The Return of the Garbage Gobbler to BC Highways

image1Do you remember the Garbage Gobbler? Created in the 1950s and placed across the province in B.C. Parks and at points along BC highways in order to “Keep Beautiful British Columbia, Clean and Beautiful,” Garbage Gobblers were a truly cool piece of transportation history. Sadly, Garbage Gobblers proved to be as popular with bears as they were with people and eventually they had to be replaced in favour of bear proof cans (which were not as artsy, but much more practical). Even though Garbage Gobblers disappeared from BC roadways, our love for them lives on in treasured family road trip photos and in retrospective discussions of days gone by. (Heck, the gobbler was so loved – he even has his own Facebook page!)

Well, he’s baaaaack. (And he’s hungry!)

We are thrilled to announce that the Garbage Gobbler has been re-imagined and re-introduced to a handful of rest areas across the province as part of our Rest Area Improvement Program.

A total of ten bear proof bins have been wrapped in our new gobbler design. We thought long and hard about what these new gobblers should look like. Should we give a nod to the historical retro look or break new ground? Should we build new bins for the gobblers or use our bear proof bins? In the end we decided to go with a modern look and to incorporate today’s environmental needs, such as keeping wildlife out of the bins and providing travellers with recycling options (two of the ten bins are blue gobblers, letting you know that those special gobblers are hungry for plastic and aluminum).


You probably already know that rest areas are an important part of our highway system (they help improve highway safety by reducing accidents due to driver fatigue). By bringing the Garbage Gobbler back to our rest areas, we hope you will remember that rest areas are more than a place to stop and recharge while travelling, they are also a great place to plan your adventures, enjoy beautiful British Columbia and have a bit of fun with your friends and family as you feed the gobbler.

So, take a break and feed the Gobbler! We think you’ll be glad you did. And don’t forget to tell us what you think – using the #garbagegobbler hashtag, or by connecting with us on Facebook, Twitter or in the comments below. If we receive enough positive feedback, more gobblers might find a home at a rest area near you!

Garbage Gobbler

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22 Responses to The Return of the Garbage Gobbler to BC Highways

  1. Sherry on May 31, 2019 at 9:28 am

    It would be fantastic to have a Garbage Gobbler in your yard..Would like to hav one..History item..

  2. Anonymous on August 24, 2018 at 6:55 pm

    I’m a grade 5 teacher. I love your garbage gobbler, and I’m hoping you could make a compost and critters as well as a recycling rabbit

    • tranbceditor on August 27, 2018 at 12:40 pm

      Hi Anonymous,

      Thanks for letting us know that you appreciate our garbage gobblers!

      I’ll forward your creative suggestions about “Compost Critters” and a “Recycling Rabbit” to our people who manage BC Rest Areas along our highways. They would need to consider the costs of manufacturing and installing any new “rest area animals” among their budget priorities for rest area and highway maintenance.

  3. John Coughlan on October 14, 2017 at 9:34 am

    Now if we could work on decent tp at the outhouses, I keep a spare roll in my emergency kit in a tobacco tin (waterproof).

  4. Lorrie Tuckey-Castle on January 29, 2017 at 7:54 am

    We have had our “litter bug” for three years now. I was working for Kokanee Creek Provincial park and there was one in our maintenance yard tucked away behind one of the buildings. When the park changed hands I asked if I could purchase it because of my husbands fond memories of it as a child. We need to bring it back to it’s original state but we use it as a recycling bin. I am from Ontario originally and just found out it is called a Garbage Gobbler. The best purchase ever for two bottles of Okanogan wine.

    • tranbceditor on January 30, 2017 at 9:45 am

      Hi Lorrie,

      Thanks for sharing with us and letting us know about your special treasure!

    • Duane Hanson on August 19, 2018 at 4:21 pm

      Wow! Thats a huge win! Good for you both!

  5. Adam Leavitt on January 24, 2017 at 7:42 pm

    This is very awesome ! Glad they’re coming back 🙂

    Hope more will make appearances ! Perhaps even in BC Parks and Forest Rec. Sites !

  6. Barbara Roden on November 22, 2016 at 7:55 pm

    There’s an original vintage Garbage Gobbler still on duty at Ashcroft Manor on Highway 1 west of the Ashcroft turnoff.

    • tranbceditor on November 23, 2016 at 9:56 am

      Hurray! Glad to hear it Barbara. Don’t forget to feed him. He’s always hungry…

  7. Alan Campbell on November 24, 2015 at 3:39 pm

    Wow this is great! I worked in BC Parks in the ’60s to 90’s and lamented the loss of the gobblers. My favorite was the top of Anarchist Hill out of Osoyoos. Well anyway, I think the return of the gobbler is one of the best ideas you have had in a long time. As well as this website. Please install more!

  8. ben on July 31, 2015 at 9:04 pm

    Any chance of rounding up a few of the stray originals and preserving them, as at Revelstoke (works yard on Hwy 23 just south of town)?

    • tranbceditor on August 4, 2015 at 10:22 am

      Hi Ben,
      There really aren’t that many left. The only other one I’m aware of is at the Vernon District Office. I’ll do some digging.

      • Brad on August 17, 2015 at 3:11 pm

        There is one at the McLeese Yard (Emcon Services) that is nicely restored

        • tranbceditor on August 17, 2015 at 3:14 pm

          Thanks for the head’s up Brad – wonder if we could get them to send us a pic?

          • Brad on August 17, 2015 at 4:23 pm

            Yes, I’ll get one this week, you can almost see it on street view from Hwy 97 but it’s looking into their yard, since that photo, it’s been turned to look out at the highway.

          • tranbceditor on August 18, 2015 at 2:52 pm

            Thanks Brad!

          • Brad on August 21, 2015 at 9:14 am

            I’ve got the photo, just need a email address to send it

          • tranbceditor on August 21, 2015 at 9:18 am

            Just sent you a message Brad – thanks again.

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