Many factors are to blame for the delays in curbside waste pickup experienced in Waterloo Region over the holidays, waste management officials say.
With Christmas Day falling on a Monday, garbage, recycling and green bin pickup was intentionally delayed by one day last week.
Further unintentional delays were reported in some areas, with crews working well into the evening. Collection even continued on Sunday, with pickups occurring at homes where it had been expected to happen Friday or Saturday.
Despite the extra hours, it was well into Tuesday before some parts of Elmira saw their waste collected. (It normally happens Friday, and was scheduled for Saturday due to the holiday.)
Unaware of the one-day delay, Angela Jeffrey-Curry took her waste bins out on Friday. As of Tuesday morning, they hadn’t been touched. She voiced concerns that animals could get at the bins, that items could break loose and fly down the road, and that the full bins left her with nowhere to put new waste that had accumulated over the weekend.
“We don’t know what we’re going to do with our garbage,” she said.
Cari Rastas-Howard, a project manager with the region’s waste management division, said there were a number of factors that caused the delays.
Among the issues were heavier loads for pickup – due both to the holiday season and the temporary increase of the four-bag limit to eight – as well as sick calls, snowy conditions and other weather-related factors.
“The cold temperatures make it difficult to sort all of the materials they have to sort,” she said.
On top of all that, this was the first Christmas season since the region switched waste management contractors early in 2017.
“It’s been a bit of a learning curve for everyone,” Rastas-Howard said.
“We’ll certainly be meeting with them … to talk about the additional challenges that happened and how we can prevent them in the future.”
Looking ahead, fewer delays are expected this week. Collection through Elmira and the rest of the townships will move quicker, as they do not have garbage pickup this week.
Rastas-Howard said anyone who thinks their house may have been missed by collection crews – as opposed to a neighbourhood-wide delay – can contact the region’s call centre at 519-575-4400.
There have also been waste collection delays reported in Brant County. As of 4 p.m. Tuesday, officials there were reporting that pickup was about 1.5 days behind schedule, and more vehicles would be brought in on Wedensday to help clear the backlog.
Brant County residents who normally have their pickup on Tuesdays were being told not to put their waste bins at the curb until Thursday morning.
With reporting by Heather Senoran