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What’s the City Looking for in a Redesigned Green Bin?

Your green bin is in for some changes.

It’s no wonder Toronto’s green bins don’t pose much of a challenge to raccoons. We tried to fight centuries of natural selection with little metal latches, and we failed. Our municipal compost containers are feeding troughs.

For quite some time, the City has been angling for a new green bin design—one that doesn’t suffer from this and other shortcomings. Now we know exactly what City staff have in mind, thanks to a bid document released to the public in late February.

The document, which lays out the City’s requirements for any company interested in bidding for the chance to supply and maintain the new bins, includes detailed design specifications. Here are some of them.

Raccoon resistance.

The new bins “must be raccoon resistant and contain a latch that will remain secured at the curb and open mechanically during the dumping cycle,” says the bid document. City staff have explained in their reports to city council that the idea here is for the latch to open automatically when the bin is tipped upside-down for collection. This would mean residents wouldn’t have to unlatch the bins on collection day.

Bigger.

The City wants the new bins to be somewhere between 80 and 100 litres each in volume, whereas the current bins are about 46 litres. In other words, the new bins will have about double the capacity of the current ones. The exact dimensions of the new bins are up to the contractors, but only within certain limits. The City wants the bins to be compatible with the automatic lifting devices on its garbage trucks.

Still green, though.

In the document, the City specifically asks that the new bins be made of plastic that is “a distinct green colour.” The bin would still have all the usual markings, some printed in white, others possibly embossed in the plastic.

Ready to roll by summer.

For many reasons, it’s hard to say how long it will be before the new bins arrive (for one thing, city council will have to decide whether to give the project a go-ahead), but the idea, currently, is for work to start in July. Under the estimated timeline, residents would start getting the new bins “no later than” spring 2014.

Also, the City wants every prospective contractor to give a cost estimate for an order of 5,000 pencil-holder-sized replica “mini-bins,” which we can only speculate will be prized collector’s items someday, when the next-generation green bin has won its Nobel prize for keeping the raccoon menace at bay.

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