Tips to help your waste collector out

Your neighbourhood waste collection operator has a tough job.  This summer’s weather has made their job even tougher due to the extreme temperatures we’ve experienced.

We know you want to get rid of it, but please put it in a garbage bag! And cut and bundle that wood (0.6 m x 1.2 m).

I recently asked one of our contractor collection staff how he was managing in the heat.  He replied and shrugged, “You get used to it, the body adjusts.”

I got to thinking about his comment as I wiped the sweat from my own brow.  I was already sweating and I was standing in the shade!  He had already collected Blue Boxes and GreenCarts from a couple hundred households that day, and after emptying his truck, he was preparing to go out for another few hundred.  I thought to myself, “Was there any way we could all make his day a little easier?”

Cardboard should be bundled and tied 90cm x 90cm x 30cm. A noble attempt here.

We call your waste at the curb a “set out.”  A neat and organized “set out” can be picked up quickly and easily by the collectors.  A messy and unorganized “set out” not only slows down collection, but can also cause injuries or other issues.  If lots of households have messy “set outs,” that impacts our ability to get waste materials off of the streets quickly.

Here are some things that you can do to make it easier on your waste collector.  I promise you, your efforts will make a big difference!

  • Do not overfill your garbage containers.  Collecting one big garbage bag is quicker for the crews than collecting two small bags, but please remember to save your collector’s back — bags cannot be heavier than 23 kg (50 lbs).   It’s easy to forget how heavy a container has become if it has wheels and you aren’t the one actually lifting it.   If you think the weight in one container is close to 50 lbs. consider putting garbage in two garbage bins. Also check the size of your container prior to purchasing, because there is a limit.
  • Don’t overstuff your Blue Boxes.  If you have items sticking up over the edges of your Blue Box, they are more likely to catch the wind and get blown away as litter.  There’s no limit to the number of Blue Boxes you can set out.  Try these tips to keep recycling secured.
  • Put waste on your curb, not the street.  This makes it easier for the collection trucks and residential vehicles to navigate the street.
  • Put your Blue Boxes next to your GreenCart.  Honestly, a straight line of Blue Boxes and GreenCarts is best — no fancy, alternating patterns please! Don’t stack garbage bags in front or on top of your Blue Boxes or GreenCart.  This makes more work for the collectors to sort and separate.  You can also pick up additional Blue Boxes if you need them.
  • Contact us.  Dial 311 if you have a waste related question or your waste is not collected; we are here to help.  Also, try our online service request tools.  Please don’t chase the collection truck down the street in your pajamas — and never try to toss your waste into the collection trucks by yourself.
  • Always make sure your items are easily accessible from the curb.  Ditches, basketball hoops, and angry dogs are just a few hazards your collector may encounter.
  • Bulk waste pick up is for large items like sofas, chairs, etc.  Smaller items such as small mats, broken brooms and furnace filters go in a garbage bag or can.  Please do not place these items loose at the curb.
  • Break down that cardboard!  Placing cardboard boxes at the curb without collapsing and bundling makes it difficult for the crews to fit in the recycling truck.  It can also create litter.  Bundle and tie cardboard no larger than 3ft x 3ft x 1ft (90cm x 90cm x 30cm).
  • Watch the sharps!  Try and wrap up any sharp objects (like broken glass) that may cause a hazard to collection staff.  Needless to say, needles, syringes and lancets are a definite no-no! Your local pharmacy will likely take back those items instead.

This set out will be nice and easy for the collectors to pick up.

Residents of Halton Region should feel proud that they are some of the most dedicated recyclers in the province.  They are interested and engaged in Halton’s waste management programs, and want to do their part.

Just remember the next time you’re rushing your waste to the curb last minute, give some extra thought to how you set it out.  You may just help make someone else’s day a little easier.

About Ben Morris

Hi, I'm Ben. I have been working in Halton Region's Waste Management department for over 10 years. I am currently responsible for administering and supervising our waste collection, transfer, and processing contracts. I basically make sure your waste is collected each week. I have degree in Environmental Resource Science and a passion for the outdoors and spending time with my young family. I am always interested in hearing new and innovative ideas about waste management.
This entry was posted in Blue Box, GreenCart, Houses, Recycle and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Tips to help your waste collector out

  1. Chris says:

    Just wondering what is preferred for pickup….a garbage bag in a garbage can, lose garbage in a garbage can or just a garbage bag at the curb? I do think a garbage bag in a container is redundent. What would you prefer? Can’t wait for the blue boxes with lids!

  2. Steve ONLAND says:

    Introducing The Binpad Products curbside recycling improvement tool. Designed to keep garbage receptacles and blue bins standing during the entire curbside service. No more tipped bins caused by wind, no more guessing of were to place bins for pickup. The product creates a more aesthetically pleasing residential service as well as reducing the cost of broken and lost bins. check us out at Facebook/binpadproducts.

  3. Pingback: Tips to help your waste collector out | HaltonRecycles |

  4. Ben Morris says:


    Thanks for your question. Even if you are using a garbage bin, we encourage you to put your waste inside a garbage bag. Using a bag will potentially prevent debris from creating litter when the bin is tipped into the garbage truck. Using a bag can also help prevent your garbage bin from becoming dirty or messy.

    Halton Region is exploring different options to help reduce Blue Box litter, including introducing a larger Blue Box that residents could pick up from Halton starting in spring 2013. Another option is a Blue Box with a lid that residents could purchase from Halton, again starting in spring 2013.

    Ben Morris, Supervisor of Waste Collection Operations, Halton Region

    • Steve ONLAND says:

      Hi Ben It seems that the service companies continue to disagree with the use of lids on the recycling containers as they really hamper the id of the contents and cause the materials to get caught inside. During my research it is evident that homeowners are learning proper packing practises and have access to extra bins if necessary .

      • Steve ONLAND says:

        The major issue is that these taller. blue boxes are more likely to blow over. Also a improvement to the current system must include the aesthetics and include a solution to the numbers of broken bins and organic wheel bins. Installation of The BinPad on residential properties addresses all these major concerns and shows improvement without comprising any standard procedures.

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