The public information campaign to support the changes in waste collection coming this fall was rolled out at Niagara Region’s Public Works Committee yesterday (on June 16).Starting Oct. 19, which is Waste Reduction Week in Canada, curbside garbage will be collected every-other-week from all properties outside a designated business area. The Blue Box, Grey Box and Green Bin will continue to be collected every week to increase waste diversion. Additional changes include a weekly four item limit for large household item collection (for eligible properties) and the discontinuation of curbside scrap metal collection. Container limits for Industrial, Commercial and Institutional and Mixed-Use properties will also be adjusted.
These service level changes coincide with the new waste collection contract awarded to two new collection companies – Green for Life and Miller Waste. The aim of these changes is to keep recyclable/organic material out of Niagara’s landfills, avoid unnecessary costs, and reduce Niagara’s collective impact on our climate.
“I know we can all do our part to keep even more waste out of the landfill,” said Regional Chair Jim Bradley. “Other regions in Ontario that have switched to every-other-week garbage collection have seen the organics collection and use of Green Bins increase, and in one region there was an increase of 120 per cent. Waterloo, Peel, Ottawa, Halton and even Toronto have already switched to every-other-week collection. In fact, 70 per cent of municipalities similar to, or larger than, Niagara have switched.”
As a former Minister of the Environment, Chair Bradley introduced the Blue Box recycling program across Ontario in the 1980s. “I’m proud to see how far we have come in waste diversion, but we all know how far we can still go to reduce, reuse and recycle,” he said.
A presentation at today’s Public Works Committee meeting outlined the public information campaign and various supports being put in place to inform residents and businesses about the changes and make the transition as smooth as possible.
The fact-based campaign was unveiled under the new brand “Box it. Bin it. Sort it.” and discussed the ways the public will learn about the changes. Included are:
- Direct-mail postcards sent to every household in Niagara
- Social media and digital advertising campaign
- Informational videos and animations
- Public service announcements
- Presentation materials for local schools
- Brochures and other print materials
- New Collection Guide to every household in Niagara
- Webinar presentations to business and community groups
- Direct letters to businessesPrint advertisements
- Collection vehicle advertisements
The campaign seeks to inform the public about the upcoming changes, emphasizing they are worth the effort, and that we all need to do our share.
“We are committed to providing residents and businesses with the information they need to help with this transition and to understand why the changes are being made,” said Catherine Habermebl, Director of Niagara Region Waste Management Services.
"These changes will save landfill space for waste that can’t be recycled or composted, avoid costs, save natural resources and reduce our impact on climate change,” said Habermebl.
Citing an often-misunderstood example, Habermebl went on to say, "For example, a lot of people think that organic waste decomposes in a landfill and becomes soil. It doesn’t. It breaks down and becomes methane gas, which is 20 times worse for the environment than carbon dioxide. Using your Green Bin keeps organic waste out of the landfill - it really is worth the effort.”
Currently, Niagara Region sees more than half of its curbside waste going into landfills, when it could actually be placed in the Blue/Grey Box or the Green Bin. Niagara Region waste audits show that only 48 per cent of Niagara residents are using a Green Bin. Out of Niagara's Industrial, Commercial, Institutional and Mixed-Use properties only 14 to 20 per cent are using the Green Bin program.
Niagara Region Waste Management Services also has a new web and mobile application in development which will allow users to identify their collection day, determine how to properly dispose of waste materials, provide an address specific calendar, receive waste collection reminders, and service alerts if any changes in their collection arise and more. The application will be available in the summer in advance of the changes.
As well, a new online payment tool is launching this week where residents can purchase curbside containers (Blue/Grey Box and Green Bin) and select a pick-up location, subject to physical distancing restrictions, which may continue to be in effect due to COVID-19. A list of all locations that sell curbside containers is available online.
Although Niagara Region is working with the new contractors to minimize the changes in collection days, it is anticipated that some collection days will be changed when the new contracts start on Oct. 19. As well, residents should use any current Refrigerant Removal stickers before this date. Where there are changes, Niagara Region will communicate those to the public.
Residents who dispose of diapers or medical waste generated as a result of a medical condition can register for diaper and medical exemptions and weekly pickup starting July 6. In order to reduce the number of trucks on the road, promote waste reduction and reduce indirect costs to taxpayers, Niagara Region asks that only residents unable to dispose of this waste every-other-week apply for weekly collection. Alternatively, residents can switch to a cloth diaper service, which is better for the environment. Those who already have an existing exemption do not need to reapply unless their exemption is expiring.
More information about the collection changes can be found online or by phoning the Waste Info-Line Monday to Friday 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. at 905-356-4141 or toll-free: 1-800-594-5542.
The following changes are taking place, starting Oct. 19, 2020:
Low Density Residential Properties (6 units or less, and single homes)*
1. Garbage will be collected every-other-week. 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. (Exceeding the limits will require a tag to be purchased. Locations for garbage tags are listed online.)
2. Scrap metal will no longer be collected curbside. Residents can still recycle them at the Region’s Drop-off Depots, or through scrap metal haulers / dealers.
3. There will be a four item limit, per week, for large household item pickups. Registration is required for this collection.
*Low Density Residential Properties include: legal basement apartments, single-family, semi-detached, townhouses and cottage properties with up to six (6) cottages/residential units, duplex, triplex, fourplex, fiveplex, sixplex, boarding homes, or structures with six (6) or more units that are considered horizontal, row or townhouses or condo housing, vertical structures where all units have a primary exterior door directly accessing ground level that is visible from the collection point (including stacked townhouse structures), trailer parks, Bed and Breakfast establishments with three (3) rooms or fewer and residential farms.
Multi-Residential Buildings (7 or more units)**
Every-other-week garbage collection. Two-container limit per unit, to a max of 24 containers per building.
** Multi-residential buildings include all of the following that have seven (7) or more units/rooms: condominiums and rentals, nursing and retirement homes, mixed-use properties, cottage properties, rooming/boarding houses and vertical structures (stacked townhouses or similar style) where one or more unit does not have a primary external access door directly accessing ground level.
Mixed-Use Properties*** Inside Designated Business Areas
Weekly garbage collection of four (4) containers per property (reduced from seven), as a base level of service.
*** Mixed-Use Properties are buildings that contain retail or offices and residential unit(s) above or attached behind.
Mixed-Use Properties Outside Designated Business Areas
Every-other-week garbage collection of eight (8) containers per property (change from six weekly).
Industrial, Commercial & Institutional Buildings (IC&I) **** Inside Designated Business Areas
Weekly collection of four (4) containers per building (reduced from seven), as a base level of service
Industrial, Commercial & Institutional Buildings (IC&I) Outside Designated Business Areas
Every-other-week collection of eight (8) containers
There will be no changes to weekly collection of the Green Bin, Blue and Grey recycling boxes for all property types.