Toronto considering raccoon-resistant green bins

Global News

By Andrew Russell View this article as a PDF

TORONTO - The city's raccoon community will likely be unhappy with the new green bins being proposed for Toronto.

A municipal staff report is recommending the city replace the existing 46.5 litre green bins with new bins that have a capacity of approximately 100 litres and feature a rodent-resistant locking lid and larger wheels for better mobility.

The older bins were introduced over four years from 2002 to 2005 and are reaching the end of their expected 10-year lifespan.

Following a Request for Proposal process, the city selected Rehrig Pacific Company for the manufacturing, distribution and maintenance of the next generation green bin.

Wildlife control expert Brad Gates said raccoons are quick to adapt to changes in their environment and were able to easily find their way into the old green bins.

"As we found out with the old green bin, they quickly realized how to undo the latch and get at the abundance of food," said Gates, from Gates Wildlife Control. "More food than they would be used to getting if they were to forage a neighbourhood."

A 10-year contract for the new bins would cost roughly $31 million and distribution could begin by late 2015 or early 2016, according to the city report.

WATCH: Changes on the way for Toronto's green and blue bins

The city's public works and infrastructure committee will review the contract later this week. City councillor and public works chair Jaye Robinson believes the bins are the answer to the raccoon problem.

"Certainly raccoons are very ingenious but we think we've got [a solution] we've got it in that we've created a design that's more functional for residents and much more raccoon resistant," said Robinson.

The company behind the bin said it has spent years working on the new design and said the locking latch, coupled with their increased weight and stability, help prevent the backyard bandits from gaining entry.

"I'll tell you this thing has been tested up and down so what we did is create focus groups of residents to look at this," said Robinson

According to the city report, the independent field test for animal behaviour on the bins lasted for just one week. Gates said he finds it hard to believe the new bins will keep raccoons out entirely.

"Raccoons are terrific chewers, they have very strong jaws," said Gates. "We see them go through metal proof fences; we see them chew thick wood in order to get into an attic. If they really want to get into a bin just give them some time."

Also highlighted in the report is an expanded list of plastic material products that residents will be allowed to throw in their blue bins beginning June 1.

Approximately 3,500 additional tonnes of recyclable material will be diverted from landfills, according to the report. Some of the expanded plastics include milk bags, dry cleaning bags, newspaper/flyer bags, in-store produce bags and frozen vegetable bags.

The report said a public awareness campaign will be introduced to educate and inform the public of the new list of acceptable plastic film materials prior to the launch date.

© Global News *With files from Global's David Shum and Mark McAllister

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