Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Weighing in on waste

Residents have plenty to say about the city's new garbage and recycling system

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It's been four weeks since the city rolled out the biggest change to its garbage collection in nearly two decades. To put it lightly, it hasn't gone smoothly.

While frustration grows at city hall, Emterra, the company in charge of the curb-side pickup, is trying to clean up the mess.

The Free Press asked for readers' impressions and they responded in a big way. For some, it's a significant improvement. But many others feel as if they're the ones who are being trashed. Here are excerpts of some the responses:

Not able to find the yard-waste paper bags. They're the Tickle-Me-Elmo of this season.

- Angel Castaneda


Whose bright idea was it to leave the can covers open after emptying? After the last rainfall, two inches of water collected in each can, dissolving the sticky mess on the sides and loosening stuck items -- paper, metal, whatever... now floating in the soup. Where do we empty the soup?

- Peter Hertam


The new system is awesome -- no more papers blowing all over the street from those little recycling bins, and no more finding our bins and cans in the middle of the street from careless workers. Great job Winnipeg (about 10 years late, though!).

- Grant Zeilstra


Happened to see the workers put both garbage and recycling in the same truck once.

- Erin Day


I was home from work last week when the crew was collecting the paper bags and ran out to the lane with bottled water and told them they are doing a great job.

- Nancy Constantine


I give kudos on the rolling blue bins, a long-overdue improvement. But the service-provider needs to be diligent on making sure the bins are placed on the driveway and not on the street or on the verge of tipping over. If they are damaged because of this incompetency, I for one, will not pay for its replacement.

- Donald Burroughs


Last week, my wife and I witnessed one truck picking up both our garbage and our recycling bin and dumping them into the same truck.

- Les Bergen


This week, I noticed my neighbour's cart was already broken. A tire had been severed through and fallen off its wheel.

- Kate McGonigal


I was under the impression these changes were implemented to save the city money. Why are we being charged an additional $50 per year?

- Bonnie Hildebrand


My trash has not been picked up since the new schedule. I have applied for walk-up collection and have phoned 311 three times and given two reference numbers with no result.

- Irene Milgrom


I have not been able to find paper bags for yard waste. The closest I came was last weekend when Home Depot had run out 20 minutes before I arrived. I ended up purchasing $100 worth of garbage bins so that I could at least get a start on getting rid of my leaves. That bought me five bins, and I'd need about 25 to get rid of all of my leaves. With only one yard-waste pickup day left this year, and no paper bags to be found, it looks like I am going to have a real mess on my hands come spring.

- Jennifer Volk


Ten thumbs-up to Emterra, ditto to the City of Winnipeg for a smart decision. Emterrra keeps cost down, avoiding pressure to increase taxes. Emterra is using a carbon-friendly technology, natural gas vehicles. Emterra's program reduces waste to landfill, and increases the amount of recycling collected. Emterra's program in Winnipeg is a showcase to the world on innovation, clean technology and environmental management.

- Terry Zdan


We are really concerned with winter coming. Our back lane gets blown in very badly in winter. In the past, we could put the blue box on top of the snow, and could stand the garbage can on top of drifts/windrows. Now, with the wheels, plus required distance placing, I fear I will not be able to navigate to get to work on our pickup day mornings nor find a spot to put the containers so they are not in the way.

- Carol Weakley


My experiences have been nothing but positive. Cut the company some slack, please.

- Bill Smith


We put our address on the bins so I would like to know why they don't return the trash bins to the address on the bins. I had someone else's bin in my yard and a neighbour also had someone's bin. The paper bags are silly as they get wet and break open.

- Betty Perehinec


I noticed that half the time the collectors leave the lid open on the carts, I sure hope they do not do it in the winter because they will fill full of snow and as they are bulkier than my old cans I sure don't want to empty them.

- Vance Stoyko


I live at the end of a bay in Charleswood. Last week, I watched as the Emterra truck (purposefully?) skipped picking up the recycling at our house -- likely because being right at the end of the bay made it difficult for the truck to line up properly. After my mom chased him down and told him, just as he was about to pull off our street (at 6 p.m.), he backed all the way up and picked it up.

- David Unruh


It's just nuts. My bins are way too big, and I can't imagine clearing all the snow to get the bins to the street. It may work in warmer climates but not in Winterpeg.

- Betty Schultz


I live in Windsor Park and my pickup has been great. I prefer it rather than having some of workers throw my bins around, letting them roll in the street, garbage flying everywhere and they always cracked my recycle bins. Give it time...Rome wasn't built in a day.

- Marie Kopp


The first time I put my bins out, my recycling bin was moved to my neighbour's parking pad blocking them from going into their garage. The second time they came by, not only was my bin moved again, but they damaged my fence.

- Callie


I miss the leaf drop-off centres! Last year, I had 40 bags of leaves! The yard-waste collection days are too few, the paper yard-waste bags are too small. I'm forced to pack leaves in plastic garbage bags and throw them in the regular garbage.

- Colin Jones


We had booked a large item pickup for Oct. 15. We had to book this two weeks in advance. It is now Oct. 25 and it is still not picked up. We phoned 311 on the 16th and they said they have 48 hours to pick up the garbage. We phoned again when that did not happen and were told they now have three days to investigate! When we phone now, they just say they will pass the complaint on to a supervisor. This has now been passed to a supervisor two or three times. Not impressed

- Derek Gruhn


My garbage has not been picked up for three weeks and counting. I called 311 so many times and told them about my situation, they would not give me a phone number or the contractor's name who picks up my garbage for my apartment block. All they can say is they can forward this to them. I just want my garbage to get picked up, not have to waste my time to call every day.

- Cat Rule


Talking on Tuesday morning with one of the young men working, he stated: "We aren't trying to upset everyone, we are doing the best we can with a new system." As well, he pointed out numerous bins against fences and each other, they have to literally move them to pick up.

- Marion Boles

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition October 26, 2012 A4

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