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Grey Highlands moving to big bins for waste/recycling collection

If the plan is given formal approval by council, over the next several months every home in Grey Highlands will receive two large bins; One for garbage and the other for blue box material.
grey highlands bins
An example of one of the bins residents in Grey Highlands will receive if council formally approves a new garbage/recycling collection system.

The big bins are coming to the Municipality of Grey Highlands.

At its committee of the whole meeting on July 27, Grey Highlands council voted in favour of a staff report that awards an RFP for collection of garbage and recycling to Waste Management Canada Corporation for $1.6 million, which represents a $600,000 annual increase.

The decision, which still has to be officially ratified at council’s meeting on Aug. 3, means Grey Highlands will be switching to large 95-gallon bins for garbage and recycling collection. On the issue, council wasn’t left with much choice as the other bid on the contract was $250,000 higher than the Waste Management Canada bid and the present contractor indicated they would not extend services.

If the plan is given formal approval by council, over the next several months every home in Grey Highlands will receive two large bins. One will be for garbage and the other for blue box material. The new system would start on January 1, 2023.

Members of council had multiple questions and concerns about the plan, which will represent a significant change for local residents.

Coun. Paul Allen noted that under the bin system the municipality’s current bag tag system would end.

“The strides we found in recycling could be lost. People now don’t have to go out and buy bag tags,” said Allen.

Director of Environmental Services Shawn Moyer said municipal staff had spoken to other municipalities that have made the switch.

“We haven’t heard that,” he said, of the possibility of recycling rates declining on the bin system.

Allen also expressed concerns about part-time residents. Many part-time residents of Grey Highlands leave their garbage for collection in a storage container at the end of their lane when they leave for their full-time home on Sunday evening. Allen expressed reservations about the large bins now being left on the road all week.

“It’s fine for full-time residents,” said Allen, of the bin system.

Coun. Danielle Valiquette said there would be a learning curve with the new system.

“We’re not the first municipality with a high percentage of people who own second homes here. There will be a change management piece,” she said, noting that part-time residents could have their neighbours watch their bins. “I don’t think it’s an insurmountable obstacle.”

Moyer added that the municipality and the contractor will do an extensive public education and outreach about the changes to the system, should it be formally approved by council.

“We’ll get it out there and let residents know this is happening,” he said.

Mayor Paul McQueen expressed winter concerns about the system.

“We have a lot of rural properties with long driveways,” noted McQueen.

Moyer said in the Township of Southgate, which uses a similar system for waste management, local residents have designed their own systems for transporting the bins. Southgate switched to the bin system in 2003 and it was controversial initially.

“It was a hot topic back in the day. Now they’re glad they did it years ago and enjoy the service,” he said.

Grey Highlands will also receive an added benefit from the switch. The municipality will save landfill space at its facility it owns/operates jointly with the Township of Chatsworth. Under the RFP, Canada Waste will take waste material to its own landfill operation.

“It’s a good idea to save our capacity for the future,” commented Allen.

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About the Author: Chris Fell, Local Journalism Initiative reporter

Chris Fell covers The Blue Mountains and Grey Highlands under the Local Journalism Initiative, which is funded by the Government of Canada
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