About Me

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Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Andrew was born in London, UK, raised in Toronto, Canada, and cavorted in Ohtawara, Japan for three years. He is married, has a son and a cat, Freddy (after the dude in Scooby-Doo). He has over 35,000 comic books and a plethora of pioneer aviation-related tobacco and sports cards and likes to build LEGO dioramas. Along with writing for a monthly industrial magazine, he also writes comic books and hates writing in the 3rd person. He also hates having to write this crap that no one will ever read. Along with the daily Japan - It's A Wonderful Rife blog, when he feels the hate, will also write another blog entitled: You Know What I Hate? He also works on his Pioneers Of Aviation - a cool blog on early fliers. He also wants to do more writing - for money, though. Help him out so he can stop talking in the 3rd person.

Friday, June 9, 2017

Raccoons Getting Into My Raccoon-Proof Food Waste Bin

You know what I hate?

I hate raccoons getting into my raccoon-proof food waste bin.

Raccoons… trash pandas…

Living in the suburbs of Toronto isn’t such a bad thing. There’s plenty of space to raise a family, convenience to subways and buses and highways, schools of every kind imaginable, grocery stores, convenience stores, shopping malls—all sorts of everything one could want.

While there are a plethora of fast-food restaurants… and while they don’t like you calling them that, that’s what they are. There is a dearth (lack) of decent and inventive restaurants where I am, but I suppose I could always go downtown to the more urban part of Toronto if I so desired.

While there are always plenty of things one could point at in a negative manner re: the suburban life, today I’m just going to pick on the raccoon.

I’m sure raccoons serves some sort of purpose on this planet—I’m just not sure what it is except to annoy Andrew every Wednesday evening and Thursday morning.

That’s when I put my garbage out and when the garbage is picked up.

Recently, the City of Toronto—in response to rising complaints of raccoons constantly getting into people’s garbage bins and food waste bins, developed after much ballyhoo a new plastic food waste container with a lock, and delivered them to homeowners around Toronto.

Everybody cheered. Even I did.

But no longer.

Raccoons are still getting in to the bins, scattering stinky, smelly food waste all over the place.

I’m sure some of you might tell me to simply NOT put my food waste bins et al out until the morning, after all raccoons are nocturnal.

Great point. If that works for you, by all means do it.

It doesn’t work for me because the waste collectors in my part of the city are near nocturnal, too, driving by to pick up and dump the bins BEFORE I wake-up or BEFORE I am full-dressed and out the door in the morning… so let’s say some time before 7:45AM.

I don’t see or hear them—and here I am talking about the waste collectors, , so I assume it’s being done at some time just after 7AM. 

This is not a complaint even though the early start seems extraordinarily early… but NO… it’s well within the City’ of Toronto’s guidelines about pick-ups… just NOT before 7AM.

Background on Raccoons… these omnivores (they eat veggies and meat) have a life span between three to five years, which seems entirely too long to me.

They eat, according to www.sandswildlifecontrol.com, “everything including dog and cat food, birdseed, many fruits, carrion, fish, eggs, fresh water mussels, Cray fish, campsite foodstuff, lawn grubs, sweet and field corn. Will kill and eat chickens and ducks.”

They left out garbage. My garbage more often than anyone else’s.

Here’s the deal regarding the City of Toronto’s new food waste (organics) bins:

According to the City of Toronto, almost 50% (by weight) of household waste is organic material.

The City says that: “There is no limit on the amount of Green Bin materials that may be placed for collection each week, however a Green Bin cannot weigh more than 20 kg (44 lbs).
Note: The weight maximum only applies to older Green Bins that are manually collected.”

Confusing… Just tell us:
  • Older Green Bin: Maximum weight of 20 kg (44lbs) for manually-collection.
  • New Green Bin: No maximum weight.
Hmm… still, I would have expected a manual weight on the new Green bins… you know, so as to not over-feed the raccoons.

Content that can go into a Green bin are: breads, cereals, baked goods, pizza (why aren’t you eating your pizza!?), fruits, vegetables, coffee grounds, filters and tea bags, house plants, diapers and sanitary products, napkins, paper towels, facial towels (unsullied by chemicals of make-up), meat, fish, shellfish, nuts and its shells, grains, egg shells and dairy products (don’t pour milk in there).

Basically… everything that raccoons seem to have developed a taste for as suburbanite dwellers of the night.  

These new Green bins are, according to the City of Toronto:

  • easy for residents to use;
  • a new animal-resistant latch;
  • more capacity for increased diversion (37% of garbage is organic material);
  • designed for automated collection
When they say animal-esistant, they meant raccoon-resistant… but I can tell you that it is not.

I'm not saying anyone is lying, I'm just saying they really didn't do a proper test... or if they did, they sure as heck didn't perform the test in a known raccoon-area. Uh... you did do real live wild raccoon testing right? City of Toronto, you saw those results, right?

The results were negative, right... which in this case means they are negative in success, not negative as in not letting raccoons in... we're talkin' negative results.... right?

Here’s a photo of the two types of Organics Green bins given to residents of the City of Toronto. The tall bin on the RIGHT, replaced the one one the left.

Very tall... and with bags of organic waste placed in it, the centre of gravity is low, making it easy to push over... I guess I could put more waste in it to fill it to the top - to also make it heavier... but it would have to be other types of organic waste, if you know what I mean. Oh no! Sugar Honey Ice Tea!

Of course, I have pretty big raccons in my neighbourhood, so I'm sure that the bigger the pile of organic waste I place in my Green Bin the harder it will fall...

I use a spade to shovel up the spilled organic waste.

What ticks me off even more, is that the raccoon doesn't even take everything that spills out... like it it knocks over bins all over the neighbourhood and gets into several of them to pick and choose what it wants to eat like it was in a cafeteria!

In the photo at the top, it left a chicken leg!!! WTF, raccoon?! I know I didn't scare it away!

"I had chicken last week! Somebody toss me a pork chop!"

Raccoons... picky effing eaters! Who knew?! 

  



Here’s what I saw at Midnight May 31, 2017:

A raccoon came from the right of my house (the neighbour’s believe there’s a family there behind a shed), sniffed my Green Bin, got on its hind legs and pushed it forward towards the road.

The bin did not open. Why would it? There’s a lock on it. I set the lock as I always do, turning the plastic dial to the lock position.

That was a midnight right on the dot… the witching hour.

I watched as the raccoon scurried across the street, sniffed the neighbour’s collection of waste and garbage… moved on, continuing left (north) to the next house… snifffing their bins…

Not finding what it was looking for, the raccoon crossed back to my side of the street and sniffed the organics waste bin two houses to my right.

Jackpot!

It reared on its hind legs and pushed it forward towards the road.

That Green Bin was either unlocked (human neighbour’s fault), or it was locked and quickly manipulated… and by quickly, I’m saying within 30 seconds, because I was outside snapping a photo…

Could a raccoon manipulate the dial from Locked to Unlock in less than 30 seconds and start ripping open a bag throwing organic waste everywhere on the road?

I didn’t see it… so maybe the raccoon grabbed a bag and went off somewhere to eat it… though I’ve only ever seen them eat-in, rather than do take-out.

Poor neighbour… but since I don’t know them… they never say hello… screw them.

Karma…

I went out and righted the Green bin.

Then, at 12:37AM, a bang outside as the smaller garbage bin was tipped over by a raccoon.

Looking out the window I didn’t see the raccoon, but I put my shoes on again and went out to right the bin. Two bags of garbage had spilled out, and had clawed a single tear into each of the two bags. However, nothing was ripped out…

I didn’t scare it away, I’m just guessing it didn’t find what it was sniffing for.

I went to bed at 1:15, content that I was safe.

I went outside to go to work… stepping over the displaced shingles on my steps as the roofing crew got an early start on replacing my roof… and there… there it was… the damn raccoon(s) had tipped over my green organics bin, ripped open a bag and spewed food all over the road… well, actually under the trailer of the roofing crew who was nice enough to have picked the bin back up rather than drive over it.

Apples, French fries, and orange?!

I assume that raccoons actually eat the organic waste I leave bagged in clear bags inside the bin, and don’t just do it out of spite to merely rip it open and throw garbage everywhere. But who knows…

So… Karma came to me in raccoon-form.

I know the Green Bid was locked, and locked properly.

I can only now assume that the raccoons are knocking the bins over and are manipulating the locks to open the bins…

or, when the bins are tipped over the weight of the bagged organic waste pushes the lid to a slight opening allowing a tiny access point for a raccoon claw to grab it and pull it out… I expressed that thought a few weeks earlier… 

Recently, the Toronto Star newspaper published an article on how great these Green Bins were - how raccoon proof they were.

Myself and a few other folk wrote to the author and told them that he did not have the complete story…  that just because people don’t call the city to complain doesn’t mean the problem doesn’t exist.

I described my thoughts on how I thought the raccoons might be getting into my locked organic bin…

The Toronto Star—a newspaper publisher I was a reporter for years ago—screwed my name up, placing my surname first. That could be a whole other “You Know What I Hate” blog.

That news article is HERE. The photo mentioned in the article is the one taken at the very top of this blog article.

Anyhow… since the City of Toronto has only provided its residents with a green bin that is sort of an upgrade on the older version in the fight against trash pandas, perhaps it would be nice if they either provided residents with a brand new shovel to better scoop of the waste from their roads after the waste is dumped upon them.

It’s not my road… it’s the City’s.

Either that or get more people-power to trap and release the suburban raccoon problem back into the wild.

By the way… for those of you who might suggest that the raccoons were here first. Not true. 

The house I occupy was built in 1946… my family moved in in 1973. I can guarantee that we never had issues with raccoons until the 1980s… though of course that may just be revisionist thinking.

Do you know what I hate?

I hate raccoons getting into my raccoon-proof food waste bin.

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