Friday, 16 September 2011

The Trash Project

As a new co-owner of a house, I've come to realize that condo living does have it's perks. One such being not having to deal with the sheer ridiculousness of the City of Toronto Solid Waste Management program. You would think something as basic as trash collection wouldn't cause anxiety or unease. It's a fairly basic game plan, put your garbage on the curb and someone comes and picks it up.

Apparently Toronto did not get the memo. As I previously only resided in condos where you throw everything down a chute and then peace out, this new curbside feature was a little different. I noticed we were provided with 3 bins of varying sizes and colours. Luckily because the city assumes everyone is incompetent, they are labeled, garbage, recycling, and green bin. I had no idea what green bin meant however and I'm still not sure I know what to put in it to be honest.

Our neighbour was kind enough to provide us with a photocopy of her waste collection calendar. (She takes this stuff extremely seriously) and literally as we were unpacking our stuff, she was in our face with the calendar. She INSISTED that we need to keep this and follow it religiously. That was the last time I saw the calendar. Not sure whatever happened to it, but I obviously felt that I could manage something as straight forward as putting your shit at the curb every week.

My husband travels during the week for work leaving me with this boy task. I did some research and got the basic game plan set. The first few weeks I just put out all three bins. My strategy was diversification. Each bin just had a bit of everything, that way ensuring that at least some trash and recycling and what is apparently referred to as "organic waste", would be out of my house. This process involves rolling a recycling container larger than myself down a long path and down 3 stairs to the curb as well as the two other slightly smaller bins. The first two weeks I hadn't quite grasped the skills and the giant one flew out of my hands and took off down the street and spewed out all over. Glass bottles were rolling around our neighbourhood for weeks. Sorry about that.

Each week at least one of the bins would be empty when I returned from work so I was clearly on the right track and I gave myself a little high five. Nice one girl. My neighbour was none too pleased with this approach and for the next month she personally rolled out the appropriate bin(s) each week that met with the collection calendar schedule and redistributed the contents! She also returned them to the side of my house each evening, because most weeks they would be thrown all over the road for several days until I got around to grabbing them. Furthermore she is like 80 years old so I look like one serious asshole.

One day a few weeks ago I came home to a newsletter that was an entire new calendar and notification that collection would be moving to a new day. I feared the worst with this because as it was, I was only achieving a 60% success rate with getting the right day and bins at the curb each week, if I managed to get them out at all. I imported this info into my blackberry and set up 30 alarms and reminders that the day has changed. September rolls around and Thursday is now going to be my lucky day. On Tuesday night however starting at 9pm I start to hear all of the rolling of these ridiculous bins down sidewalks out to the curbs. Is it back to Wednesday? WTF I give up.

Seriously, this is way too complicated. I'm a fairly intelligent human but I will never understand why the city needs to make this more complicated than negotiating a nuclear arms deal. It's trash. It gets trucked to a dump and piled up with a bunch of other trash on top of other trash. Too many rules, they don't even pick up each bin each week, I thought paper went in the recycling bin, but apparently "soiled paper" goes in this green bin. Like I have 10 free hours a day to adhere to this like my neighbour. From now on I'm going to drive over to the condo I used to live in, break in, and throw everything down the chute.

What goes in the Green Bin?


  • Fruits, vegetables
  • Meat, poultry, fish products
  • Pasta, bread, cereals, rice
  • Dairy products, eggs and shells
  • Coffee grounds/filters, tea bags
  • Cake, cookies, candy (who would throw this away??)
  • Diapers, sanitary products
  • Animal waste, bedding, cat litter
  • House plants, including soil
  • Paper – soiled (siiiiiick)
    • Food packaging, ice cream containers, popcorn, flour and sugar bags
    • Tissues, napkins, paper towels (not soiled with chemicals such as cleaning products)
Things that can go in your Green Bin



(food item goes in Green Bin, wrap goes in garbage)
  • Plastic or foil bags/wrap/trays
  • Outer packaging
  • Foam polystyrene meat trays and liners
  • Plastic food containers, glass jars, pop cans
  • Hot drink cups, lids, sleeves

General garbage

  • Dryer sheets, baby wipes, make-up pads, cotton tipped swabs, dental floss
  • Hair, pet fur, feathers (SERIOUSLY?), wax, wood pieces, cigarette butts, wine corks, vacuum bags/ contents, fireplace and BBQ ashes
Things that do not go in your Green Bin

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