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Bob Kronbauer: B.C.'s Garbage Gobblers were brilliant and we should bring them back

Long live the Garbage Gobblers

In the late 1950s, the B.C. Parks Branch came up with a quirky plan to curb the amount of garbage that was being left along our highways and in our parks, and there are still reminders of the effort in a few spots around the province.

Recruiting children to encourage their parents not to litter was the idea, and the mechanism by which this was achieved was a new design of waste receptacle called the Garbage Gobbler.

A cartoonish and cute character, hundreds of Garbage Gobblers would come to be manufactured and placed at locations where kids and their parents would be together.

Branded Garbage Gobbler bags were handed out to children, and they were instructed to "feed" the receptacles (which were effectively garbage cans with mouths) their garbage.

However, as you'll see in the second photo in the gallery above, there was a fatal flaw in the rear side of every Garbage Gobbler.

An exposed back allowed easy access for bears and other garbage-gobbling wildlife.

The design was phased out in the 1980s, making way for the more modern, critter-proof receptacles you'll see these days.

It's impossible to gauge the effectiveness of the effort to get kids to recruit their parents not to be litterbugs, but in 2015 the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure released what they call the "next edition" Garbage Gobblers - modern trash receptacles with cartoonish monster graphics on them.

A few of the classic Garbage Gobblers - now antiques - are still around. One featured in the video below is on the side Trans-Canada Highway outside the heritage property of Ashcroft Manor Ranch. The other one is a replica that's in my personal collection of oddball B.C. collectibles.

My opinion is that we should bring back this exact character but in a less bear-friendly design.

Long live the Garbage Gobblers!


@bcisawesome Garbage Gobbler! #bchistorywithbobk #roadtrip #nostalgia ♬ original sound - BC Is Awesome


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