Waterloo Region is currently considering many options to reshape the way garbage will be collected over the coming years.
A reported was presented to the planning committee which noted that garbage collection contracts will be up for renewal in March 2026, and that any changes need to be made well in advance of that to allow companies to adjust.
Among the changes being considered are shifts to automated cart collection for garbage and organics as well as a move to a four-day week for pickup.
The report says that the move to a shorter week will give the companies it contracts with more options to deal with potential service disruptions such as weather or holidays.
It notes that some of the changes will need to be made to keep the prices for those who are bidding on the collection contracts down as well as to allow those companies to recruit new staff in an increasingly competitive environment.
The report says that there are some recruiting and retention challenges for the companies due to the physical nature of the work, the working conditions, as well as the stigma surrounding being a garbageman.
It states that they are hoping the cart system will help with those challenges while also reducing the amount of the litter which is blowing around on the streets on windy garbage days.
The new contracts are expected to also push for a move from diesel fuelled trucks to natural gas in an effort to cut down on greenhouse gas emissions while also easing concerns about the volatile price of diesel fuel.
The switch to the cart system would not include blue box bins “as recycling (Blue Box program) is transitioning to full producer responsibility as of March 2024 for the Region. “Producers will have full accountability for recycling when our new contract comes into force in 2026.“
The switch to the automated cart system would have the region paying $24.5 million between 2024 and 2032 to pay for the bins while the collection companies would include the cost of the new trucks as part of their bid proposals.