Bins waste cash

Mayor David Miller has his hand in your pocket once again.

Effective the first week of November, all Toronto residents must use a compulsory grey bin to dispose of their trash every other week. Miller and his council have paraded the new initiative as a way to divert 70 per cent of Toronto’s garbage from reaching landfills by 2010.

In reality this is actually the cash-grab of the century. What the mayor won’t want to blab on about is the fact that this new fee-based system, that actually began here in east Scarborough back in the summer, is going to net the city an extra $54 million a year.

It’s foolish to implement such a strict system when 15 per cent of Torontonians still don’t have their bins, and may not receive them until Jan. 31. In the meantime, these people are going to be given a supply of pink tags to tie around their garbage, but what about those who haven’t received the tags? And what if they run out?

The bins (75,000 households across the city are currently without one, by the way), come in small, medium, large, and extra-large sizes. Those fortunate enough to require the small bins that hold the capacity of about one bag, will receive a $10 refund per year. However medium bins cost $39, large are $133, and extra-large users pay a whopping $190 annually.

In this situation large families will suffer the highest annual garbage collection user fee, and they are often the ones required to be the thriftiest. What happens when mom isn’t home to monitor how well the kids are recycling and the garbage piles up?
Houses will be receiving five yellow tags for additional garbage that won’t fit in the bins. To buy these tags is going to cost $15.50 per five-pack. Everyone can just say goodbye to parties, and Christmas for that matter, because no one will be able to afford the waste.

Another thing not being considered is the amount of illegal dumping that will result. Soon we will begin to notice garbage bags appearing in bus stops, parking lots, and hopefully on Miller’s front lawn.

What if these bins are stolen? Perhaps someone made the mistake of ordering a small and would like to trade in for an extra-large. Or what if the bins break and need to be replaced? Who pays then? Obviously the homeowner does, and the replacement costs range from $50-$65.

Mayor Miller and his council want this new bin program to promote environmental protection and waste reduction, but it’s sucking more money out of people’s pockets than necessary, considering we’ve already been paying for garbage collection through taxes this whole time.

About this article

Posted: Nov 13 2008 9:20 pm
Filed under: Opinion

1 Comment on "Bins waste cash"

  1. You are right that this scheme is especially harsh on large households.

    In fact households like mine will pay both ways. Our nine member household currently pays over $600 per year for garbage collection, based on our proportionate share in the city’s total garbage collection costs.

    Under the new scheme, the City will keep our $600, then charge us almost $200 extra for a bin which is supposed to hold 4.5 bags, down from the current six, reducing our total maximum bi-weekly garbage entitlement to a meager half a bag per person. The $209 per household tax rebate which supposedly takes garbage off property taxes is based on average cost so it only provides fairness for average size households.

    Large households that already pay much higher taxes for the extra services they require should in fairness be provided with extra garbage stickers. Alternatively, the plan should start by rebating the true amount each household is currently paying for garbage services. Either way, half a bag maximum every two weeks is unreasonable and discriminatory.

    Imagine if the City took this approach to all services. The City would rebate the average amount of taxes to each household, and then charge separately for all services. The taxes of larger households, not all of whom are wealthy, would be expropriated to benefit smaller households. I would call it Communism, but that would be an insult to those ernest folk who merely wish to gouge the rich!

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