Calgary, AB,

Braille plaques help residents with vision loss with their garbage and recycling

The City of Calgary is providing plaques for those with vision loss to help them identify and differentiate between their different carts.

Waste & Recycling Services and Community & Neighbourhood Services worked jointly on this initiative to assist those with limited or no vision, after citizens experienced difficulties differentiating between their recycling and waste carts.

“This is one way The City is working to provide equal access to our programs and services,” says Waste & Recycling Services program coordinator Philippa Wagner. “There are many vision problems to accommodate for and our new plaques aim to meet all those needs.”

The plaques contain a large raised letter – a G for garbage and R for recycling – in high contrast to help those with limited vision. There are also raised dots included for those who read Braille. They can be installed on the lid of the carts to make it easier to distinguish between the two. There will be no charge for those who need the plaques installed on their carts.

Kelly Nadeau is one of the first Calgarians to receive these plaques on his carts. As a legally blind person, Nadeau has learned to adjust to his vision loss by relying on his memory and technology to help him.

“People don’t think about the small details that affect their lives. For me and my vision loss, I have to adapt,” says Nadeau. “Before I received my plaques, I would have to remember what the shape and lids of each of my carts looked like. Now I can use the raised letter to check my garbage and recycling. It may seem like a small change, but it’s all about giving people options to maintain their independence. It’s great that The City of Calgary is working towards accessibility.”

“We want to help residents get the right material into the right cart – recycling into blue and garbage into the black. It’s about helping Calgarians with vision loss to be able to do one more task at home that they may not have been able to before,” says Wagner. 

Citizens who would benefit from these plaques are encouraged to contact 311 to make a request.