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Musing on wet garbarge in an urban environment
by Stephen Weir

A relative from the Ottawa Valley wrote to ask what I thought about Toronto's garbage recycling programme. Her community is getting the green bin ( wet garbage i.e. food bits, egg shells and used diapers). Here is my response:
I am really very supportive of the green bin (wet), blue bin (paper/glass) and grey bin (dry trash). No one else in the family is, so part of my routine is to go the garbage and seperate the garbage. My wife will use the green bin, except when I am not looking.

There are big problems with the programme at least for us:

* Rodents and racoons. The green bin was suppose to be animal proof. Took about a month before the racoons learned to open the bins. We now bungy chord the bins. Others don't. The racoons crack open the bins by knocking them over (or trying to chew through the bungies) and then have a noisy banquets. If the mess isn't cleaned up immediately the rats move in. Our neighbours are constantly having their green bins hit and as a result every so often we have rat problems. They have gotten into the backyard - we can track their tail tracks in the snow.
* Once you get them visiting your backyard they start feeding on the most unlikest things - they love the grease on the side of the BBQ.
* I have put out rat poison when we see them (they aren't shy and they are really big) and then pray that die in someone elses backyard because the city won't let you put dead rats in the wet bins. I have buried a couple in the backyard. Grass grows greenest over the dead rats. Never had a dead racoon - not sure where they go to die.
* Our neighbours now bungy too, but, on garbage morning the city crews won't remove bungies -- you have to leave bins bungy free. Most neighbours put their wet / green bins out the night before - so the vermin have learned to dine on Wednesday nights. We keep our green bin at the back of the house all bungied up until 7am garbage day (and run out half-dressed if the truck comes early). In summer we tend to double bag our wet garbage and freeze it because it can really stink sitting out on the street on garbage day.
*Some weeks the truck forgets to pick up the green bins. And on other days not all the wet trash makes it into the truck. Finding where the garbage men have left the emptied pail is also fun. Y ou have to grab your empty garbage bins as quick as possible before the dog walkers leave you presents that you have to look after for 2-weeks. Oh yeah and then there are the midnight garbage pickers looking for empty wine bottles (talk about a racket).
* Fourth problem. The garbage bins are too big to get in our backyard - our access is smaller than the width of the bins. And, without a garage we have to drag the bins up and down 20 steps. Okay now, but, when I get older it is going to be a struggle.

And now you know way more than you wanted to know about how I feel about downtown toronto garbage.


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