Many Vancouver grocers promote sustainable living, but a CTV News investigation has revealed not all of them practice what they preach.

The IGA Marketplace location on 41st Avenue and Dunbar Street hangs a large banner on the side of the building that reads “Remember to take it easy on the Earth.”

But just metres away, CTV News found numerous recyclable materials dumped into trash bins, including cardboard, plastic crates, deli packaging and beverage containers.

The problem was first spotted by a concerned citizen who took it upon himself to monitor whether it was a one-time mistake.

“It is an ongoing problem,” said Sim, who declined to give his last name. “There’s lots and lots of recyclables going into there literally every day.”

Sim said he estimates that tonnes of recyclable material is trashed every year at the 41st Avenue location alone.

“All of these materials are recycled for a good reason, and it’s a concern to me just because I’m like many people, I care about the environment.”

IGA declined to speak on camera, but said it expects staff to recycle and has signs posted within the store instructing them to do so.

It said the company that collects the store’s waste can fine them if they mix garbage with recycling, and they have yet to be fined.

Whole Foods team leader Tom Michaelides said his store on 4th Avenue and Vine Street takes its responsibility to recycle seriously.

In the back corner of the store, there are separate bins for composting, garbage, cardboard and other recyclables. Employees have access to tote bags to carry compostable food waste across the store discreetly.

“All Whole Foods stores throughout the company do this. We do this seven days a week, it gets hauled away.” Michaelides said.

“It’s environmentally the right thing to do,” he added. “We have islands of plastic out in the ocean, landfills are filling to the point of insanity. Something’s got to be done.”

Across the street, the Safeway bins showed no signs of mixing recyclables with garbage.

With a report from CTV British Columbia’s Jon Woodward