Big Changes Coming to Niagara’s Curbside Waste Collection Services in 2020

Niagara Region Selects Two New Waste Collection Contractors – GFL Environmental and Miller Waste Systems Inc. – to Begin    in Fall of Next Year

“Every-Other-Week Garbage Collection (also coming in next year), coupled with weekly collection of recycling and organics, will help to increase Niagara Region’s waste diversion rate towards our target of 65 per cent.”                                                       – Niagara Regional Chair Jim Bradley

A News Commentary by Niagara At Large reporter and publisher Doug Draper

Posted November 22nd, 2019 on Niagara At Large

It was less than a decade ago – in February of 2011 – that a new waste collection contractor, the Emterra Group, rolled in to Niagara from its home base in Burlington to begin serving residents and businesses here.

In February of 2011, some of the Emterra waste collection trucks, all lined up and ready to roll across Niagara. File photo by Doug Draper

“We are ready to make this happen,” said one of Emterra’s operators  as the company was  about to launch its new fleet of trucks with the words; “More Recycling, Less Waste – Rethink Your Waste,” emblazoned on their sides.

Eight years later, the Emterra trucks don’t look as shiny any more and complaints have come in to Niagara’s regional government over the past few years about the company falling behind  collection schedules – sometimes by as much as a day or two.

Whatever the causes of the collection delays, residents across Niagara will see Emterra’s truck rolling down their streets for the last time in the fall of 2020. And depending on which municipalities in the region they live in, they will see trucks from GFL Environmental, based in Toronto, or from Miller Waste Systems, based in Markham, Ontario, taking their place.

Among other changes residents across Niagara will see coming, the Region will move to collecting household waste that cannot be recycled from weekly to once every two weeks.

There have been at least a few Niagara residents expressing their opposition to this move in calls to their regional councillors or in letters to the editor published in local newspapers.

However, as this Niagara resident and long-time environment reporter has watched the Region move from allowing homeowners to place three or more bag or containers of garbage destined for a landfill site at the curb each week, without charging extra for more than one container, to a one bag limit over the past two or three decades, the tonnage numbers going through the gates of landfill sites show that people were taking measures to recycle or reduce more of the waste generated in their homes.

It is hoped that moving to every-other-week garbage collection will inspire people to recycle and compost even more, and to take whatever other measures they can to reduce the amount of waste they generate.

It is worthwhile to all of us to keep as much waste from having to be buried in the ground as possible. Siting an operating landills is a very costly business, and then there are the potential hazards to the groundwater and surrounding environment, which is why virtually no one wants a landfill site, or garbage dump as they were once commonly called, located anywhere near their backyard.

This is where we want more of our household waste to go – to Niagara Region’s sorting plant for recyclable waste, not to a landfill site

So let’s hope that the incoming waste collection system, which received the regional council’s final approval this November, serves the people of Niagara well and works to further reduce the amount of garbage we collectively end up burying gn the ground.

By the way, it is interesting to note that Jim Bradley, who was St. Catharines MPP and Ontario’s Environment Minister in the 1980s, when Blue Box recycling was established across the province, is now serving as Niagara’s regional chair as we are about begin a new chapter in working to keep more waste that we generate in our homes and busiesses out of landfill sites.

Now here is a recent news release that the Niagara Region put out on the upcoming changes to waste collection services in our region –

  Niagara Region selects new waste collection contractors to start in fall 2020

After the Niagara Regional Council meeting held on Nov. 14, GFL Environmental Inc. and Miller Waste Systems Inc. are the new waste collection contractors.

The two companies were the successful proponents through a negotiated request for proposal for curbside collection, haulage of garbage, recycling and organics process and will begin servicing Niagara in fall 2020.

The new collection contract is split into two areas:

  •   * GFL Environmental Inc. will be the contractor for Collection Area One (Grimsby, Lincoln, Pelham, Thorold, Wainfleet and West Lincoln) and
  •   * Miller Waste Systems Inc. will be the contractor for Collection Area Two (Fort Erie, Niagara Falls, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Port Colborne, St. Catharines and Welland.)

Niagara Regional Chair Jim Bradley was Ontario’s Environment Minister in the 1980s when curbside recycling took off across the province.

Jim Bradley, Niagara Regional Chair, commented, “On behalf of Niagara Regional Council, I would like to thank staff for all their excellent work on the waste collection contract. Every-other-week garbage collection, coupled with weekly collection of recycling and organics, will help to increase Niagara Region’s waste diversion rate towards our target of 65 per cent. Council looks forward to working with GFL Environmental and Miller Waste Systems to provide a high level of customer service for residents.”

The RFP contained three levels of service:

  •   * Base Service for all eligible low density residential properties (single family to six units), multi-residential, industrial, commercial and institutional and mixed-use; 
  • * Enhanced Service selected by the local area municipalities; and
  • * Optional Service, some of which would be base services and others selected by the municipality.

The 12 local area municipalities will now have the opportunity to choose and confirm their preferred enhanced services, which will not be part of the Region’s overall contract and the cost will be the responsibility of each local municipality.

Amongst the enhanced services are:

  •   * Public space litter bin and recycling bin collectio
  • * Containerized garbage collection
  • * Additional curbside collection of garbage, recycling and organics in downtown business areas

Niagara Regional Council approved every-other-week curbside garbage collection scenario effective fall 2020 at a Special Council meeting on Oct. 17, 2019.

The change will apply to curbside garbage collection for all eligible low-density residential properties (single home and properties with one to six units), multi-residential properties, and for those industrial, commercial and institutional and mixed-use properties located outside Designated Business Areas.

Niagara Region’s 2015-16 seasonal curbside waste audit foundthe contents of what was found in an average Niagara low-density residential curbside garbage bag.

Based on the results of these waste audits, 50 per cent of a typical garbage bag contained organic materials, which could have been diverted through the Region’s Green Bin program, and 14 per cent were recyclable materials, which could have been diverted through the Region’s Blue or Grey Box program, leaving only 36 per cent of the contents, which were non-divertible from landfill.

The start date of the new contract is Monday, Oct. 19, 2020 and any changes in garbage collection for Niagara residents will take effect with the new contract. Recycling and organics collection will continue to be collected weekly.

Until that date, Niagara residents can continue to follow the current garbage and recycling collection process ( <>).

Once every-other-week garbage collection comes into effect, current garbage container (bag/can) limits would double for affected sectors.

*About the RFP Process for the Curbside Waste Collection Contract*

Niagara Region issued a negotiated request for proposal for the new waste collection contract to accept bids from all interested parties in August.

From August 1 to Sept. 17, bids were accepted from all parties and proponents were ranked on a combination of both the technical score and pricing.

After the Oct.17, 2019 approval from Regional Council of every-other-week garbage collection, Niagara Region staff began the next stage of the negotiated request for proposal process.

This involved short-listed proponents, such as those who met the minimum technical threshold, having the opportunity to submit their best and final offer which must have been less than or equal to their original proposed financial submission.

Proponents were ranked on a combination of both the technical score and best and final offer pricing, and the successful proponents for collection area one and collection area two were invited to enter a final round of negotiations with Niagara Region regarding the possibility of an earlier start date. Negotiations concluded with the short-listed proponents on November 6.

*About GFL Environmental Inc. *

GFL Environmental Inc., founded in 2007, is a leading North American environmental services company with head offices located in Vaughan, ON. Over the past decade, GFL has grown to more than 15,000 employees and operates all across Canada and in 23 U.S. states.

The company’s three business lines are comprised of solid waste management, infrastructure and soil remediation and liquid and hazardous waste management.  The solid waste management business line includes the collection, transportation, transfer, recycling and disposal of non-hazardous solid waste for municipal, residential, commercial and industrial customers.

“We are thrilled to be chosen as one of the new waste and recycling collection providers for the residents of Niagara. We look forward to providing quality and timely service that each and every resident deserves.” – Patrick Dovigi, CEO.

*About Miller Waste Systems Inc. *

Miller Waste Systems Inc. is an integrated waste management company servicing the Municipal, Industrial, Commercial and Institutional sectors from 38 locations in Ontario, Manitoba, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. Established in 1961, Miller is a family owned business and has an envied reputation for customer service, employee engagement and a commitment to the municipalities we service.

In 2019, for the 7th consecutive year, Miller was honoured to be named a Platinum member of Deloitte’s “Best Managed Companies in Canada”.

“We are invested in the communities in which we live and work and we take pride in the role we play in our communities as a corporation and as individuals.

Securing this contract with Niagara Region expands our presence in the Region and provides a springboard for further growth. We are excited and honoured to serve the residents of Niagara and we commit to providing a superior level of service and community involvement. Our motto is “Only the Best” and we continually strive to exceed expectations.” commented Denis Goulet, President.

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One response to “Big Changes Coming to Niagara’s Curbside Waste Collection Services in 2020

  1. Very good news that garbage will be be picked up every two weeks and compost/recycle every week. I hope this encourages more people to develop the routine of recycling. Now, Tim Hortons and McDonalds need to utilize cups that can be recycled!


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