Simcoe County kicks off controversial new waste collection program

The County of Simcoe hopes to leave controversy at the curb with the rollout of its new automated waste collection system Monday.

"Things are probably slower than they will be in a little while, as drivers are learning new routes and learning the equipment," said Simcoe County collections manager, Willma Bureau.

The program will run four days a week for county residents with garbage and recycling alternating weeks, and organics picked up weekly.

"Cart collection is going to go a long way to mitigating the service impacts we've experienced over the last few years with a lack of drivers available," noted Bureau.

New rules include making sure to space carts two feet apart with the arrow on the top of the cart facing the road and no more than eight feet from the curb.

"Drivers will get out initially to reset carts, but residents really should ensure that carts are set out properly in the future," Bureau mentioned.

Miller Waste Systems said it would continue to work with residents to address any ongoing issues.

"We've been supplied with some tags from the county that allow us to identify any ongoing issues, and we can mark each container after they have been serviced," said Miller Waste Systems regional manager, John Larche.

"We can inform residents through a checkmark process that will inform them of what corrections they have to do going forward," he added.

In the meantime, Larche said carts should be out by 7 a.m., and residents should keep in mind that collection times could change.

The County said eventually, those wanting smaller carts will also be able to make that switch.

"In the new year, residents will be able to select cart sizes, and information will be provided at that time to advise how that process will roll out," said Bureau.

The County estimates roughly 1,000 out of 150,000 households still haven't received the new carts, and while there is no set timeline on when that will happen, it said residents could use the old bins in the meantime.