The City of Winnipeg released a statement Monday saying it is considering replacing Winnipeggers’ damaged recycling and garbage bins for free.

The city’s Standing Policy Committee on Infrastructure Renewal and Public Works will be looking at the new cart replacement policy on Jan. 16.

'Why should we penalize the victim of arson or the victim of theft for that matter?' - Ross Eadie, Mynarski Ward city councillor

The city’s Solid Waste By-law currently holds the owner(s) of bins responsible for paying to replace them if anyone besides the contractor, Emterra, damages or vandalizes them.

Under the new policy, that responsibility would shift to the city.

Diane Sacher, Director of the city’s Water and Waste Department, said that because they must be left exposed on street sides for collectors, the carts are often vulnerable to vandalism and damages beyond the control of homeowners.

“This recommendation acknowledges that despite a resident exercising all due diligence to keep their carts safe and secure, there are times when carts are on the street for collection and vulnerable to vandalism and accidents from a third party,” said Sacher.

'It isn't the homeowner's fault': councillor

Councillor Ross Eadie has been pushing the city to cover replacement costs.

Ross Eadie - Dec. 1, 2014

Mynarski Coun. Ross Eadie has been pushing the city to cover replacement costs and believes the current system punishes victims of vandalism by making homeowners pay to replace their damaged recycling or garbage carts. (CBC)

“Why are we charging the victims of crime to pay for something that they never caused in the first place?” said Eadie. “You can be a cynic all you want. Let's be fair. Homeowners aren't setting their carts on fire."

He said when the carts were introduced, homeowners were expected to put them out from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m., but now you have to leave them out overnight.

"There's exposure of these carts and they're out there in the back lanes longer than they should be,” said Eadie. “So, it isn't the homeowners fault, and so why should we penalize the victim of arson or the victim of theft for that matter?”

If the committee approves the recommendations, the city could end up shelling out more than $127,000 to replace as many as 1,500 carts per year.