Winter’s no wonderland for waste collectors
You battle blowing snow and icy roads on your way home from work to discover your garbage, organics, and recycling have not been collected—or worse—blowing up and down your street.
We’ve been there and we know how you feel; it’s frustrating and leaves you asking the same two questions: why was my garbage missed and when will it be collected?
Although there are many reasons a scheduled collection may be missed, concerns with road safety due to severe weather conditions is often the culprit. Waste collection is difficult on the best of days and is regularly listed as one of the top 10 most dangerous jobs; add winter weather to the mix and you’ve got a recipe for disaster.
The County has established a variety of methods and processes to assist residents in better understanding what is happening with collections in their area. This includes working closely with local media outlets, posting waste collection impact notices on our website (simcoe.ca), and social media posts on both Facebook and Twitter.
We believe the most helpful outreach resource is the Waste Schedule tool, which can be found at simcoe.ca/wasteschedule. By entering your address into the tool, subscribers can choose their method of communication—phone call, email, or Twitter direct message. The service can also remind you when it’s your collection day or when you should put your Christmas tree at the curb. It will also let you know if there are collection issues/concerns or cancellations and what is being done to manage them.
705-726-9300 or 1-866-893-9300
(Monday to Friday 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.)
As you can see, we’re doing many things to ensure the needs of our residents are met without putting anyone needlessly in harm’s way.
Contracted collections drivers are trained professionals and we take the safety of those workers and our residents seriously, believing that risking life or limb to ensure waste is collected on unsafe days is not a risk we’re willing to take.
Commercial driving licenses limit service hours to 13 hours per day and a total of 60 hours per week, and when difficult road conditions present themselves, trucks must operate more slowly. Compounding this issue has been delays due to trucks ending up in the ditch because of weather-related road conditions. There have been several days this winter when as many as 10 of the 60 collection trucks have been in the ditch at any one time awaiting a tow. Additionally, unloading extra holiday waste volumes reduces time available for collection; this lost time adds up quickly and, at the end of the day, despite operating late into the evening, not every area may be fully serviced.
Although the winter of 2016/17 has already been a difficult one in terms of localized missed or delayed collections, we have not experienced region-wide cancellations. We have been forced to reroute trucks to areas where road conditions were more conducive to collections.
Our normal procedure for areas missed on any one day is to collect double on the next week. We know this is seen as an inconvenience, but it allows us to properly manage the impact and keep it from accumulating and affecting other serviceable areas. If we were to push the collection to the next day, from Monday to Tuesday for example, we will have then impacted the entire County rather than a portion of the route.
We ask that you remain patient whenever unsavory weather leads to missed collections; we promise to do our best to ensure your garbage, recycling, and organics is picked up.
County of Simcoe