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Torontonians with the smallest garbage bins could face the biggest fee hike in 2020

If you’ve got a garbage can, brace yourself — you could soon start paying more for the city to take out your trash.

As Toronto moves forward with a council-approved phaseout of rebates, residents are set to fork over more than $80 for the two smaller sizes in 2020, if council gives the green light on the latest recommendations from city staff.

This year, single-family homeowners were paying close to $260 for a small bin, but getting back around $160 in a rebate.

That meant, in the end, residents were only shelling out roughly $100.

But next year, rates are set to go up by 2.5 per cent, and the city could be chopping its share of the cost in half. That would leave residents on the hook for around $186 — a nearly $86 increase.

It’s a similar situation for medium bins, with a roughly $74 rebate phased out entirely. Coupled with the rate increase, that change would hike the cost for residents from $242 in 2019 to $323 in 2020, meaning a hefty increase of around $82.

Residents will also be paying more for the largest sized bins, though the increase isn’t quite so dramatic.

Large bins will go up from around $428 to $439 — close to an $11 difference — while extra-large bins will increase from $497 to $509, or around a $12 hike.

Without smaller bin rebates, ‘incentive’ still needed

Already, some residents getting a whiff of the incoming changes aren’t pleased.

“I don’t mind that rates are increasing to balance the budget, but what irks me is that it is being done on the wallets of the households [that] create the smallest amount of household garbage,” wrote resident Steve Russell in a letter to council.

Russell, who describes members of his household as “hardcore recyclers,” said the rates “punish” families like his more than bigger trash-generators.

“It’s fair to say we want the cost of solid waste collection … to be reflective in your bills,” budget committee member Mike Layton told CBC Toronto. “At the same time, we need an incentive for people to get better at source separation.”

In other words, separating items meant for the trash from any food waste meant for a green bin or recycling that should be in a blue bin.

“Unless you take a moment to educate yourself, then you’re not going to do that, because it’s easier to just put it all in the garbage,” Layton continued, adding it might be time for the city to study new ways to encourage homeowners to reduce their household waste.

The smallest cost increases are for homes using bags only, with the rate jumping around $4 from the 2019 cost of $166 to $170 in 2020.

For multi-residential homes, the overall increase is even smaller again — just 1.5 per cent.

That hikes both front-end and curb-side pickup costs by just a few bucks, to around $219 for 2020.

The budget committee meets on Monday to debate all rate-supported budgets, including solid waste management, water and wastewater consumption, and the Toronto Parking Authority, a day before the full November council meeting begins.

CBC

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