Ever wonder why the City of London utilizes a six-day schedule for curbside garbage and recycling collection?
From time-to-time a review of London's recycling and garbage collection system is undertaken to confirm if the current collection system is the most appropriate system for London. The most recent review was undertaken in 2014. Details & results of the public engagments and feedback, as well as reviews of processes and best practices can be found in the Civic Works Committee Report here.
The public opinion surveys commissioned by the City found:
- A high level of satisfaction with the current collection schedule - 86% of residents were satisfied or very satisfied.
- Similar levels of support for a weekly same day collection schedule and the current schedule, when asked at the same time.
- Lower levels of support for a seasonal collection schedule and a 5 business day collection schedule, when asked at the same time.
- Limited support for paying more for weekly collection - 44% found it acceptable or somewhat acceptable to pay more, while 55% found it unacceptable or somewhat unacceptable to pay more. About 4 out of every 10 homes (42%) found it very unacceptable to pay more.
In December, City Council directed staff to take no action to change the frequency of garbage and recycling pick up at this time, continuing with the current six-day collection system. Council further directed staff to examine and implement a number of optimization actions in 2015-16 to improve the efficiency of these programs.
An overview of the alternate collection schedules that were considered is presented below:
Collection every 6 business days, no change to current schedule
- 42 pickups per year
- Cost efficient
- 3 container limit is reasonable to generous plus there are four, 3 container limit exemption pickups
- Bulky item collection occurs with 42 pickups per year
- Longer cycle times between collections in warm weather and over holidays can be an inconvenience to some residents
- Garbage & recycling sometimes placed at the curb on the wrong day
- No additional annual cost as there are no changes (Note: the total existing annual cost of curbside garbage and recycling collection is approximately $7 million or $60 per household)
Alternate Option A: Seasonal Change
Collection on the same day. Garbage is weekly between April 1 and September 30 and biweekly from October 1 to March 31.
- 39 pickups per year for garbage, 52 pickups per year for recycling
- No long cycles between garbage collection in summer
- Will encourage waste diversion
- Less confusion as to when garbage collection day is
- Weekly recycling collection
- Possible future cost savings
- Longer cycle times between collections in winter can be an inconvenience to some residents
- Fewer collections
- Higher cost than current system with potential for lower cost in the future
- Additional annual cost of $700,000 to $1,000,000 (about $7 additional cost per household served)
Alternate Option B: 5 Day Collection
Collection once every 5 business days. The collection day moves forward after a statutory holiday
- 50 pickups per year system
- 20% more pickups per year
- Only two long cycles between garbage collections
- Less confusion as to when garbage and recycling is collected
- Higher cost than current system
- Additional annual cost of $700,000 to $900,000 (about $7 additional cost per household served)
Alternate Option C: Same Day Collection
Same day collection every week
- 52 pickups per year
- 25% more pickups per year
- No long cycles between garbage collections
- No confusion as to when garbage and recycling is collected
- Highest cost system than current system
- Additional annual cost of $1,100,000 to $1,300,000 (about $10 additional cost per household served)
It should be noted that all collection systems including weekly collection require a Waste Reduction & Conservation Calendar. In a weekly collection system a calendar is required to inform residents when they have yard material or fall leaf collection and when to put out their garbage on weeks that have statutory holidays.
It is also imperative that Londoners have easy access to waste management and resource conservation information and the instructions for various services. City staff are not aware of any medium or large city that does not have a calendar produced in both paper and electronic form.