Ottawa eyeing Toronto's idea for 'raccoon-proof' green bins

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Joanne Schnurr, CTV Ottawa

First, he defeated Ford nation. Now Toronto's mayor is locking horns with raccoon nation. The city is looking at a new green bin that it hopes would keep the pesky critters out and Ottawa may be interested in getting its claws into something similar.

The city of Toronto released a video Thursday showing a raccoon, within seconds, popping open the lid on a standard green bin and chowing down on the contents.

Enter the newer, bigger bin, which is harder to climb and even harder to open with a locking mechanism on top. Even when the raccoon manages to push it over, he still can't get in. Toronto's mayor believes the city needs these bins in its battle against the furry bandit.

"I believe the people are with us on this one," says Toronto’s Mayor John Tory, "wanting to make sure we do a better job of taking away their organic waste but also making sure we defeat the forces of raccoon nation that have frustrated us for such a long time."

Toronto isn't alone in its fight against raccoons. Along a street in downtown Ottawa, a green bin bears the claw marks of the animal. The green bin's owner says he didn't get in.

"Something better would be fine I guess," says the homeowner, "but if people lock it properly, it works."

Still, the chair of Ottawa's environment committee says the new locking bins are worth looking at.

"Is there a magic lock that is perfect for humans to open and close but that a raccoon can’t figure out?" asks David Chernushenko, "I don’t know but I would like to see what other cities are doing and learn from them."

Ottawa is currently reviewing its green bin program. Chernushenko says part of that review should include trying to find out whether more people would use the green bin if there were changes to the bins themselves.

Toronto city council will vote later this month on the bins. If approved, they could be hitting the curb and frustrating raccoons within the year.