Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Your Toronto Tax Dollars at Work

I won't lie to you: it takes a lot to get me riled up.

You can puke in my car and I'll probably laugh it off. If you want to drunkenly piss off my front porch, chances are I'll be willing to look the other way. Hell, you can even wear your collar popped and spill your beer all over me at a club with a $20 cover while the DJ spins a dance remix of My Heart Will Go On and I'll try to let it go. But when I spend 45 minutes sorting through my recycling and come home to find this on my driveway, that's where I draw the line.

I think this little letter I passed on to the City of Toronto pretty well explains my position:

Hi Stacey,

I spoke with one of your employees this afternoon, and was not given a satisfactory explanation as to why I came home to find the contents of my bi-weekly recycling scattered across my driveway.

I should begin by explaining that I live in a house with three separate apartments. Seeing as each tenant has been forced to go out and buy their own recycling bin, only two of us have gotten around to making this superfluous purchase (the third was using a large green plastic bin that the collectors decided to throw into the truck along with the recycling one week). As there are three families living in the one house, and recycling is collected only once every two weeks, we naturally have more recycling than can fit into two bins. As a result, occasionally some recycling is placed in a cardboard box along side the blue boxes. I didn't believe this to be an issue, seeing as cardboard gets recycled anyway, and your website clearly states:

Paper recyclables may be mixed with cans and bottles as the recycling material is sorted at the processing facility."

Furthermore, nowhere on the City of Toronto website (that I can discern) does it state that recycling is NOT to be placed in a cardboard box... And the website actually proclaims: "
There is no item limit for recyclables".

The person I spoke to today said that the guidelines explaining the collection of recyclable materials are described in the collection calendar, but funnily enough, I didn't receive one of those either. As a result, I came home today to find what you see in the photographs included. There was no note provided, and no explanation for why this recyclable material was left behind; only a pile of recycling strewn across my driveway.

Needless to say, I am borderline infuriated. As a former garbage collector myself (for the Town of Oakville), I can't even fathom leaving this kind of a mess behind for fear of the repercussions. It is nothing short of a complete and utter embarrassment. For a City which claims to have won the Gold Award at the Recycling Council of Ontario's 2007 Ontario Waste Minimization Awards, believe me when I say that this is a black eye on the entire recycling program.

I live at 58 Churchill Ave. (near the corner of Dovercourt and College), and there is a 0% chance of my picking this mess up myself. Please feel free to call me and discuss how such a debacle can be avoided in the future. You can reach me at: (416) 845-####.

I trust this situation will be rectified accordingly.


Sean McCallum

10 to 1 odds says I'm out at the end of my driveway picking that shit up by the end of the day. I hate my life.


Anonymous said...

I love this....let us know if they come!

Anonymous said...

30 years old - check
grumpy - check
writing letters to the city - check

I applaud you, but won't lie and say this didn't make me laugh.

In other news, the princess of power wrote a similar letter to Tim Horton's to express her disgust at the lack of napkins given to customers as well as the brown water that is frequently passed off as hot chocolate.

ps- both over 30

Anonymous said...

I bet just some wee hoods tiped it over and the bin man didnt want to pick it up

Anonymous said...

So.. did they call???
P.s. Here in Nashville, since I don't pay extra for a recycling service to come by and get my recycling (Which I'm not even sure is possible as I live in an apartment complex) I have to take my recycling myself down to the Wal-Mart where they have bins and sort it myself. I didn't want to do it for 2.5 years out of laziness, but you'll be happy to know.. because of your environmentally-friendly blogs.. I'm making my first trip this weekend!!! YEEHAWW!!! GO GREEN!

Sean McCallum said...


Just to fill you in. I received a call from one of the supervisors from the City of Toronto's Solid Waste Management department. She was very apologetic, and intonated that she couldn't believe that one of the collectors would leave such a mess. She explained that the recycling guys aren't supposed to pick up any recycling in cardboard boxes (even though all of the recycling goes to the same place and just about all collectors do take extra recycling in cardboard boxes...), but said that these guys should have done so anyway, because there was no reason to leave behind that kind of a mess. She said that one of the reasons they might have left this pile behind was because there were plastic bags, and, contrary to popular belief, the City of Toronto does NOT recycle plastic bags at this point in time.

She said that in future, any extra recycling should be placed in a clear plastic garbage bag. She said that in order to make it up to us, she would be sending along a large blue recycling bin with a lid that would be big enough to fit the entire household's recycling. This is probably a city-wide program, but I took it as an offering of peace, and was pretty happy with myself.

In the end, I accepted her apology, saying that all I really wanted was an explanation. I then went outside with my tail between my legs and picked up all of the shit and put it in a clear plastic garbage bag like the spineless sissy I am.

Anyway, while I was out picking up the garbage, my new neighbour across the street got home from work and noticed that the 18 moving boxes that she'd broken down and piled neatly for the recycling guys ALSO hadn't been taken away. Apparently any cardboard needs to have a hand-tied bow on top in order to be picked up by these bastards. Anyway, I told her my story, and implored her to write an angry letter. No idea whether or not she ever got around to it.

Just one more note: I know FOR A FACT that the recycling was neatly piled when the guys came to pick it up. I know this because I put it out when they were four houses down the road. I was on my way out to a meeting so I had to fly before they got to my place (if I'd only known I would have stood there and supervised). Making matters even more inexcusable is the fact that I waved to the guys and gave them a friendly honk of the horn on my way out of the driveway! And they STILL left that disgusting mess!!!

Alright, I'm just getting riled up all over again. As DVZ so aptly pointed out, I am 30 years old, grumpy, and writing angry letters to the city. Time to just let it go.