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There’s an app for that!

Have you ever come home and wondered why your garbage bin was the only one on the street not emptied and then realized it was recycling week? Or put your yard waste out only to have it sit for weeks because you got the dates mixed up? Or after a serious case of spring cleaning wondered what to do with your broken coffee maker, half empty paint cans and that broken Muskoka chair in the back yard you realize you will never fix? Or had a debate with your husband on what items go in the blue, green or garbage bin?

Then why not install the Toronto Waste App on your smart phone. First, use the settings to type in your street # and street name, then indicate whether you want to be notified the night before or the morning of pickup day. The homepage will display your district number, schedule number, next pickup day and what is to be picked up. Then, even more genius, go to Waste Explorer, type in the kind of waste and voila! it will tell you how to dispose of the item in question.

So, where does my broken coffee maker go? In the garbage bin. Half-empty paint cans are considered hazardous waste and need to be taken to one of the City’s Household Waste Depots or a Community Environment Day. That old wooden chair will not fit in my garbage bin, so it needs to be placed 0.5 metres (2 ft.) away from my garbage bin on my scheduled garbage collection day for free pick-up.

Best of all, you can avoid those family squabbles that we hawkish recyclers get into with family members who prefer to treat everything as garbage. Yes, paper towels go in the green bin. No, aluminum foil cannot be recycled, but aluminum pie plates can be placed in the blue bin. Yes, empty aerosol cans can be recycled, however the plastic cap is garbage. Complicated. And those pesky Keurig pods need to go in the garbage, but be sure to cut them open and empty the coffee grounds in the green bin before you throw them out. Got all that?

Then, of course, there is the question of how best to handle alcohol containers. If you’re counting your pennies, you can return them for deposit to the Beer Store, and if you’re feeling charitable, they have a donation box at the cash register. A second option is to recycle them in your blue bin.

But are there other options? Some recycle days a binner comes by on his bicycle and roots through the bins on our street. It does make me feel awkward and it does feel somewhat invasive, but I would be happy to support him by leaving the beer cans and wine bottles bagged separately if I knew he was coming every (other) week. Or does anyone do bottle drives anymore? I grew up in Sudbury, and yes, the Stompin’ Tom Connors’ song Sudbury Saturday Night is true. So true in fact that my high school, Sudbury High, did a big bottle drive after Christmas every year to raise money for charity.

So cold, so fun and so many empty cases of beer! Help make Leaside a little greener in 2017 with a simple smartphone app and an extra few seconds of thought. It’s really not that hard.

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