toronto garbage bins

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.

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."

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.

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):

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?):

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.

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.

Lead photo by

Lauren O'Neil


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