration indicate that the installation of bins may be deemed a hazard by the fire department. And yet, garbage bins line the halls, and  our recyclables continue to end up in the only bins that are available.

Recycling bins will soon be added into the cafeteria, as well as in the photocopying rooms. These are great improvements. But recycling bins should be in the halls, too. Not so that students don’t have to walk a little further to a room with a recycling bin, but so that no matter where you go in Garneau, our community’s commitment to recycling is clearly visible. It is frustrating to imagine the only thing stopping Garneau from having a recycling program at all is the lack of a couple of bins.