Collection Containers for Organic Waste

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Our very own Dennis Monestier was recently quoted in the Forester Daily News. Here’s what he had to say about how Rehrig Pacific was able to create raccoon- and bear-resistant containers that are helping municipalities throughout North America.

The Toronto program changed things, claims Dennis Monestier, sales manager for Rehrig Pacific Co. The Canadian city moved to a fully automated organics collection that uses a larger container because it’s more efficient, he says. It’s more than just efficient. Switching from a manual load to an automated load with proper grab bar placement reduced repetitive injuries, and thus, workers’ compensation issues. “Organics are just too heavy for manual disposal,” observes Monestier. Rehrig was tasked with developing a raccoon-resistant container, Monestier explains. The one-handed latch features a lock that works in windy areas and is sturdy enough to thwart Toronto’s raccoon population. Their solution has resulted in decreasing the population by eliminating one source of food. While raccoons may be Toronto’s problem, bears are prevalent in western Canada, Florida, Alaska, and Colorado. For those areas, Rehrig developed an IGDHC-certified 95-gallon cart with a pliable body that bounces back from impacts, a reinforced lid to withstand heavy weights, and a patented lock that opens easily with clips, but stays closed even when picked up by a bear. “It’s actually bear-tested,” says Monestier. “The bear can pick up the container, but the container won’t open because it’s a different motion than the lifter.” Cart specifications had to match the lifters in width and height. Rehrig’s design team complied with ANSI standard size, but beyond regulations, Monestier says the program drives the size of the container. “Some want a 65-gallon cart. You have to look at it holistically: who uses and who services the containers.” Toronto actually uses four sizes of containers by design. The customer pays for the container, with rebates on the smallest one in order to drive habits for recycling. Recycling is driven by ethics, legislation, or cost, Monestier believes. “If you roll out the program, you won’t be successful if it’s not already a habit in that area.” Toronto hopes to create habits through incentivizing customers. Their organics program currently collects only kitchen scraps, diapers, and plastic bags. Monestier says there’s a smaller volume of kitchen scraps, so the smaller container is OK for weekly collection. “If you add leaf and yard waste, you need a larger size.” Cart size depends on what is collected and the frequency of collection. “You can adjust for weekly collection when needed due to odor, maggots, and decomposition, or save money with bi-monthly pickup—as long as they comply with provincial legislation that says you must retrieve X by (date).” Either way, he says there’s “not much difference” between public versus private collection. “Toronto outsources half the city to private haulers,” elaborates Monestier. “They must follow the same guidelines – have the same types of vehicles, containers, lift mechanisms, and schedule. But they have no union workers, so workers’ comp claims are fewer, resulting in less cost.” But even if Toronto was to go all private, they would still have the same expectations in regards to trucks and containers.