Photo by Joe Rivano Barros.

After a study last spring showed that 65 percent of garbage discarded at Dolores Park could have been recycled or composted, the Recreation and Parks department initiated a new approach to sort waste produced at the park to make sure less of it went to landfills. The eco pop-up, a series of large containers manned by Recology staff on weekends and holidays who help parkgoers sort trash, diverted 68 percent of waste from the park away from landfills this summer, exceeding expectations.

The pilot program was open from noon to 8 p.m. on high-volume days from June to October of 2015. Rec & Park has found that visitors can generate some 7,000 gallons of trash on busy days, and Recology staff helped people leaving the park sort that waste into the appropriate bins to ensure proper disposal. Though glass is banned from all city parks, some of the most widely collected items were glass bottles and plastic containers.

Disposal through the eco pop-up depends on park users taking their garbage with them when they leave the park and dropping it off at the pop-up. To that end, the department launched an educational campaign to encourage visitors not to litter. Rec & Park spokesperson Joey Kahn said the pop-up program and educational campaign have helped reduce the amount of trash in the park.

“We hope Dolores lovers continue to respect the new park by cleaning up after themselves,” Kahn wrote.

The southern half of the park reopens with a glow-in-the-dark party this Wednesday, and the eco pop-up will return this spring.

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