Winnipegger posts video of garbage crew spilling bin on street

A Winnipeg man says he's experienced numerous frustrations with his garbage and recycling pickup but last week was the "last straw."
Winnipeg resident takes video of garbage collection worker spilling trash. 1:45

A Winnipeg man says he's experienced numerous frustrations with his garbage and recycling pickup but last week was the "last straw."

Marcio Chaves, who lives in The Maples area of the city, said he arrived home on ​Nov. 3 to find his garbage bin on its side and garbage "all over the street." Meanwhile, his recycling bin, which was still full, was tagged with a notice that said crews couldn't access it due to the garbage bin in the street.

Chaves, who has a surveillance camera on his Maddin Crescent home, watched the video to see what happened.

He was grabbing it like a little kid grabbing a dirty sock with his little pinkies — just kind of hanging.- Marcio   Chaves

"When I went to the playback and I saw what happened, I was kind of like, you know what — this is the last straw. There is no excuse for this," he said.

Chaves' home shares a driveway with a neighbour, so both families' bins are near the curb. In the video, the trash truck, which uses an automated claw to grasp, lift and dump bins, takes the neighbour's bin and empties it.

"But he makes the mistake of not putting the garbage bin back on driveway. He leaves it in the middle of the street," said Chaves.

That prevents the truck from getting close enough to fully reach Chaves' bin. Instead, the claw could only pinch a bit of it, which leaves the bin dangling before it drops and spills the garbage.

"He was grabbing it like a little kid grabbing a dirty sock with his little pinkies — just kind of hanging," Chaves said.

After spilling the bin and damaging it — there's a chunk missing where it was pinched — the truck drives away. Shortly after, the recycling truck shows up, tags that bin, and leaves.

After calling the city's 311 line, Chaves was told the crews wouldn't be back until this week.

"I got really upset about that, and I told him, 'You know what, enough's enough. I'm going to post this on YouTube and Facebook, and I'm going to let social media deal with this. And the guy said, 'You do what you gotta do.'"

The video has since garnered 40,000 views and 200 shares on Facebook alone.

Devi Sharma, city councillor for Old Kildonan, said she has seen the video and was disturbed by what she saw.

"Clearly from the video we can see the best service was not provided to the resident and it's really disturbing to me. Recycling and garbage collection is a huge challenge. We [the city] service over 190,000 single family homes on a weekly basis,, in terms of garbage and recycling. Is it a perfect system? Absolutely not, it never will be," she said.

The City of Winnipeg said that Progressive Waste Solutions is contracted to pick up garbage in that area. Wes Muir, the director of public and government relations for the company said, while he cannot comment on this case specifically, that there are a number of challenges associated with automated collections. 

"We will be reviewing with our local team on how to handle these situations going forward," said Muir.

Sharma said she encourages residents to call 311 so that these situations can be rectified as soon as possible, but admits the system isn't perfect.

"It is very challenging because the roads have been configured in such way in residential developments and there are  sharp turns, there's parked cars. There's so many challenges," said Sharma.

Trash, recycling tossed into same truck

Chaves also sent emails to city councillors and Mayor Brian Bowman. He was told by a representative for Coun. Devi Sharma, who represents that area, to leave the bins alone and email 311 with a link to the video.

Crews showed up the next day to clean the mess — but both the garbage and recycling bins were dumped into the same truck, Chaves said.

"So what was the point of me separating my recycling if you guys are just going to throw it all into one truck? It's just kind of weird," he said. "It just seems like it's a gong show."

The city is aware of the problem and says that it takes these reports very seriously.

"It is the city's goal to provide residents with the highest level of service possible and we are disappointed by what we saw in the video," a city representative said in an email.

"While the parked car was a factor in this situation, we would expect our contractors to manoeuvre their truck so that they can collect the cart and return carts back to the original place of collection.  Mingling garbage and recycling material is not an acceptable practice and we have followed up with the contractor about this as well," 

Chaves said the incident is the latest in a long list of problems he's had with trash and recycling collection since the city adopted the new bins and contracted out the collection service in October 2012.

He said he's called 311 several times over the years to make complaints and has been told supervisors would call back, but they never do.

"Then I read the articles and I see there's tons of problems [with other residents], so I'm like, 'OK, I'm not the only one. I'm not the one crazy guy,'" Chaves said. "There's quite the problem in the city about this whole thing."

He knows his street, with a tight corner near his home, can be tricky for the big trucks. Plus there are cars that park on the streets, which makes it difficult for the trucks to get close.

Chaves suggested that a garbage day parking ban be implemented but his comments seem to fall on deaf ears at the city, he said.

"I shouldn't have to, every week, be calling 311 and wasting my time for how many hours," he said.

Sharma says that she is not aware of any plans to implement a parking ban on garbage days.

"I know how challenging parking ban can be when we do snow clearing. It's very difficult to get people abide for that. So I can't imagine something working on a weekly basis for garbage and recycling. That would be a massive challenge," said Sharma, who also sits on the infrastructure renewal and public works committee.


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