OpenStreetMap

Recycling Containers

Posted by Ogmios on 26 February 2017 in English (English)

The German OpenStreetMap-Blog Wochennotiz № 343 mentioned an article in the German OSM-Forum about glass recycling containers. It criticises the use of the more general recycling:glass=yes instead of recycling:glass_bottles=yes.

While checking the tagging of containers in my region I found plenty other errors. Many containers in Germany have names describing their purpose and other problems.

Names instead of proper tags

In many cases recycling containers aren't tagged properly (e.g. recycling:glass_bottles=yes or recycling:paper=yes tags are missing) but with names describing their purpose. Very often they also have a name tag with an address or description of their location.

While names containing a description of their purpose are easily translated into proper tags, others are not. With names containing a description of their objects' location it is difficult to decide if it is a reference given by their operator (which should be tagged as reference), a helpful description (which should be tagged as a description) or redundant description of their location.

One can find recycling containers having a name tag using an Overpass Query:

node({{bbox}})
  [name]
  [amenity=recycling]
  [recycling_type!~centre];
out meta;

Excessive use of recycling:*=no

Some recycling containers have plenty recycling:*=no tags. According to the Wiki anything not having an recycling:*=yes is implicitly recycling:*=no. In some rare cases the explicit use of recycling:*=no might be helpful but in most cases it seems excessive and unnessesary.

Overpass Query:

node({{bbox}})
  [amenity=recycling]
  [~"^recycling:"~"no"];

out meta;

Incomplete Tagging

Many recycling stations are insufficiantly tagged, missing recycling:* or recycling_type=[container|centre] tags.

In many cases one can assess whether an object describes a container, recycling centre or landfill from satellite imagery. Recycling centres can also be recognized by their name. In some cases containers can also be recognized via satellite imagery (e.g paper containers in Goslar are alway moss green and in Koblenz they are blue).

Recycling stations without recycling:*=yes tags can also be found with an Overpass Query:

node({{bbox}})
  [amenity=recycling]
  [recycling_type!~centre];

(
  node._[amenity=recycling] -
  node._[~"^recycling:"~"."]
);

out meta;

Usage period (opening_hours)

To avoid noise pollution recycling containers have a defined usage period which is usually regionally uniform and can be expressed with opening_hours tags. Unfortunately it is not wiedely used.

Overpass Query:

node({{bbox}})
  [amenity=recycling];

(
  node._[amenity=recycling] -
  node._["opening_hours"]
);

out meta;

Contradictory Tagging

Beside the forementioned errors there is the full range of common errors with contradicting tags e.g. benches (amenity=bench) having recycling:* tags. Some can be found with the following Overpass Query:

node({{bbox}})
  [~"^recycling:"~"."];

(
  node._ -
  node._[amenity=recycling]
);

out meta;

Limitations

coloured glass

In Germany there are seperated containers for brown, green or white glass. Some containers have three slots for each type of glass. In that case there is imho no need for distinction. As well as when there is a container for each type of glass in one place.

In rare cases there is only one container for one specific type of glass. In that case I suggest to make a distriction. Since there are several tags in use I prefer recycling:glass_bottles=[yes|white|green|brown] where yes is default for including all types of glass.

Landfills

According to the Wiki landfills are tagged as areas with landuse=landfill. It is not defined how to tag the purpose.

I reccommend to tag it as beforementioned and add a node tagged with the amenity=recycling scheme. This would be helpful for smaller landfills (especially for those without supervision, like green waste disposals in small towns). In that case it would be helpful to add another recycling_type like dump or landfill. Of course this should be discussed with the tagging mailinglist first.

Summary

Many recycling stations are a mess. In most cases it could easily be fixed. In less obvious cases one should check the concerned object on-site before making any changes.

In regard of the names I have to stress that names are an individual property and should not be a class-descriptor. I recommend consulting the Wiki.

Comment from gileri on 26 February 2017 at 20:29

Nice ressource for fixing the most common mistakes on recycling objects !

FYI, you can simplify those requests, for example the opening_hours one to :

node({{bbox}})
  [amenity=recycling]
  [!"opening_hours"];
out meta;
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Comment from gileri on 26 February 2017 at 20:33

Also, I think it would be a good idea to add those requests to the wiki, as it is more searchable than the user diaries, e.g. PT Quality Asurrance :

http://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Public_transport/Quality_Assurance

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Comment from Ogmios on 27 February 2017 at 09:34

@gileri: thanks for the hint. I created a QA Page, maybe you want to help improve it.

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