Emterra truck mixes garbage and recycling, video shows

Winnipeg homeowners know that garbage and recycling have to be sorted in separate bins, but video footage submitted by a resident shows an Emterra collection truck mixing the two together.

Footage raises questions about Winnipeg's garbage collection service

Winnipeg homeowners know that garbage and recycling have to be sorted in separate bins, but video footage submitted to CBC News shows an Emterra collection truck mixing the two together. 2:16

Winnipeg homeowners know that garbage and recycling have to be sorted in separate bins, but video footage submitted by a resident shows an Emterra collection truck mixing the two together.

CBC News was approached by a Winnipeg resident who captured video of the garbage truck grabbing both recyclables and garbage during a pickup in the Waverley Heights neighbourhood last week.

The resident did not want to be identified or interviewed but said the video speaks for itself.

The footage clearly shows an Emterra truck grabbing the recyclables from a blue box, then driving ahead and dumping the garbage in the same place.

Gerald Maeren, a North End business owner, says he has complained multiple times to the city about garbage trucks mixing trash and recycling in the same truck.

Maeren said his neighbours even got involved in a shoving match over Emterra employees over the issue.

"One of his workers came out and confronted the guys about putting recycling stuff and garbage in the same truck," he said.

"The city police were called, the City of Winnipeg supervisor was called."

'Why is this happening?'

Maeren said Winnipeggers are trying to do their part to help the environment, and he questions what the City of Winnipeg is doing.

"We try to do our due diligence by, you know, keeping everything separate and trying to do the best we can for the environment," he said. "We kind of wonder, like, why this is happening?"

It has been a rocky year for Emterra, a private company that was awarded a five-year City of Winnipeg contract for garbage and recycling pickup in 2012.

It has been criticized for pickup delays and was facing big fines from the city.

Emterra was previously accused of dumping garbage and recycling into the same truck by Tracy Feniuk, who captured video of it happening in the Brooklands neighbourhood in May 2013.

A city report presented to council's infrastructure renewal and public works committee in March showed that in 2013, Emterra racked up:

  • 16,295 missed garbage collections.
  • 15,269 missed "collection services deficiencies" in "cart collection areas."
  • 8,854 missed yard waste pickups.

Emterra can be fined $100 for each missed pickup, but the city would not say how much the company has been fined.

Councillor has questions

River Heights-Fort Garry Coun. John Orlikow says complaints about Emterra have dropped lately, but he still has questions about the "co-mingling" of garbage and recycling.

"Obviously it raises the question of what service are we getting, when we are supposed to be getting a recycling service and a waste pickup service, separated," he said.

The city would not say how many complaints have been made specifically about the co-mingling of recycling and garbage.

Officials declined requests for an interview but issued a statement responding to the viewer's video — even though CBC News never showed it to them, and they had never asked for it.

"We extend our sincere thanks and appreciation to the resident that captured this video. We are following up with the contractor and are assured that the contractor will be addressing this with the crew," reads the statement, which is attributed to Darryl Drohomerski, the city's manager of solid waste services.

"The actions shown in this video are very infrequent and in no way represent the actions of all collectors working under contract with the City."

The city said it will take up the issue of co-mingling garbage and recycling with Emterra.

Emterra has very rarely done interviews with the media, but the company put out a full-page newspaper advertisement last month, claiming that its performance tops 99.8 per cent.


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