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New green bins are a smashing success, but not with raccoons

Here’s the score so far on the city’s new green bins: 300,000 for the good guys, and, it appears, a big fat zero for raccoons.

By now, most Toronto households are using the new organic waste bins, which the city began rolling out last year and which will be delivered to every home by the end of 2017.

The key feature is a locking lid designed to thwart the ring-tailed scavengers, which grew fat and sassy by knocking over the old ones, spilling their smelly contents onto the street and feasting on them.

But those days appear to be over, which has to be distressing for raccoons that had grown accustomed to living on Easy Street.

Jim McKay, general manager of solid waste management, said the new bins have been placed at about 300,000 residences, including all of Etobicoke and Scarborough, with another 180,000 still to be delivered.

The verdict so far?

“The reaction from the public has been very positive,” with hardly any complaints, he said, adding that the city’s bottom-line cost for the program is about $ 31 million.

And here’s the good news: “Look, I don’t want to jinx it, but I can tell you we haven’t had a single complaint about an instance of a raccoon getting into them,” said McKay.

Bins are more likely to be damaged by sharp-toothed squirrels that, in a few instances, have attacked the lids and chewed through the heavy-gauge plastic, he said.

We checked in with the city on the new bins after we got an email from Frank Nakashima, saying his was dented by the collection truck that picks them up and empties them.

“Today, my green bin was damaged (bent out of shape), probably by the truck’s mechanical arm, so that the lid will no longer close,” he said.

“Even though it will be replaced, what can be done to prevent this from occurring again? These are great raccoon-proof bins, but, if they are so easily damaged, isn’t that a preventable waste?”

Reports of damage “are very rare, but it does happen,” said McKay, noting that in some cases, the hydraulic arms that pick up the bins squeeze them a bit too hard — usually on new trucks — and require adjustment.

If a bin is damaged, McKay says residents should report it to 311, which will create a report and send a staffer to check it out. If the bin can’t be fixed, it will be replaced on the spot at no charge.

The rollout continues in North York, Toronto and East York. The progress of the program can be tracked online here.

So, what’s your verdict on the new bins? Please let us know.