Does Peel’s new waste program have your head filled with garbage?

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Sabrina Almeida

Mississauga, January 8 (CINEWS): At the start of 2016 “garbage” is on most of our minds, at least in Peel region. After exchanging the usual New Year pleasantries, most conversations quickly shift to the new bins and waste collection program. Many Peel residents received a “huge” surprise when their new garbage, recycle and green bins were dropped off at the end of last year. Even though some, including me, did their due diligence in taking a look at bin sizes before making their selection, the reality of how much place they would occupy didn’t sink in till you actually had them. But it seems like that’s only the beginning of our garbage woes.

Not garage-friendly

I am thankful that we didn’t procrastinate on our garage cleaning plans. But judging from past behaviour, it won’t be long before the garage is back to overflow levels. And then how will we get to our humongous waste disposal bins? Mind you I have a 2-car garage and my bins are medium-sized.
My resolution to park at least one vehicle in its rightful place met an early demise. Between the snow thrower and shoveling equipment, lawn mower and gardening implements, seasonal car tires and a single shelving unit that houses handy tools, there is little place for a car (let alone two) and the new bins. Should I decide to stick to my plans, the waste bins will have to be parked outside. Ugh! The poor neighbours.
Those with smaller garages are even more stressed than me. Sure we were warned about the bins occupying space but you don’t feel the pain till you actually have them.
Then there are those who have converted their garages into workshops, recreational areas or man caves. Certainly no place for waste bins there, eh?

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Will it achieve its goals?

As with any change, the new schedule will take some getting used to. Even though I have it marked on my calendar, come collection day I can’t shake off the nagging doubt that I’ve put the wrong bin out. After all the consequences are pretty damming—four weeks of garbage or recycle to deal with.
While I am determined to conquer this new waste collection schedule, there are some who might never actually get the hang of it. Ignorance and apathy, who knows why? There are quite a few who still don’t separate their waste, so the collection schedule hardly matters. In fact one family continued to take their garbage to an apartment complex dumpster long after they had moved out rather than put it out on the curb, I’m curious to see what they will do now. If the region intended to cure such individuals of their malaise the plan is a good one. At least conceptually, how effective it will be remains to be seen. Short of examining what is really going into those bins and imposing steep fines for wrongdoings there is little that will make them change their ways. One gentleman told me the green bin will go exactly where it belongs… in the garbage!!!

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Driving woes and replacement costs

Navigating the waste bins while pulling out of the driveway on waste collection day required some fine driving skills, snow and ice added to the challenge. But the real kudos should go out to those with shared driveways for it means steering clear of your own bins as well as your neighbours. In many cases it meant having to get out of your car and move the bins, then park your vehicle on the curb and put the bins back on the driveway for collection. Coming back home involved the same exercise.
Also, it would take little for the huge bins to tip over on to the street on windy days, adding to drivers’ nightmares. If you’ve encountered flying garbage cans before, and most of us have, then you understand the worry. Furthermore, considering the narrow streets in so many Peel neighbourhoods (especially new developments) it might actually involving having to get of your car and move them to the aside or bumping them out of the way. No prizes for guessing what many would do. The result–carts ending up in the wrong place or damaged. That’s going to cost the region.

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Being a recycling enthusiast, I support the program. As for the bin sizes, I believe many of us opted for a size too large merely to provide a sense of security. My husband took one look at our bins and resolved to scale down in April when we will be given an opportunity to change sizes if required. I will reserve my judgement till we have proper sense of what we really need.
Driving around after first collection day I realized that those that made the effort to get it right were rewarded with empty bins. Those that didn’t have another chance next week. Some confused ones put out all bins, a smarter move than having the wrong one out. A few still put out the old ones and they are not going to be happy with the consequence.
Eventually we will all get with the program… I hope! I’ll bet Peel has invested a lot of our tax dollars in it.

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