The Return of the Garbage Gobbler to BC Highways

Do 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.

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!

Did you find this article interesting? You might also enjoy these related links:

BC Road Trip Time Machine

A BC Highways Perspective of the Hope Slide

BC Highway History Alert! More Snapshots in Time Revealed

Share this page:SharingFacebookTwitterLinkedInCopy Text

Page 1 of 30 comments on “The Return of the Garbage Gobbler to BC Highways”

Leave a Comment

  1. Can you please post a picture of a map of the original locations of the garbage gobblers? I’d like to know where they all were placed/located before they were removed. Thank you.

    • Hi Desiree – thanks for connecting with us here. Unfortunately, we have never found a map of their original locations. The Department of Highways (our name at the time) worked with the Department of Recreation and Conservation (now BC Parks) to manage the gobblers. You might want to reach out to BC Parks or the Provincial Archives to see if they are able to locate a map (if one was produced). There were over 200 produced and they were more than likely installed at rest areas, pullover/viewpoints across the province, if this is helpful. Our latest BC Road Trip Time Machine video (Highway 97A,B north of Vernon) shows a gobbler at a pullover near Mara Lake. Here’s a link to that:

  2. I loved these guys/gals! I’m sad that there aren’t any in my area, but I’ll keep a eye open for them now that I know they exist.

    Just please don’t bring bask the signs that said, “Deposit litter bags.” My brother used to tease me mercilessly that they actually said “Deposit little boys” when we were on road trips. There’s plenty of other things out there for big brothers to tease about without providing them with ammunition and a captive audience. 😉

    • 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. 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.

  4. 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!