Last week a council committee of the City of Toronto decided to experiment with public trash bins attached to lighted billboard-type advertising that’s the size of a bus shelter.
The scheme is highly controversial but a three-month pilot project was given the green light by members of the policy and finance committee.
If council approves it this month, residents will have a chance to try out the Toronto design this fall.
One style, with advertising, features two lit panels about 7 feet high (230 cm) and six feet wide (180 cm) with garbage and recycling bins inserted at either end. About 130 of these will be scattered across Toronto.
Another 44 smaller bins (five feet or 150 cm high), without advertising, will also be used across the city.
The large-scale design was presented by Eucan (Urban Equipment of Canada, Inc.).
Eglinton-Lawrence Councilor Howard Moscoe complained that "This is not a [garbage] bin program, this is a billboard program." He was concerned as to whether people would take the time to walk around each side of the panels to deposit garbage and recycling in the specified containers.
Spokesmen for business improvement associations across the city were concerned about the idea, fearing the large advertising panels would block street views and sight lines.
But Eucan chief executive officer Rolando Garcia said his company’s new bins have more capacity and more options for different types of garbage (gum, cigarettes) and recycling (dry and organic) than the 4,000 metallic bins currently on the street. He also noted the city will share in revenue from the advertising on the trash bins.
The ad size fits with international standards for billboard-type advertising, in theory making it easier for Eucan (and the city) to earn advertising revenue. Eucan bought out OMG Media, whose contract to supply the city with garbage and recycling bins — with advertising on the side — runs until 2009. The city, unhappy with the design of the OMG bins, asked the new owner to make improvements. In response, Eucan proposed an extension of the contract to 2015. It now hopes a successful pilot project will convince the city to accept the new design. If successful, Eucan hopes to provide the city with 1,500 of the large-scale bins and 1,500 of the smaller ones. The existing metallic silver bins would be stripped of advertising.