It’s been nearly a year since the County of Simcoe switched to automated waste carts and collection, and a customer satisfaction survey polling more than 5,000 people indicates nearly 90 per cent of residents are satisfied with the bins on wheels.
On Tuesday, County of Simcoe councillors will discuss newly released results from a carts and waste management satisfaction survey completed by third-party market research consultant Malatest which found 87 per cent of respondents were satisfied or very satisfied with carts, 88 per cent were satisfied or better with collection services and 82 per cent were satisfied with county waste disposal facilities.
Overall, 94 per cent of respondents were either satisfied or very satisfied with collection reliability.
“This is very positive as one of the principal drivers for the switch to automated cart collection in 2021 was to mitigate against previous experience with labour shortages across the county,” noted Willma Bureau, collections manager with the county, in the report.
According to the county, 5,650 survey responses were received over the course of approximately six weeks from May until July this year.
The survey was promoted through the Simcoe County Collects mobile app, through social media, the county website and on the seasonal residents' card (sent to all residents with an out-of-county mailing address) to maximize cottager responses.
Forty-eight per cent of respondents were from two-person households, with only one-quarter of respondents indicating there were children in the household. The staff report on the survey notes the two-person household is over-represented in the survey as census data indicates that only 37 per cent of Simcoe County households have two people.
Reasons provided by respondents who reported high satisfaction with carts included increased capacity, carts being easy to move and reduced litter in neighbourhoods. Reasons provided by respondents for dissatisfaction included difficulty with storage, not liking biweekly collection and carts being too big/difficult to move.
In regards to organics, 76 per cent of permanent residents responded they use their organic cart all the time and 10 per cent use it most of the time.
Reasons provided for using the program included reduced disposal requirements a reduced carbon footprint and setting an example for children. Reasons provided for not participating were not having enough material, existing backyard composts, and the ‘yuck’ factor. Ten per cent noted they couldn’t be bothered to participate.
The county moved to its new automated cart system Nov. 1, 2021 – a move that sparked a flood of concerns from residents about the size of the bins.
In October 2021 during a council workshop on the matter, county council pivoted on their one-size-fits-all position, voting in favour of allowing residents to swap their existing carts for smaller sizes by request. As of February, 5,300 county residents asked for smaller carts while 163 requested additional carts.
County waste staff and Malatest are expected to provide a presentation to councillors on the survey results during the Oct. 11 committee of the whole meeting.
County of Simcoe council and committee of the whole meetings are planned for Tuesday, Oct. 11 starting at 9 a.m., and will be livestreamed on the county’s YouTube channel. The meeting marks the first back in-person since 2020 for councillors and the public to attend at the County of Simcoe’s administration building at 1110 Highway 26 in Midhurst.