After 35 long, smelly days, it seems that Toronto’s garbage strike may come to a close tonight. Politics aside, it’s a good thing that the summer hasn’t been scortching or this month without waste pickup would have been unbearable. Both unions on strike have reached a tentative agreement with City Hall but the final agreement may not be for a few days. Read about it in the Toronto Star.
In the past month has been frustrating for homeowners, businesses and citizens who have to maneuver through garbage piles near the newly installed waste bins. Torontoist did an interesting documentation of garbage cans across the city and the state of the streets. When the strike began, every garbage bin in the city was sealed with a couple layers of industrial strength plastic wrap with delightful signs informing the bins were out of service and encouraged people not to litter. It makes you wonder how much waste all that plastic and paper will create once removed. Despite the pandemic, the city has managed to get by without being noticeably littered. If the strike did one thing well, it was to help people use less waste. In a poll in Now Magazine (only in print edition) about a third of homeowners adapted to finding ways to reduce the amount of garbage they go through. Others used dump sites at their local parks and recreation centres, and others simply let their trash pile up. If you live in Etobicoke, however, the strike will have barely affected you at all. The West end, west of the Humber River, has been business as usual because trash pickup is carried out by private contractors, not the city. It’s likely some of the same workers who have helped clean up after big public events like the Pride Parade or Afrofest, and have been cashing in by collecting from businesses in the city. Let’s hope the City and Unions strike up a final deal soon so Toronto can clean up its act.