What is changing?
Starting February 3, 2020, garbage and recycling collection will occur on alternating weeks, while green bin collection will continue every week.
What this means…
- No change to your regular collection day. Collection times will change, so have your materials out by 7 a.m. on your collection day
- Green bin collection will continue to occur every week
- Garbage and recycling collection will alternate every other week (one week garbage the next week recycling)
- Residents can set out two bags/containers of garbage every other week (weight and size restrictions still apply)
- Recycling no longer needs to be separated into different bins. Materials will be sorted later in the process
- Excess recyclables can be placed in bins, cardboard boxes or see-through plastic bags
Will my collection day and time change?
No. Collection days are not changing; however, collection times will be adjusted. Collection times may continue to change over the following few collection weeks as crews learn and adjust to the new routes. To ensure collection, residents are reminded to have materials out to their curb by 7 a.m. on their regular collection day.
Why are we making this change?
In late 2019, County residents experienced service delays and missed collections as a result of the labour challenges affecting our contractor, Waste Connections of Canada. The shortage of available labour is an industry-wide issue and continuing to bring in additional resources from other companies to fill open routes is not feasible long-term. This change will immediately assist our contractor with their staffing challenges by reducing the number of drivers required each day. This transition will also mitigate the need to increase our costs for alternate solutions, benefit the environment by promoting greater participation in our green bin program and help restore confidence that our residents' waste materials will be collected on schedule.
What are the benefits of making this change?
This change will help restore predictability, lead to long-term environmental benefits, encourage residents to positively adjust their waste habits and control costs, since it:
- Reduces the number of trucks required each day, which will assist in addressing the labour shortages that our contractor is facing
- Lowers greenhouse gas emissions produced by collection vehicles by reducing the number of trucks on the road each day
- Encourages use of green bins and promotes increased diversion (40 per cent of the average garbage bag consists of items that should go in the green bin)
- Helps keep organic materials out of landfills and thereby extends the lifespan of landfills
- Encourages reduction of single-use plastics, cans and containers
- Helps control contractual costs
Do other municipalities in Ontario provide bi-weekly/alternating collection service?
Yes. Many other municipalities in Ontario already have variations of bi-weekly/alternating collection schedules. The cities of Barrie, Orillia and Toronto, as well as Peel, Durham, Halton, Waterloo and York Regions all offer variations of bi-weekly/alternating collection programs. This change will help the County to better conform to future waste management legislation promoting increased diversion and help prepare residents for potential industry-wide changes to recycling collection services in future.
Is this a permanent change?
The change to collecting garbage and recycling on alternating weeks and green bins weekly will bridge us until a new contract can start in late 2021. The County is currently expediting the Request for Proposals (RFP) process for the next collections contract. Many options are being considered including automated cart collection. However, this will not happen quickly given the significant lead time required to order and take delivery of a fleet of up to 60 collection trucks and to get the staffing and yard / service shops required to support such a fleet.
Does this mean my garbage limits/volumes have been cut in half?
No. While garbage collection set out is now every other week, the limit has been expanded to two (2) containers/bags on each garbage collection day. Size and weight limits remain the same, meaning that there is no change to the total volume or weight of garbage allowed for collection.
There is also no change to recycling quantities as residents can set out extra bins, cardboard boxes or clear bags with recycling materials every other week.
Does this mean I’ll have to put up with smelly garbage for two weeks?
No. The vast majority of a typical garbage bag that can cause
odours is food waste – all of which should be diverted from garbage disposal
through the green bin which is collected weekly. To reduce the smell of odourous items such as diapers, we recommend that they be placed in a sealed bag and then put in the garbage. To support residents not wanting to store diapers for two weeks, the County is offering free drop-off of diapers when placed in a sealed clear bag at all County Waste Management Facilities.
What happens if I have extra recycling, garbage or organics?
Residents will still be entitled to the same limits and volumes of garbage/recycling/green bin as before just on alternating weeks.
On garbage collection weeks, residents can place out 2 untagged bags of garbage, each being no larger than 80 litres and no heavier than 20kg. Up to 6 additional tagged bags of garbage may be placed curbside in regular garbage bags with a purchased bag-tag attached (weight and volume guidelines still apply) on garbage weeks.
Residents may place unlimited recycling out on their recycling week. Extra recycling may be placed in cardboard boxes (which will also be collected) or clear plastic bags beside their recycle bins.
Residents may place out unlimited green bin materials each week.
Will the County provide additional blue and green bins?
Extra recycling materials be placed in recyclable containers such as carboard boxes, or bagged separately in clear plastic bags. To support overflow of recyclables due to alternating collection weeks, the County is be offering a FREE Blue Bin to residents. Vouchers for the free blue bins will be mailed to each home early in the new year. Blue Bins are available for pick-up at County Waste Facilities (one per household with proof of a County of Simcoe address, while quantities last until the end of February, 2020). For a list of waste facilities, click here. The County is not providing additional green bins as weekly collections will continue as before, however residents may continue to purchase additional green bins from County Waste Management Facilities or at home improvement stores.
What items can go in my green bin?
Using the green bin reduces greenhouse gas production. Methane is emitted during the decomposition of organics in the landfill and is 25 times more harmful than carbon dioxide. Removing green bin material from the garbage also saves disposal capacity for other materials which cannot be diverted and saving space now avoids increased costs to manage your waste in the future.
Currently, 40 per cent of items in the average garbage bag should go in the green bin. This includes all food scraps, pet waste and tissues. To find out what goes in the green bin, consult the Waste Wizard through the Simcoe County Collects app, or download our Sorting Guide.
Do I still need to separate/sort my recycling?
Residents will not have to separate their paper fibres from their containers. Materials can be set out at the curb mixed together in the same bins, which will simplify the process for residents and reduce recycling being left behind due to improper sorting. Collected recycling will be sorted at a processing facility. Single-stream collection is the predominant method in Ontario.
Will recycling still be diverted through single-stream collection?
Yes, recycling will still be diverted. Recycling will now be collected in a single stream, meaning residents will not have to separate their paper fibres from their containers. The recycling materials collected will be transferred to our processor who will then sort the materials into multiple streams at their facility. Single-stream collection is the predominant method in Ontario.
What do I do if any of my materials are missed?
Additional collections due to weather delays will be provided based on truck and crew availability and include collection on Saturdays. Notifications and alerts to residents will be provided through the Simcoe County Collects App as well as posting the information online at www.simcoe.ca
How do I get the Simcoe County Collects app?
The Simcoe County Collects app is available for free through Google Play or the App Store. More than 20,000 residents have already downloaded the app to receive notifications specific to their address.
If I don’t have the app, what other tools are there to be notified if missed?
If the app is not an option for you, there are other tools such as visiting https://www.simcoe.ca/dpt/swm/when to sign up for email alerts or phone call alerts. Notifications are also posted on www.simcoe.ca and through Twitter (@simcoecountycs, @simcoecounty) and Facebook (@CountyofSimcoe). If you do not have access to the internet, you can contact 1-800-263-3199 to be signed up for phone alerts.
If my recycling or garbage is missed can I take it to the landfill for free?
Yes. Residential recycling and organics can be brought to any County Waste Management Facility free of charge. If your garbage is missed, you can drop off up to 2 bags of untagged garbage at County of Simcoe Waste Facilities. Identification indicating your 911 address is required.
As a seasonal resident, how will this impact me?
All units will be treated equally under this system. Seasonal residents receive the same collection as full-time residents. Waste collectors will continue to service garbage boxes from locations that elect to keep their waste neatly contained in a garbage box. Please download the Simcoe County Collects app (available for free through Google
Play or the App Store) to determine your collection week and receive reminders.
Will this impact other curbside collection services such as Leaf and Yard or Christmas Tree Collections?
No. Special collections such as leaf and yard waste, Christmas trees, batteries and textiles will not change. The 2020 dates for these programs can be found in your Waste Calendar (which will arrive at households in January), on the Simcoe County Collections App and/or can be found on simcoe.ca.
Why can’t the County just hire another contractor?
there is not another contractor able to supply over 60 trucks and associated
staff to service our region. The County has already hired all available outside
contractors to assist with collections. The County is working on a Request for Proposals
(RFP) document for a new contractor to take over collections. However, this
will not happen quickly given the significant lead time required to order and receive
a fleet of collection trucks and to get the staffing and yard / service shops
required to support such a fleet. A new contract is anticipated to start in
How did we get to this point in the process?
Efforts to obtain alternative service providers confirmed that it is not possible to secure a large fleet of 60+ vehicles quickly. The County hired all available outside contractors to assist with collection and fill open routes, and prioritized garbage and green bin organics collection; however, ongoing costs to source additional contractors from outside the County to fill routes are unsustainable long-term. The County had to determine the best option to provide predictability and consistency of collection, while promoting diversion and benefitting the environment. The County is also expediting the Request for Proposals (RFP) process for the next collections contract.
Will I be getting a refund on my taxes?
We certainly understand that our residents are upset when their waste materials are not collected. This service is paid for through the County of Simcoe's tax levy, at an average cost of approximately $165 per year, per serviced unit. This covers the full net cost of waste collections, transfer, haulage and processing/disposal costs. The County is holding our waste collections contractor responsible for costs incurred to County taxpayers.
How is it that my taxes are going up, but the service level is changing?
Waste Management is paid for through the County of Simcoe's tax levy. The average cost is approximately $165 per year, per serviced unit. This cost covers not only the full net cost of waste collections, but also transfer, haulage and processing/disposal costs. The weights and volumes of materials being serviced for collections are not being reduced. The frequency of collection is moving to alternate weeks to provide increased consistency on collection days and reduce the carbon footprint of collections from emissions and promoting diversion of organic materials from the garbage to the green bin. This is an interim mitigation strategy to the current labour shortages being experienced by our current contractor and a frustrating inconsistency of collections experienced by our residents. We certainly understand that our residents are upset when their waste materials are not collected, and we are holding our waste collections contractor responsible for costs incurred by the County.
Will I be receiving a Waste Calendar?
Yes. All County of Simcoe residences will receive a calendar in January 2020, before the changes take effect on February 3.
What can I do with diapers to help reduce odours?
To reduce odours caused by diapers, we recommend that they be placed in a sealed bag and then put in the garbage. To support our residents with this transition, the County is also offering free drop-off of diapers when placed in a sealed clear bag at all County Waste Management Facilities. Long-term, the County is considering adding diapers to it's green bin program. This would be considered after the potential development of a County-managed Organics Processing Facility.