New grey bins pose problems

A local councillor says the city could have done a better job implementing the new garbage collection program.

At the beginning of November, Torontonians were required to start using grey bins for their trash, but about 75,000 homeowners were left without the new containers and are using small tags instead.

A homeowner takes in her grey bin. These new garbage bins have posed some challenges for people.
A homeowner takes in her grey bin. These new garbage bins have posed some challenges for people.

The manufacturer had run out of medium bins because they were the most popular among homeowners, so pink tags were mailed to residents without grey bins to alleviate the problem.

“We left it up to a private contractor who said they could meet our needs,” says Ron Moeser, Scarborough East city councillor. “But when you’re relying on that, then you take them at their word.

“So obviously the reason right now is the contractor who’s doing it.”

According to the City of Toronto website, this new garbage collection system, Target 70, is meant to reduce the amount of waste the city produces while also diverting 70 per cent of solid waste from landfills to other resources by 2010.

Local residents seem to be of two-minds about the project.

“It’s a good idea, they just could have executed it a little bit better than what they did,” says Brandy, a local resident who did not offer her last name.

Christina Primrose, another local homeowner, says she isn’t pleased, especially with this plan adding another level of charges already being paid to the city. At the same time, because people can’t leave out the same number of bags, “they’re dumping them on the front lawn and leaving a lot behind. I’m not happy with them.”

Though their offices have been inundated with calls from residents requesting medium bins, Moeser says he thinks people still like the program.

“They’re trying to save as much, promote as much recycling as possible,” he says. “I think the goals are very valid.

“I don’t like charging people for a service that we haven’t charged before but the principles of what we’re trying to do are good ones – to meet the target of 70 per cent recycling [by 2010].”

A set of five yellow tags sent to homeowners are used for extra bags of garbage until they expire on Dec. 31. Those who need more can purchase them at Home Hardware stores.

Besides being charged for the service, Moeser says the grey bins raise another issue of where to keep them, especially with blue bins (recycling) and green bins (biodegradables) also being stored.

“The smaller the size the house is, the more of a challenge it is,” Moeser says.

Primrose agrees with the storage problem. She says there are so many different bins and they’re hard to keep track of.

“The house is too messy too because we have to try and hide them [in] different places.”

Moeser says although this has been one of the challenges, they’re trying to address it.

“We’ve implemented new measures as far as the planning, when you build new houses you have to take this into account. You still have to help the people that have townhouses and so forth too.”