New Curbside Waste Collection Services Start Oct. 19, 2020

The new waste collection contract starts Oct. 19, 2020 and includes the following changes:

  • Every-other-week garbage collection and weekly Blue/Grey Box and Green Bin collection
  • Discontinue curbside collection of large appliances and scrap metal
  • Four item weekly limit per collection, per eligible property for large household items
  • Weekly collection of diapers and waste resulting from a medical condition (registration required)

Residents can still set out the same volume of garbage. For example, residents who currently have a limit of one container (bag/can) per week can put out two containers every-other-week. Only the frequency of collection changes, not the limit.

Reasons for Every-Other-Week Collection

Niagara's diversion rate (the percentage of waste not going to landfill) has levelled off to around 57 per cent, so it was decided to make service changes which would reduce the amount of recyclables and organic waste going into our landfills

We continue to send about 43 per cent of our waste to landfills. To reduce the amount of recyclables and organic waste heading to our landfills, we need to make service changes.

Waste Management proposed every-other-week collection for the following reasons:

  • Municipal best practice

    About 70 per cent of our municipal comparators (Barrie, Durham, Halton, Markham, Ottawa, Toronto, Vaughan, Peel and Waterloo) provide every-other-week collection. Waterloo Region was the most recent of Niagara's municipal comparators to switch to every-other-week garbage collection. The report showed there was an overall reduction of waste going to landfill. Residents were able to:

    • Increase Blue Box recycling by eight per cent
    • Increase Green Bin organics by 120 per cent
    • Increase yard waste by four per cent
    • Decrease waste to landfill by 29 per cent
  • Increased waste diversion

    Diversion rates (waste diverted from disposal) increased between 6 and 16 per cent for these municipal comparators.

    Municipalities reported a reduction in waste going to landfill between 6 per cent (Peel) and 16 per cent (Durham). This depended on whether the municipality introduced other diversion programs (like organics) at the same time as every-other-week garbage collection.

    Our waste audit results show about 50 per cent of what residents put in their garbage is organic waste and should go in the Green Bin.

    Shifting to every-other-week collection will encourage residents to put these organics in the Green Bin for weekly collection to avoid odours and reduce storage demands.

  • Contract cost avoidance

    Shifting to every-other-week garbage collection does come with some cost avoidance of approximately $1 million per year. Removing food waste from the landfill also provides many environmental and economic benefits.

  • Regional landfill capacity

    By reducing the amount of garbage sent to landfills, we can extend the life of our existing landfills and defer the need to spend millions on new capacity.

    Limiting unnecessary food waste in our landfills also reduces the amount of leachate and methane gas which helps avoid future costs to maintain sites and helps lessen methane emissions and reduce our carbon footprint. It also helps with the conservation of non-renewable resources.

Benefits

Some key environmental and financial benefits of every-other-week garbage collection include:

  • Extended lifespan for open Regional landfills
  • Increase in the participation and capture rates in Niagara Region diversion programs
    • Only 48 per cent of Niagara's low density residential households use the Green Bin program
    • Industrial, commercial and institutional and mixed use audits show recycling and organics diversion programs are underutilized
    • Only 34 per cent of industrial, commercial and institutional and 61 per cent of mixed use properties outside downtown business area participate in the recycling program
  • Reduction of organics being landfilled will result in less methane emissions reducing the landfill carbon footprint for climate change reduction
  • Improved leachate quality, which lessens the potential for environmental impact
  • Long-term cost reduction with care and control of landfill sites
  • Increased net processing revenue from the sale of more recyclables due to increased volumes
  • Conservation of non-renewable resources

Increased Costs

Niagara Region has seen an overall increase in the cost of collection contract compared to the current contract.

In addition to significant price increases over the last decade that have affected contract costs (Ontario has seen prices increasing from 20 to 114 per cent), pricing from the current collection provider was approximately $4,000,000 less annually than the next lowest bidder. Things like labour, insurance, fuel and vehicle / technology costs have affected contract pricing.

Every-other-week garbage collection provides opportunities for cost-avoidance.

Communication Campaign and Tools

Prior to the start of the new waste collection contract, residents can expect an extensive communication campaign starting in June 2020, leading up to the start of the contract on Oct. 19, 2020.

To help residents with the transition, we're developing a web and mobile application that will allow residents to determine how to properly dispose of recyclables and garbage, look up their collection day, and sign up for collection reminders.

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