City budget calls for steep jump in garbage rates

Changes proposed in the city's budget may prompt some Toronto homeowners to downsize their trash bin.

Mayor hopes rise in rates will spur residents to produce less household waste

This graphic shows the old price for garbage and the corresponding bins, and the new price. (CBC)

Changes called for in the city budget may have some Toronto homeowners considering a switch to a smaller-size trash bin.

Mayor John Tory's budget tabled Tuesday — and subject to council approval in March — calls for a sharp increase in trash pickup rates.

The changes mean homeowners will pay more, with the steepest rate jump coming for those with the largest of the four available bin sizes.

For example, homeowners with the extra large bins (see chart above) will see their rates rise by $126 a year, from $217.21 to $343.60. That's nearly 60 per cent increase.

Homeowners who manage to get by with a small bin will see their annual rate rise by less than four dollars, from $6.72 to $10.63.

If approved, the changes will save the city about $18 million a year. Mayor John Tory said he's hoping the higher rates will spur homeowners to trim their trash output, and maybe even switch to a smaller bin.

'Room for improvement in recycling'

"Part of what this is about is encouraging people to produce less waste," he said after tabling the budget on Tuesday. "We are moving to full cost recovery for the cost of providing this service for people."

A city report about the solid waste changes says up to 75 per cent of homeowners are filling their trash bins with material that can be recycled.

"Waste audit stats show there is too much recycling, organics, electronics and even yard waste in garbage bins," the report says. "There is room for improvement and opportunity for residents to switch to smaller garbage bins and lower their fees.

The chart below shows how rates will change — pending final council approval of the budget in March— depending on for the various bin sizes.

Small bins (32.6" x 19.8" x 23.3"), 1 bag capacity

$6.72 per year in 2014 will rise to $10.63 in 2015

Medium bins (39.1" x 20.2" 23") 1.5 bag capacity

$56.09 in 2014 will rise to $88.73 in 2015

Large bin (40.6" x 26.7" x 28.1") 3 bag capacity

$156.39 in 2014 will rise to $247.39 in 2015

Extra large bin (45.1" x 28.7" x 33.7") 4.5 bags capacity

$217.21 in 2014 to $343.60 in 2015