As curbside collection woes continue across Simcoe County, council is looking ahead two years to the next waste collection contract.
At a meeting today, council recommended to staff that two options be included in a request for proposals. The current contract expires in November 2021.
One option, amended by council, is for manual weekly collection of organics and bi-weekly collection alternating between garbage and recycling. The other option is an automated version of the same thing.
Where manual requires workers to lift and unload waste, automation involves a truck that uses a hydraulic arm to lift the carts.
The current contractor has been plagued by a labour shortage, forcing the County to make garbage and organics collection a priority, resulting in blue recycling bins being missed, sometimes for days at a time.
The County says the shortage appears to be the result of the physical aspect of the job, limiting the labour pool, in conjunction with the adverse working conditions caused by weather and the nature of the materials they are handling.
If the County goes with the bi-weekly option, residents would be provided with carts, about 360 litres for recycling, 200 or 240 litre carts for garbage, and significantly larger carts for organics, though the size has not been determined.
Simcoe County’s Solid Waste Management Director Rob McCullough says either option in the Request for Proposals to every other week garbage collection already takes place in many municipalities and that has significantly inspired residents to divert more material, especially organics.
“We do a great job in diverting recycling in Simcoe County. We are among the best in the province when we look at actually what’s in the garbage bag. There is very little recycling,” says McCullough. “There is a heck of a lot of organics. Both of the options we are pursuing have the ability to divert more of that material.”
As for tackling the immediate curbside collection problems, Simcoe County Warden George Cornell says staff is working on an interim solution and he hopes there will be an announcement in the next few weeks.