11/19/2013 09:47 EST | Updated 01/25/2014 04:01 EST

Vancouver to tackle 'epidemic' of abandoned garbage

The City of Vancouver will be considering a pilot program to deal with an epidemic of trash and unwanted goods left in alleyways and outside thrift stores on Wednesday.

Coun.  Andrea Reimer says council and staff are examining the possibility of a “big item day” when people can dispose of large items like mattresses and couches without paying a recycling fee.

“It would let us assist people who don’t have the transportation that they need to get a mattress or a couch to a transfer station,” Reimer told CBC News.

A $15 dollar fee for recycling mattresses at depots imposed by Metro Vancouver in 2011 has resulted in more of them being abandoned on the street and in alleyways.

According to public records, the total number of abandoned garbage calls to the city has almost doubled in recent years, with 9,300 last year – up from 5,000 in 2010. 

Ivan Douglas runs the Society de St. Vincent thrift stores in Vancouver, and he says illegal dumping has gotten out of control and often he goes to work in the morning to find junk piled up at the entrance to the stores.

“It’s an epidemic, actually, in the city. It’s just horrendous. The people who do that have no regard for other people’s feelings. And that’s my message to them: smarten up,” Douglas says.

Coun. Reimer says a city-wide clean-up  day may be initiated in the spring of 2014.