Thursday, February 19, 2009

3 Bags or Else!!

Random local rant: Automated Garbage removal will be starting later this year. According to our local TV news, this is being done because 'It's what the people want'. What people? So far I have not found a single person in my friends and family who heard this was happening, let alone had the chance to voice their support or concerns.

To backtrack, over the years, the City had toyed with the idea of enforcing a 2 or 3 bag limit for weekly household garbage pickup. The idea was always pushed down because citizens' concerns were not met, such as differing family sizes (IE - why should a family of 5 have to put out the same amount of bags as a single person). But now it appears the City found a way around the issue. They have already puchased the new bins we will all HAVE to use. The bins fit 2-3 bags and will be picked up by an automated truck that has a mechanical arm to pick up the bin and dump it. There are rules to go along with this such as the bins have to be put on the street, handles facing towards the home, and there must be at least one metre clearance on either side of each bin. I went to the City website to find information on what was reported on the news and I will post the link later (but it does not say anywhere that I could find when this will start, it just talks about the Pilot project). The local news says the bins and trucks are purchased and will start by this Fall.

Anyway here are my concerns - While I think reducing waste is always a good idea, I don't think other problems have been addressed. The photo accompanying a leaflet on the City site shows a typical newer neighbourhood with large lots and no cars to be seen. But what about older areas of town or townhouses? They have to park on the street but will have to move their cars every single week on garbage day - move them where??? No driveways, garages, and often no back alley parking. Where are people in areas such as the Flats going to park their cars? My bf lived down there until last year and the cars were bumper to bumper on his street because the lots are small. He did not have a garage large enough to fit his vehicle, no driveway, and absolutely impossible to put his bin a metre away from the next door neighbour's car (also no driveway or garage) without moving his truck somewhere else, perhaps around the block (but then possibly blocking someone else's bin). Where these issues addressed? It is clearly stated on the website that they will not pick up your bin if it is not in the right place. So what happens if you put your bin out before you go to work, but then your neighbour comes home and parks to close, so the truck skips you? Is that fair?

I am all for waste reduction, but there also has to be a practical means employed to do so. If my boyfriend still lived in that area, he has no idea what he would have done with his truck, or what his neighbours would have done with their cars, once a week. Even the few times a year that steet cleaning is done, it's been a huge problem down there! So now it's going to happen weekly??

Was this a way to force people to do 2-3 bags with no further thought put into the logistics? And I still fail to see why I should have the same amount of garbage with a family of 5 as my single neighbour does... My whole basement is filled with recyclable items as it is because the bins to take them to are always full and we have not had another chance to take the piles of cardboard, glass, newspaper, and drink containers. We try hard to do our part, only to be thwarted again and again by the City. I can see things getting really messy around here soon.

I also should note that since moving back here in 2004, we have had the garbage collection rules changed 3 times so this will be change #4 in less than 5 years. Fun stuff!

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These are my views and opinions. If you don't agree or think I am sadly misguided, that is your view. Feel free to share your thoughts but I also reserve my right to moderate content (IE foul language, excessive flaming, etc).

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