What I Missed About Toronto

parking lot, negev, dimona, beet sheva, apartment, view, window, israel

Before I came to Israel, I lived in Toronto.  Objectively, a good place to live.  But really blah and I didn’t like the community’s attitude, in general.  And, in general, it just wasn’t my place, and had never been.

But the one thing I missed after I came to Israel was  – don’t laugh – the garbage disposal system.  When I left Toronto, the system was as follows:

Green bin (compost) pickup every week.  You can put as much out as you want.  P.S. – Green bin includes diapers and pads.  Not sure how, but it does.

Recycling – paper, glass, plastic.  Maybe metal, too; I don’t remember.  Pickup every two weeks.  You can put out as much as you want.

Garbage – regular garbage.  Pickup on the two weeks when recycling isn’t picked up.  You can put out two bags for free.  Anything above that needs to be paid for; if there’s no receipt on the bag they won’t pick it up.

In Jerusalem, there is garbage pickup.  There are places to recycle paper and plastics.  There are some places to recycle glass bottles but you never really know where they are or what to do with them.  Once I asked why there was no place to recycle metal.  And then someone pointed out to me that it wasn’t exactly a good idea to have bins with sharp metal objects in the middle of the street, because it would be too easy to put in an explosive, and imagine what would happen then.  G-d forbid.  I don’t even want to think about it.  And only Israelis would even think that way.  Granted, not every country recycles.  But to not recycle metal because of terrorists?  Only in Israel, unfortunately.

One year, I tried to compost with a friend.  It kind of worked.  Then our compost spot got planted over and fenced in.  I tried a bit longer and just gave up.  It was too complicated.

Then, guess what?  We moved here.  And we found that . . . there are compost bins!  In fact, to find a regular, old fashioned garbage can you have to walk a bit.  They’re there, of course, but we have other waste disposals closer.  In our parking lot, we have four containers – one for wet garbage (compost), one for dry garbage (everything else), one for papers, and one for plastic bottles, with a place for plastic bags on the side.  These get picked up as needed.

The problem is, not everyone separates their garbage like they should.  The municipality has signs everywhere encouraging people to put in the tiny bit of effort – and it really is a tiny bit – to separate their garbage and use the “green” disposal system.  But I guess not everyone does it – a few weeks ago Yitzchak found a bunch of garbage stuffed in the “wet” bin, and the “dry” bin was almost empty.  Someone had taken tons of garbage and just stuffed it wherever.  At first, even Yitzchak was apprehensive, but soon enough he got the hang of it and declared it “easy” and “nice to do”.

So now, I don’t miss Toronto at all.  I guess there are places in Israel that try to compost, too.

2 thoughts on “What I Missed About Toronto

  1. I also lived in toronto for a number of years. The garbage system was a bit of a pain. For someone with a large family, two bags isn’t necessarily enough. Almost everyone I knew was paying for extra bags. Also, u do t know if you lived there during the garbage strike, but it was awful. It was exceptionally bad cuz of the composting. Oh, and the city reeks to high hevean when they pick up the composting (which can’t even really be used as it has diapers).

    Last point, due to laws about the garbage disposal, the composting can’t be incinerated in Toronto. The city ended up with so much of the stuff they ended up sending it to buffalo and paying for them to incinerate it there. Talk about pointless….


    • I didn’t live there during the strike (thank G-d). When I was a kid there was a song, “Good garbage breaks down as it goes, that’s why it smells bad to your nose. Bad garbage grows and grows and grows . . . Gar-bage is supposed to decompose!”
      Yeah, of course compost stinks.
      I always thought that they do something with the diapers and pads so that it would be useful. Otherwise, why tell people to put them in compost?

      What?? Why do they have to send it to BUFFALO? That is crazy. Not pointless, but crazy. Does Ontario lack farmland?


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