A standard garbage can with an easy-to-remove lid can be a good alternative to a bag.
Submitted by Jacqui Wakefield
on behalf of the MNBP Waste Management and Diversion Committee

Winter has been gentle with us so far, with a prolonged spell of milder than normal temperatures. However, without a doubt we will see snow and gusty winds in the weeks ahead!

This means we will face seasonal challenges for collection of waste and recycling. To help make collection easy, efficient and safe for all, residents are encouraged to follow the suggestions below when placing items at the curb. Waste Management Canada has provided some guidance, and local residents have added ideas based on their experiences.

Watch for ice & freezing. Be very careful taking your blue box and waste bags to the curb. When temperatures hover around the freezing mark, patches of hidden ice are common. In addition, the recycling boxes can freeze to the ground and trying to pick them up too quickly may cause injury. Keeping your boxes and bins in a cold space, and ensuring that recyclables are dry, can minimize this.

Keep your bins visible, accessible and at ground level. Place items at the end of your driveway. If end-of-driveway snowbanks pile up, keep your blue boxes and garbage bags/bins to the right of your driveway (as you look out to the road) if possible, so the drivers can see them as they approach. Some residents have been using reflectors to mark the spot where permanent bins are placed. This can help drivers see them.

Clear away snow and ice that may accumulate. If the snow is high, perhaps shovel a shelf. Do not put your blue boxes or waste bins/bags on top of a snowbank. Collection crews are not permitted to climb snowbanks to retrieve blue boxes or waste bags. This is a health and safety issue. 

Keep materials contained on windy days by placing heavier items on top of the lighter items.

Keep materials contained. There are several things you can do to help prevent materials, such as paper, from blowing out of your blue box and littering streets or roads on windy days.

• Place heavier items on top of the lighter items. Put paper at the bottom, plastics and cardboard next, and glass bottles and jars on top. 

• Please do NOT put plastic bags, Styrofoam, or take-out coffee cups & lids in the blue box. These items are not recyclable in our program and are often seen blowing around and littering our countryside.

• Keep items below the top rim of the blue box, so there is less chance of items blowing out.

Out by 8 AM. Please have all items out by this time to avoid being missed, but do NOT put them out the night before — especially if a large snowfall, wind, or ice event is expected during the night. Collection crews start curbside pick-up every Monday at 8 a.m. and do their best to complete collection each day. Because crews have many roads throughout the municipality to cover, they cannot return for missed collections due to late setouts. For curbside waste and recycling issues, including missed collections, please call 1-888-730-3344.

If there is a snowstorm, check the NBP website. During snow events, collection may be delayed or cancelled due to road and weather conditions. There are also times when routes are changed or trucks are added, resulting in earlier or later collection times.

• If you have questions about whether garbage will be collected on bad weather days, check the MNBP website at www.northbrucepeninsula.ca/

• Wait if you can. Consider not setting out your waste and recycling during major snow or wind events. Wait until the following Monday’s collection. Remember, there is no limit for the amount of blue box material put out for weekly collection. If you have limited space, please take materials to a landfill site.

Discourage critters. Crows and gulls (and other critters) in search of food can pose a problem for garbage collection. Crows and gulls are naturally curious birds – and they can be quite inventive when it comes to accessing trash bags. Critters will rip open the bags looking for food scraps and spread the trash out over the ground in their search. Not only does this look messy, household garbage scattered all over the place can attract vermin – and you have to clean it up!

Try these measures to deter critters: 

• Don’t put garbage out until the day of pick-up.

• Be sure the trash bags are properly sealed to help minimize “attractive smells”.

• A standard garbage can with an easy-to-remove lid can be a good alternative to a bag. It should not exceed the weight limit for a garbage bag (22 kg or 50 lbs) – to allow for safe pick-up by the truck driver. Note: Waste materials in the cans should be contained in sealed paper or plastic bags so materials do not blow around when being emptied into the collection truck. 

• When you place bags at the roadside, consider covering the bag with a heavy blanket, mat or piece of canvas.

Replace as needed. When plastic gets very cold, it tends to break much easier. If you have a cracked or broken blue box, please replace. Contact the Municipality for assistance.

BONUS WIND TIP: Blue Boxes themselves can blow away easily in high winds, especially when they are empty. So if your blue box goes missing on a windy day, look around your neighbourhood. Write your address on your blue box and garbage can in permanent marker. This makes it easier to identify them.