Toronto finally acknowledges that its garbage bins are absolute trash
While we've yet to have a repeat of that one smelly summer that garbage absolutely overtook the city of Toronto due to a workers' strike, the city is still far from up to snuff when it comes to trash disposal according to many, including Mayor John Tory.
City Council has been talking for some time about the horrible state of T.O. public waste collection bins, which are managed by Astral Out-of-Home and which seem to be perpetually vandalized, otherwise broken, disgustingly dirty and/or under-serviced and overflowing with refuse.
“In terms of these Astral bins, it’s not going well,” says Deputy Mayor Denzil Minnan-Wong on Toronto’s crappy street garbage bins. Seriously, these things suck. pic.twitter.com/cHsoUogP62— Matt Elliott (@GraphicMatt) May 11, 2022
There is now a motion to better investigate the state of Toronto's 10,340 bins, at least 923 of which are out of service or completely gone.
"There is concern about the state of our public waste bins lining our sidewalks across the city, with reports of visible damage to bins that are in disrepair," Ward 8 Eglinton-Lawrence Councillor Mike Colle writes in the document.
"As a daily walker and jogger, I often notice vandalized public waste bins on sidewalks that are either damaged or defaced, with the bin doors swinging open or the frames vandalized with graffiti."
On the broken garbage bin item, Mayor John Tory moves to get Astral to expedite the installation of replacement bins, and to make sure bins are emptied in a timely manner. Tory agrees that the general state of the trash bins has deteriorated lately, and it reflects badly on city. pic.twitter.com/S1CRDk5Ny3— Matt Elliott (@GraphicMatt) May 11, 2022
Acknowledging the issue and adding to the motion, Tory is also going to see to it that replacement bins are installed faster in the case of damage, and also that the bins are better maintained in general —namely, emptied more frequently.
It's a problem that apparently hits home for the mayor, as he admitted during a meeting on the topic that he doesn't want to get his hands close to the bins in their current state, and so sometimes avoids using them altogether and takes his rubbish home instead.
You can tell who lives in Toronto vs a tourist by how adept they are at throwing garbage into these crappy bins without touching the flap.— zjc (@zjanelle) May 31, 2022
That point is something any Torontonian in the downtown core can relate to, though some feel that in the grand scheme of things, it's really not that big of a deal (I mean, true):
Only in Toronto would people complain about garbage bins lol— Wes Krentz (He/Him)🌈🏳️🌈 (@weskrentz) May 31, 2022
But others are already gladly coming up with solutions, many of which appear to be flapless receptacles that people don't have to risk touching if the step-on opener isn't working (which is often... but what about raccoons?):
As a homeowner in the city of Toronto it disgusts me to see how my tax dollars are being completely wasted. I detest garbage but what is disgusting is how the city is doing nothing to fix and replace these bins with ones with no flaps!!!— Nancy (@NancyDiCintio) June 1, 2022
While the topic is only just being formally addressed by the municipality, it's something that there have been hundreds of complaints about, and it's apparent that though it is city staff's job to empty the bins, Astral is not holding up its end of the deal to keep the bins in clean and working order.
Per the Star, the company is tasked with inspecting and washing the bins once or twice a week, depending on where they're located, and fix any broken ones within two days.
The push is on by council to address #Toronto's public multi-stream waste bins. Apparently there are around 500 open complaints right now.— Nick Westoll (@NWestoll) May 12, 2022
A small sampling of what I found today: Wide-open/loose doors, containers on the sidewalk, overflowing garbage, and rundown bins. #TOpoli pic.twitter.com/4pPb3ydUj5
Astral's 20-year contract for the fixtures runs until 2027, which means that we will be dealing with shoddy bins until at least then.
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