Private garbage collection begins in Toronto

The city's new private garbage contractor has begun its first day of collecting trash from homes west of Yonge Street.

Green For Life will now handle collecting the trash from nearly 165,000 homes.

The city says it will save $11.9 million for this fiscal year, and $11.1 million annually thereafter for the duration of the contract, which is up in 2019.

"This is a great day for the City of Toronto," said Toronto Mayor Rob Ford in a statement.

"Acting on my campaign promise to contract out appropriate services and to save the City money, I am pleased to welcome GFL as the waste collection provider in this area of the city."

"The main change residents will notice is a different colour truck on their street," said Rob Orpin, who is handling the transition for the city.

Orpin says residents may have to wait a little longer for pickup.

"The collection of the material may be slightly different with the contractor than with city forces, but it will be collected that day," he said.

Green For Life spokesman Brian Kent says the company is ready. It has 90 new trucks ready to go and more on standby if needed.

"We have 600 trucks across the GTA and the province. If we need to draw on that, we will, to ensure we can get that material collected."

But one high-profile complainant has already registered her displeasure.

"My mother is in an extra bad mood today. The garbage hasn't been picked up yet — the wonder of privatization," tweeted Trinity-Spadina NDP MP Olivia Chow.

Orpin says the city will ensure the company complies with the contract.

"We will deal with them on a daily basis to ensure they are picking what they are supposed to pick up — and dealing with customer service complaints," Orpin said.

Residents can call 311 to report issues.

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