News / Halifax

Beautiful solution for flyer mess: Dartmouth woman cleans up her community mailbox

Metro Halifax spoke to Uylana Sparks about taking matters into her own hands regarding trash at several nearby community mailboxes in the Lake Loon area.

Ulyana Sparks cleaned up her community mailbox and even bought flowers and a bin for flyers.

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Ulyana Sparks cleaned up her community mailbox and even bought flowers and a bin for flyers.

For Ulyana Sparks, enough was enough.

After more than 10 years living in her Lake Loon neighbourhood, Sparks was tired of seeing what she describes as an eyesore of a mailbox.

Surrounded by unwanted flyers, coffee cups and other discarded trash, Sparks said the littering beside her neighbourhood mailbox has been a longstanding problem.

“We would drive by and it would bug me that it was always messy,” she said.

The mailbox is located near her home and her children’s bus stop, so Sparks regularly walked by and checked her mail. It used to serve as a constant reminder of the problem.

“You hardly get any real mail anymore,” she said. "If you look in your mailbox it’s all flyers that nobody wants.”

Sparks and her family spent 30 minutes every other week collecting garbage surrounding the nearby area, but it only continued to pile up.

From garbage bags to cardboard boxes, Sparks provided options for people to throw away their mail.

The trash seemed to disappear, but the problem still remained. The temporary bags and boxes only seemed to make the mailbox look worse.

One Saturday afternoon in mid-October, after dropping her kids off at karate, she spent a grand total of $2 at IKEA for a small, green bin that would act as a community-recycling bin.

Sparks even spent a little bit extra on fall mum flowers and a post to spruce up the area.  

“It wasn’t a huge expense, it was just to keep neighbours happy as well and not to make a big mess of where we live,” she said.

Every week, Sparks walks five minutes from her home to the mailbox to sort and empty the bin into her own recycling.

Sparks said the walk takes no effort and has become apart of her routine.

“It looks nice and it stays nice. It’s much easier to maintain now,” Spark explained.

When asked why she didn’t go to HRM or Canada Post for a solution, Sparks said she never made an effort to push them for a bin.

“After a while, you’re just like ‘You know what, this is easier to do myself’ instead of just complain,” she said.

With the bin nearby, people are starting to throw away their mail in the bin instead of on the ground.

Sparks said even her mailman has taken notice and thanked her for the solution.

“Hopefully, this will encourage people to take a look at where they live and hopefully they don’t create the problem in the first place,” she said.

“Don’t trash where you live.”

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