Winter is Coming… and the waste collection crews are too…

Like the fantasy author George RR Martin has been warning us for some time “Winter is coming.” But even if you’re not a Game of Thrones fan, or living in the Kingdoms of Westeros, there’s no denying a major snowfall is here!

You can feel the chill in the air, and those warm summer mornings of running your Blue Box to the curb in your boxer shorts are over. We need to be prepared for the long winter ahead! So take a minute to consider these suggestions for making winter waste collection a little easier for yourself and the collection crews.

These Blue Boxes might prove to be a challenge collecting.

These Blue Boxes will prove a challenge to collect.

Snow banks can create a number of challenges for the collection crews and home-owners. Please don’t place your waste material on top of snow banks. Ideally, place your material a foot or two back from the road surface at the end of your driveway and off the sidewalk where it’s clearly visible from the street. You may need to clear a space next to the end of your driveway if your driveway entrance is narrow. The crews cannot be climbing snow banks to retrieve items for safety reasons, and they may inadvertently miss your material if it’s hidden from view.

The other problem with snow is it has a tendency to melt. That snow bank you’ve perched your Blue Box on at 7 a.m. might not be frozen by noon! This can lead to toppled waste containers and litter during the day.

Can you spot the garbage bag? No luck? Hint: it's a white bag on first driveway

Can you spot the garbage bag? No luck? Hint: it’s a white bag on first driveway

Oh, and don’t forget about the snow plow! The plow operator will do their best to avoid bins in the street, but in a game of chicken with the plow, your GreenCart will lose every time. If the weather is very severe, or a major storm forecast, you may want to consider holding your material until the next pick-up date. If unsure, check our website for any potential collection delays due to weather or follow us on Twitter.

Along with the snow, the cold temperatures can present some challenges. If you’re finding items freezing inside your GreenCart, try lining it with some newspaper or place items in a paper bag or a BPI certified bag. Put items with a high moisture content in a cereal or cracker box. Worse case, you’ll get some newspaper stuck in your bin and not last week’s leftovers coming back for a third time.

It’s hard to believe the holiday season is right around the corner. Please remember to check your collection schedule to ensure you don’t forget your correct collection day. This year, Christmas Day falls on a Wednesday, so if your collection day is normally Wednesday to Friday, you will have a one day delay. Remember: Boxing Day is a working day for the crews. The same schedule applies for New Year’s week with the holiday on the Wednesday.

Hopefully all this talk of snow and ice hasn’t brought you down. Just remember to look on the bright side, winter only lasts for a few months in southern Ontario, it could be worse; we could live in the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros and be in for a 10-year winter.

And if you have no idea what I’m talking about my last piece of advice would be to pick up a copy of The Game of Thrones or watch the HBO television series. It will keep you entertained on those cold winter evenings.

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.
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