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Simcoe County > Departments > Solid Waste Management > Cart Collection > Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

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What is automated cart collection?

​The County is rolling out an automated cart collection system in November 1, 2021. This system is an easy and safe solution to curbside waste collection services.

In the cart system, garbage, recycling, and organic materials are stored and set out at your curb in easy-to-use wheeled carts, so there's no more bending over to lift and carry different boxes, bins and bags to the curb.

Carts are emptied using a mechanical arm on the collection vehicle, which is an efficient touch-free system that helps keep everyone safer. 

Why is the County moving toward automated cart collection?

Carts are used across North America because they are easier, safer and provide a better overall service to residents.

  • Easier to use: Carts offer the added convenience of wheels, lids, and a gravity locking system on organics carts that opens automatically when carts are collected
  • More capacity: Instead of several smaller bins and bags, residents will have just two carts ready to roll to the curb each week
  • Require less storage space: You can reduce your storage footprint for your waste by up to 50% by consolidating smaller bins, boxes and containers into the larger carts
  • Safer and more predictable service: As well as being great for residents, the automated system is safer and less strenuous for collection workers, and helps fight transmission of pathogens. This expands the labour force so service delays due to labour shortages don't occur
  • Good for the environment: Our automated cart collection doesn't just improve curbside aesthetics. In addition to reducing windblown litter, the new organics cart is 2 and half times larger than our current green bin to further encourage greater diversion and reduce garbage 

 


What size are the carts?

Cart sizes are universal and were chosen based on the average waste needs per household in the County of Simcoe, accounting for future needs. If you require additional capacity, extra recycling bins or tagged garbage bags can be placed at the curb beside the carts.

To help families plan ahead, here are the precise dimensions:

Cart TypeCapacityHeightDepth Front to BackWidth Side to Side
Recycling360 litres110.4 cm84.5 cm74.1 cm
Garbage240 litres102.8 cm71.4 cm67.8 cm
Organics120 litres95.2 cm62.2 cm46.9 cm


Capacity:

Recycling - One large cart with a blue lid for recyclables is equivalent to four of our current recycling bins

Garbage - One medium-sized cart with a black lid for garbage ­has enough space for two full large black bags

Organic - One cart with a green lid with a gravity locking mechanism is two and a half times larger than our current green bins to encourage greater diversion of organics and account for seasonal fluctuations such as for pumpkins, pet waste, turkey carcasses 

 


How are the new carts easy and safe to use?

  • Carts mean no more bending over to lift and carry different boxes, bins and bags to the curb
  • With large wheels, a wider wheel-base and ergonomic handles, all residents, including seniors and those with accessibility requirements, should find it safer, easier and more stable to roll carts to and from the curb
  • Touchless automated collection also adds a level of safety for everyone 

Why do we all have the same size carts?

The County considered the best size for all our residents. Bi-weekly garbage and recycling collection will continue, and the cart sizes selected will suit the majority of households

Considerations included:

  • At different times of the year, residents have varying levels of waste. For instance, holidays and family get-togethers often generate increased waste; carts provide flexibility for additional capacity when needed
  • Costs to all taxpayers was an important factor in Council's decision. Other jurisdictions have advised that offering cart size choices created considerably higher implementation, distribution costs as well as increased annual operating costs
  • We are planning for the future as Provincial changes coming soon to recycling programs may allow more materials to enter the recycling stream, without requiring new carts at enhanced costs in the future 


 


How many carts will each household receive and how do we get them?

The County will deliver approximately 450,000 carts between August and the end of October. Each eligible unit will receive a set of three complimentary carts for use after November 1st, 2021. 

When will carts be delivered to my neighbourhood?

​While we are unable to provide exact distribution days, subscribers to the Simcoe County Collects app will be notified when the general distribution window is anticipated in their area. Seasonal areas will be prioritized for early distribution to maximize time for those residents to receive their carts.   ​

What will I do with my old containers (blue boxes, green bin and garbage cans)?

​After November 1st, unwanted green bins, recycling boxes and garbage pails can be brought to a County Waste Facility (free of charge) for a limited time to be recycled. Alternatively, there are many ways to re-purpose your old bins:

  • Blue Boxes can be used for occasional overflow recyclables or to place your leaf and yard waste at the curb. They also work great for storage  
  • Garbage Cans can be used for occasional overflow garbage but will require a County garbage tag to be affixed. Garbage cans are also handy for storing rakes, shovels, hockey sticks, etc.
  • Green Bins can be used to store items like birdseed, pet food or driveway sand or salt in the winter

Are the new carts easy to store?

Carts will allow residents to consolidate a variety of smaller bins, bags and containers into three carts, including as many as four large blue bins into the recycling cart, this also means less trips to the curb each week

Visit the Living with Carts​ page for tips to support residents with storing bins in smaller garages, outdoors, long driveways or on more densely confined properties.

What if I don’t have a garage, or my garage has limited storage space?

For residents without a garage, the lids and gravity locking system on our organics cart means that bins can now be stored outside the home and remain protected from animals and weather.

Residents with small garages will find that consolidating many of your materials into a larger cart you are saving valuable floor space, instead of the equivalent volume of multiple smaller bins, boxes and you now have three carts with increased vertical space for your waste.

 


Do materials need to be bagged before being put in the carts?

Each cart is a little different:

  • Recyclables are to be placed in the cart with the blue lid and should NOT be bagged (with the exception of shredded paper) 
  • Garbage may be bagged or loose 
  • We recommend organics be bagged using certified compostable bags or wrapped in newspaper to minimize sticking inside the cart, reduce odours, etc.

How will I get the carts to the curb on collection day if I am elderly, disabled, have a long driveway, or if there is snow?

​Other communities that have implemented cart collection indicate that initially residents had similar concerns; however, after implementation the feedback on carts is very positive. 

Moving wheeled carts down the driveway is much easier and more ergonomic than carrying various blue boxes and garbage cans (handles are at a more convenient height than the current organic bins).

In other rural communities utilizing carts, many residents choose to leave their carts at the end of their driveway (off to the side) similar to a garbage box and bring material to deposit into their carts as needed (please check local municipal bylaws policies).

As for snow and winter conditions, many northern communities are successfully using carts such as Timmins Ontario, Winnipeg Manitoba and communities in Alaska.

 


How do I set my bins out for collection each week?

​Collections will continue on the same frequency, with weekly organics collection and alternating bi-weekly garbage and recycling collection, so residents will now have two carts ready to roll to the curb each week.

Instruction for setting out carts will be provided with the bin distribution, occurring between August and October 2021. A helpful tip is to follow the Rule of 2. When setting your carts out for collection, keep the carts 2 feet apart from each other and 2 feet from other all objects such as vehicles, mailboxes or fences.

Set carts within 8 feet of the travelled portion of the road so that the mechanical arm can pick up and return the carts to the same spot they were placed after collection occurs. Check out the Setting Out Carts ​page for more details. ​

Will my collection day change?

​As we move to our new automated cart collection system, your collection day may change. Your collection time will change. As new routes have been created, during the first months it's anticipated that routes may need to be adjusted. To ensure collection, it's always best to have materials out by 7 a.m.

We are moving to a four-day collection schedule to allow us to schedule missed collections due to weather or other impacts on Fridays, meaning that residents can expect more predictability to their service.

For more information on your collection day, or to receive real-time service alerts, download the Simcoe County Collects App.


What if my cart gets damaged?

​The County is implementing a cart maintenance and replacement program. Should your bins become damaged, please contact Service Simcoe or visit simcoe.ca for more details.

How does the change to carts impact seasonal residents and cottagers?

​Many of our seasonal residents are already familiar with collection carts at their primary residences.

In Simcoe County, cottagers on small rural roads will use carts and continue to be serviced using specialized smaller collection vehicles. 

In rural communities or cottage areas already using cart systems, many residents choose to leave their carts at the end of their driveway. Their carts are used as a replacement for garbage boxes.

Do the carts protect against animals, including bears?

​Carts have lids and our organics cart has a gravity locking system, which will keep critters out and automatically unlock when collected.

Carts are being widely utilized very successfully in other jurisdictions where bears are more prevalent including in Timmins and Sault Ste. Marie. If a bear has scavenged your cart, contact Service Simcoe for an alternative solution.

Will I be eligible for carts if I live in an apartment, condominium or on a private road?

You must be currently receiving curbside waste collection from the County of Simcoe to be eligible for cart collection. Condominium developments in Simcoe County typically provide their own waste services. Although not a requirement for municipalities, where technically feasible, the County is willing to arrange for waste collection, as per current arrangements. However, it is a decision of the condominium board as to whether that service is the most suitable for their own needs.

To determine eligibility for curbside waste collection service at your apartment, condominium development, or private road please have your property management company contact the County at service@simcoe.ca or 1-800-263-3199.​

What if I use a Common Collection Point (CCP)?

Carts will be distributed to residents that utilize a CCP, with efforts made to distribute directly to the residence. In some cases, where access for distribution is blocked (by a gate for example), carts may be left at the point beyond which access is no longer possible. 

​Residents will continue to use the CCP, either leaving carts there, similar to garbage boxes, or they may choose to keep carts at their residence and wheel them out on collection day.    

I live in a condo/multi res and we only want to participate in one stream. i.e. can we just place out garbage for bi-weekly collection and have private recycling?

​The County is not mandated to provide any service to commercial locations. 

For those that are eligible (the roads meet design standards and the units have ownership of waste) and wish to be serviced utilizing automated cart collection, the County takes an all-or-nothing approach to granting approval for County waste collection service. 

I live on a private road, but I am not part of a condo corporation, can opt out?

The short answer is yes, as the County is not obligated to service locations on private roads, residents can opt out; however, there is an all or nothing approach; all residents on the whole street and/or development must agree to discontinue County waste services. There is potential, for site permits to be issued which would require all residents to self haul the equivalent volumes and types of waste to a facility at no cost.

I have a multi-residential location with 5 units or under and on a municipal road, can I opt out?

Yes, you can contact us to advise you do not wish to receive service and that carts may be picked up; however, there is no subsidy or reduction to the County levy, no site permit, CPP or bag tags, etc. You will be responsible for managing the waste generated at the location at your own cost.


I live in a condo/multi-res 6+ units on a private or a municipal road can we opt out?

​Yes. As we are not obligated to service commercial locations (multi-residential locations with six or more units per property are considered commercial); however, there is an all or nothing approach. As such, the whole development/condo corporations or property managers need to make unanimous decision.

If we opt out now can we change our minds down the road and opt back in?

​If five units and under and located on a Municipal road, the County is mandated to provide service. Therefore if residents chose to opt out and subsequently changed their minds, we would resume service. There may also be a charge to re-deploy carts to the location.

If five units and under on a private road, residents would need to receive approval. 

If six units or more, condos or multi-res on private or Municipal roads, residents would need to re-apply, pay the application fee and go through the process. 

Approval would only be granted based on the current design standards, not automatically grandfathered due to prior service.

If carts are delivered and I don’t want them, do I bring them to sites or do you pick up?

​If a location is adamant about not wanting to use carts after being made aware of the potential implications, we would want an authorized representative to acknowledge, in writing, that they are aware of the implications (cost, ability to opt back in, etc.) and do not want to receive carts or waste collection service from the County. 

If we are able to halt distribution in advance, such that they don't receive carts in the first place, this would be preferred. Alternatively, we will pick up the carts to ensure asset tracking accuracy.  

What if I have extra material?

​After November 1, additional recycling must be placed in clear plastic bags or blue bins. Garbage tags must be purchased and affixed to any additional garbage. A maximum of five extra bags can be set out curbside on garbage weeks. Current size and weight restrictions still apply.

Please remember the rule of two applies after Novermber 1.  Set out extra materials a minimum of 2 feet away from either cart on the scheduled collection day for that material.

What is the cost of this program?

The cost of waste collection service is increasing significantly across the province. Recently, some local municipalities have seen waste collection costs double for the identical service level. The cost of automated cart collection is estimated at $315 annually for the average County home, including the cost of carts, collection service, disposal or processing fees for the various materials collected and related administrative costs. This investment will result in significant improvements to the reliability to our collection system.

The County is always searching for the most cost-effective solution. County Councillors voted for new carts with all black cart bodies and lids that are coloured to indicate contents. This option has resulted in an approximate $180,000 savings versus having individually coloured bins. The all-black bodies also contain a higher percentage of recycled materials, representing a wise choice for the environment as well as the budget.


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