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Skip Navigation LinksSimcoe County > Departments > Solid Waste Management > Cart Collection > Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions


I just moved here and don’t have any carts - what do I do?

Please contact our Service Simcoe Contact Centre at 1-800-263-3199 or email service@simcoe.ca. They will be able to assist getting carts delivered to eligible households/businesses. If you are renting, please have your landlord or property manager contact service Simcoe on your behalf.

What is automated cart collection?

​The County utilizes an automated cart collection system, which is an easy and safe method for curbside waste collection.

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 did the County move to automated cart collection?

Carts are used across North America by an estimated 60-70% of municipalities because they are easier, safer and provide a better overall service to residents. Our four-day collection schedule  helps ensure a more consistent service, with the flexibility for our vehicles to return to any missed areas on Fridays so residents no longer have to store their materials for an extra week if missed on their regular collection day​

  • 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 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?

The default cart sizes 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 (5 garbage bags per serviced unit maximum) can be placed at the curb beside the carts.

Here are the precise dimensions of the default carts:

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

Smaller sizes of garbage and recycling carts are available (fees may apply). Click here for more information on our Size Swap program.​

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 

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

​There are many ways to re-purpose your old bins:

  • Keep your old bins handy for occasional *overflow materials that do not fit into your cart on collection day.
  • Residents with long driveways may choose to leave their carts at the end (off to the side until collection day) and use their old bins to bring material from their homes to their carts
  • Use old recycling boxes of garbage cans (with lid removed) for yard waste and garden trimmings 
  • Use to store waste before consolidating into your cart
  • Moving/storing construction material, firewood, etc.
  • Recycling boxes can be used for garage organization
  • Green bins work great to store pet food, bird seed, sand or sidewalk salt
  • Garbage cans can be used to store rakes, shovels or hockey sticks 

*Overflow garbage must have a garbage tag affixed.

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.

If you are still struggling with the default cart sizes, you may wish to consider a size swap to smaller carts.


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

​Collections occur weekly for organics and on an alternating bi-weekly schedule for garbage and recycling collection, so residents will have two carts to roll to the curb each week.

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. ​

Helpful tip: Setting out your organics carts in the unlocked position helps extend the life of your carts. However, organics carts can be set out locked, and the latch will automatically unlock during the collection process. This can help deter critters. 

How can I check my collection day?

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

To ensure collection, it's always best to have materials out by 7 a.m.

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.

Do the carts protect against animals, including bears?

Animal interference in waste is common across all methods of waste collection, and in all areas. While bears do inhabit parts of Simcoe County, they do not pose a significant obstacle to automated cart collection. Automated cart collection occurs successfully in may parts of North America with higher and larger bear populations, including British Columbia, Alaska, the Yukon Territories, etc. Though carts are not responsible for more bears in Simcoe County, responsible waste habits will help to limit their impact.

To help avoid attracting bears, we recommend:

  • Preparation - Cottage areas are known to have a very low participation in the organics program. Food waste is the primary attractant for animals; therefore, fully utilizing the existing organics carts is another reasonable and quick solution to help limit animal interference with recycling and garbage carts. The gravity lock on the green cart will help to deter smaller animals from getting into your organics cart.
  • Placement - It is best if all waste is securely stored to minimize potential animal interference, such as in a garage or shed. If space is an issue, prioritize the indoor storage of your green cart, as it contains all food waste. Residents may choose to use their old storage methods, such as bearproof containers and transfer waste into carts prior to collection.
  • Set-out - Delay setting out your materials until as closely as possible to the day of collection (preferably only moved out for collection on the collection day). If smells from your organic material is an issue, some residents freeze their green cart material during the summertime and set it in their cart prior to collection. This is a great way to reduce odours and cut down on potential wildlife encounters.

Staff have procured a small compliment of specialized bear carts. However, the cost of bear carts is significantly greater than the standard set of carts. Council approved bear carts be deployed in the replacement of standard carts that are damaged or destroyed by a bear as confirmed by County staff investigation. Staff will deploy bear carts where necessary. Click here​ for more info on bears.

If you have a cart that has been damaged or destroyed by a nuisance bear, please contact Service Simcoe at service@simcoe.ca or 1-800-263-3199 for investigation. Please note that given the size, strength and determination of bears, no cart will ever be fully 'bearproof', and these more expensive carts will still require residents to take practical steps like those outlined above when living in bear territory.

Am I eligible for cart collections if I live in an apartment, condominium or on a private road?

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.​

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.

What if I have extra material?

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. Size and weight restrictions apply.

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.