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Banner mage of automated garbage truck picking up black garbage bin with 3 black garbage bins on the left

Automated Garbage Collection

What is automated garbage collection?
Automated garbage collection consists of specially designed wheeled carts, and collection vehicles equipped with articulated arms. Residents place these carts in designated spots on the curb and a single operator picks up and dumps the carts using an articulated arm controlled from the truck cab. The carts are used for garbage only. Recycling collection remains unchanged.

Carts are owned by the City and assigned to each property. They have large wheels that are easy to roll over curbs, gravel, snow, they are made from durable plastic and have a life span of 15-20 years andContinue reading

What is automated garbage collection?
Automated garbage collection consists of specially designed wheeled carts, and collection vehicles equipped with articulated arms. Residents place these carts in designated spots on the curb and a single operator picks up and dumps the carts using an articulated arm controlled from the truck cab. The carts are used for garbage only. Recycling collection remains unchanged.

Carts are owned by the City and assigned to each property. They have large wheels that are easy to roll over curbs, gravel, snow, they are made from durable plastic and have a life span of 15-20 years and come with a 10-yearwarranty. Residents are responsible for keeping their cart clean and secure and are required to use a City-issued cart.

The size of the cart to be used will be decided following the engagement process.

Implementation of automated garbage collection is expected to start in 2018and be phased in over time.

Check out the Frequently Asked Questions document or review the questions and answers that have already been posted below. If you can't find the answer you're looking for, post your question here and a staff person will get back to you as soon as possible.

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All 46 4 2apartmenthouses 1 3-4regularsizebags 1 anykindofbagforthebins 1 automatedarm 1 backyardcomposting 1 bags. 1 benefitsofautomatedgarbage 1 bin 2 bins 1 binsaremadefromrecycledmaterials 1 binsarerecyclable 1 binsstaywithhousehold 1 blue 1 cannotbeincludedinprogram 1 centralbins 1 cityownsbins 1 cleaner 1 composting 1 costofbinpurchase 1 costoffleetpurchase 1 costrecovery 1 costsavings 1 demographics 1 downtown 2 downtownarea 2 driveway 1 dropoffatRobinHoodBayFacility 1 durablebins 1 embeddedradiotags 1 excessbags 1 Excluded 1 extrabags? 1 extrabin 1 Freshwater 1 fundingmodel 1 fundingthebins 1 garbage 1 garbagecollectionandwind 1 garbagenotlooseinsidebins 1 gettingtothecurb 1 greaterefficiencies 1 heightofcarts 1 highwinds 1 holdalotofweight 1 implementation 1 kitchencatcherbags 1 landlords 3 largebin 1 largefamilies 1 maneuverability 1 medium 1 mediumbin 1 misplacedcarts 1 mobilityissues 1 moreefficient 1 MountPearl 1 multi-residentialhouseholds 1 multi-unithouses 1 neighbourssharingbins 1 netsandblankets 1 nodriveways 1 nogarbageleftoutsidebin 1 notincluded 1 onlycitycarts 1 onlyCityissuedbins 1 organicfoodwaste 1 paperyardwaste 1 Paradise 1 payingforacart 1 placementofbins 1 previouslyownedcarts 1 purchaseextrabin 1 recycling 3 Recycling 1 recyclingcollection 1 reducingworkplaceinjuries 1 registeredapartments 1 regular 1 ResidentialDropOffFacility 1 residentsconcerns 1 residentsopinions 1 rethinkwaste 1 Road 1 RobinHoodBayfree 1 safer 1 sanitationregulations 2 see-through 1 seniors 1 sharingacart 1 sharingbins 1 sized 1 solutions 1 stability 1 staff 1 stafftoassistresidents 1 storage 1 throughouttheyear 1 upgradestofleet 1 urbanandruralhouseholds 1 weight 1 weightofcarts 1 wherebinsshouldbeplaced 1 wheretoputthecart 1 wind 1 windyconditions 1 workplaceinjuries 1 more less
  • Will there be an enforced on-street parking ban on garbage days (ticketing and towing)? I'm concerned that if someone parks in front of my bin after I leave for work, it will not get picked up. With a limit of one container per week, it would then be impossible to catchup the backlog of garbage the following weeks if the one that was missed was full, which is very concerning to me.

    Mathieu asked 9 days ago

    A: The automated garbage collection system works best when a household has a driveway access as no one is allowed to park in front of a driveway. Households without driveways will have to be assessed individually to determine how best they can be serviced.


  • Why is Freshwater Road from Mayor to Linscott excluded given this portion have driveways where bins could be placed?

    Bevansnf asked 7 months ago

    A: The areas we have shown to be excluded are not yet finalized.  There are sections of these areas where automated garbage collection may work, but how we service those areas has not yet been determined.  This section of Freshwater would have to be assessed further.

  • I really like the idea of automated garbage collection which will help with keeping our neighbourhoods and streets looking uncluttered and unsanitary. My husband and I are in our late '60s and early '70s. Our options for taking garbage to the street are these: in the back of our house our driveway is like a rugged Mt. Everest and in the front our steps are very steep. We can manage bags but rolling a bin up and down either the drive or steps is quite daunting. We're feeling stymied and wondering how we will manage the change.

    Ane C. asked 7 months ago

    A: The City is considering how we can accommodate residents that will have difficulties maneuvering the bins.  We have consulted with other municipalities that have already adopted automated garbage collection on what they do.  We have also met with the City’s Seniors Advisory Committee and the City’s Inclusion and Accessibility Advisory Committee.  It is our intention that these bins do not become a barrier for anyone.


  • If needed would there be a way for homeowners to purchase an extra bin?

    V01SX asked 7 months ago

    A: Details on whether residents will have the option to purchase extra bins have not yet been determined but is being considered

  • Based on actual results from Mount Pearl's implementation of Automated Collection, that city witnessed a major drop in recycling rates (from 16% to 9%), which they believe was due to the implementation of the bins for automated collection. St. John's recycling rates are already very low without Automated Collection (10%, according to Sandy Hickman.) What does the City plan to do to pre-empt a drop in recycling that Mount Pearl's experience would suggest is coming. Please do not say you "intend to monitor recycling rates and will assess options to respond if such a situation occurs."

    Zero asked 7 months ago

    A: The City is actively identifying opportunities for further waste diversion. Such an example is the banning of the use of plastic bags to store yard waste starting in the Fall of 2017. The City plans to develop an educational campaign around waste management that will involve the benefits of waste diversion. 

  • I am already thinking about where to put this garbage cart. Exactly how big are they? How much do they weigh (empty) and how much weight can they hold? (assume I decide to throw out a pile of rocks, so how much can I put in the cart?). How much will each resident have to pay for a cart? Are they really going to be provided completely free of charge or will there be a rental? Can 2 or three neighbours share a cart? When the lid is closed are they odour proof? FYI, after recycling and backyard composting, on average I put out only one green garbage bag every 3 weeks. So even the smaller bin (3-4 bag capacity) will take 9-12 weeks to fill. Odour control is important.

    Runner7922 asked 7 months ago

    A: The size of the bins has not yet been determined and that will influence the dimensions and weight of the containers. Typically, the height of the containers will be between 1.0 - 1.2 metres and can weigh between 32 – 45 lbs empty. The funding model for this program is still being determined. Neighbours are free to make arrangements to share the bins (eg. Neighbours place all their combined garbage in one bin) However, each household will be provided a city-issued garbage bin. As long as garbage is left in City issued bins then we will collect it. The bins will offer some level of odour control as the lid is designed for a good seal.  


  • Can neighbours share bins? My household generates one bag of garbage per week (rarely more than two). I could easily put my garbage in my neighbour's bin. There's a cost savings!

    frankokeefe asked 7 months ago

    A:  Neighbours are free to make arrangements to share the bins (eg. Neighbours place all their combined garbage in one bin) however, each household will be provided a city-issued garbage bin. There is no ability to "opt out",  bins must stay with the household to which they were supplied. The City will collect garbage from the bins supplied. 

  • In your "A cleaner way to collect garbage", it is stated that this new automated collection method will reduce the number of bags of waste that will go to landfill. I challenge that assertion because exactly how will a container reduce the amount of waste that any given household puts out? Won't people just hold garbage for the next week or find other ways to get rid of it? If the reduction comes about from more recycling or reduction in consumption, is this really the best way to go about achieving that goal or is it even necessary?

    Runner7922 asked 7 months ago

    A:  The decision to move to automated garbage collection is not based solely on waste diversion.  Some of the benefits for residents include reduced litter, reduced rodent and bird problems, reduced odours, and storage for garbage between collection days.  For the City and its staff, automated garbage collection will greatly reduce the potential for workplace injuries, greater efficiencies from resources and cost savings.  It is hoped that one of the “spin-off” benefits of this program will be those households where the bins will make people “rethink their waste”.


  • I have family (seniors) in Mt. Pearl who have had a great deal of difficulty moving bins, especially in winter, and we're promised but not given assistance. I also have family and know many seniors with mobility issues in St. John's. Will they be exempt from mechanical garbage collection? Or will they receive assistance? If so, has the City considered and planned for the extra effort required to undertake both mechanical collection and address manual collection for residents with mobility issues?

    NickWhite asked 7 months ago

    A: The City is considering the needs of people with mobility issues. Part of our consultation process has been to meet with the City's Seniors Advisory Committee and the City's Inclusion and Accessibility Advisory Committee. The trucks we have ordered for automated garbage were designed so they can be used for manual collection as well. The details of how we will modify the program for people with mobility issues is still to be finalized after the engagement process.

  • I am a senior citizen living in an area close to the downtown which is apparently not excluded from this program. During the winter months, and for the past 43 years, I have been parking my car at the end of my driveway next to the curb simply to avoid unnecessary snow clearing. Why do you assume it is acceptable to expect a senior citizen, or anyone for that matter, to greatly increase the amount of snow clearing to be done, either personally or by hiring help, solely for the purpose of providing a storage location for a garbage bin in the winter months?

    #1sceptic asked 7 months ago

    A: The bins provide many benefits for residents, the City, and the environment, but we recognize that some residents will have to adjust their current waste practices. The City does have staff that would be happy to assist residents in identifying ways to adjust to the new program.

  • All streets surrounding Parade street are highlighted as not included in AG, but Parade Street is not highlighted on the map as excluded. We are considered inside downtown for other city functions (parking ban, etc.). Is this just a miss on the map?

    kwhite2001 asked 7 months ago

    A: Parade Street was not included in the "Downtown" for this program because most of the houses on this street have driveways. Part of the engagement process is to have residents identify situations where they feel the program will be challenging for them. How we adapt the program for areas of the City where streets have a mix of driveways and no driveways will be determined prior to the full implementation of automated garbage collection.


  • Why is it necessary for the City to have such control over the bins. Shouldn't residents be able to buy one from a local supplier and replace as necessary? Is it really necessary for the city to buy the bins, to track bins, have staff repair bins, etc? Does not seem fiscally responsible.

    GreatAuk asked 7 months ago

    A: With the City owning the bins, residents are provided a "worry-free" bin. The City will manage and maintain these assets. In addition to these benefits for residents, the software involved with the tracking of bins will provide real time data and reporting functions that will allow the City to optimize this program including enforcement. Automated garbage collection is more efficient, cleaner and safer than manual collection.


  • How far can arm extend to pickup, if cars both sides driveway then container going to be 6-8 feet away, cant leave in street all day

    jones asked 7 months ago

    A: The automated arms can extend between 10-12 feet to allow collection of bins.


  • You have indicated that residents will be required to use the City provided bins. This is fine but will you be collecting the existing bins we have for disposal in the landfill? I don't want nor have need to keep a large black bin around my house which will never be used.

    chrisrowe asked 7 months ago

    A: Most bins are recyclable. There are no plans for the City to provide a collection service at this time. 

  • Live in 50+ condo dwellings in east end.Mainly duplexes, no sidewalks, minimal street frontage. There will be no room to store the containers; leaving at ends of driveways will impede our driveway clearing.How does City intend to implement here...almost similar to downtown issues.

    mcahill asked 7 months ago

    A: There are locations throughout the City that will need special consideration. Please pin your location on the interactive Map your feedback  and provide comment on your circumstance so we can assess further. 


  • According to the map for auto. Collection Mount Royal Avenue is not listed. The map shows Golf and then goes to Morris Avenue. --- Mount Royal is there in the middle but not marked what so ever

    Miranda asked 7 months ago

    A: Thank you for your question. We have adjusted the map to include Mount Royal in the excluded area of the map.  One of the purposes of the engagement is to have the public identify areas where there might be issues with the implementation of AG.  Some streets will have to be looked at more closely by our forepersons as we get closer to implementation before final decisions are made. 


  • Hi, Will the carts be made from recyclable plastic?

    ianfroude asked 7 months ago

    A: Yes. The bins are made from recycled materials and are completely recyclable at the end of their life.


  • Will the city also be reducing the bag limits? Will they reduce the maximum black bags with a mix of clear bags and make recycling mandatory? I consistently see houses with 8-12 bags of garbage out each week with no recycling. It really bothers me that we do not force compliance with recycling and garbage reduction.

    Poseidonb asked 7 months ago

    A: Sanitation Regulations will be updated with the start of this program. It has not yet been determined if mandatory recycling will be a component of the new regulations.

  • Will there be an upfront cost to the homeowner for the bin?

    Brenda1949 asked 8 months ago

    A: It has not yet been determined how the initial capital purchase of the program will be funded. Part of the engagement process is to hear from residents on how they think it should be funded (eg. separate one time fee or paid out over installments, etc.). You can also go to the survey where there is a question specific to the funding models options.

     


  • Howvwill this work in areas where there is not much room to store bins like multi apartment houses

    bennettb asked 8 months ago

    A: The City has specifically identified landlords in the public engagement to hear their opinions and ideas on how to adjust the program for multi-residential households. Details on this aspect of the program have not yet been determined. 


  • I own a house with three registered apartments in Kilbride . The problem that I have is that there is no outside space for the tenants to store these bins. Especially in winter when snowbanks pile up . I can see this being very problematic.

    bennettb asked 8 months ago

    A: Your comment has been recorded. Thank you! You can also go to the map feature and flag your location specifically noting your issue. 


  • Can dry trash be placed directly into bins, or must trash be placed in green/black garbage bags first? Can wet garbage be paper wrapped or must it be placed in plastic as well?

    Moniki20 asked 8 months ago

    A:  All wastes will be required to be bagged, but the bags do not have to be green/black garbage bags (eg. kitchen catchers are acceptable). Loose garbage has the potential to blow away during the automatic emptying process. 


  • What about larger families (we have 6 in our family plus our parents!) 5-6 bags may not be sufficient...also worried about the high winds that usually blow over garbage bins in our area.

    Kerry asked 8 months ago

    A: The City is considering how to handle households with large families. Details on this aspect of the program have not yet been determined. Please consider pinning your specific location on the map feature noting your concern.

  • in the summer mother months i often have 5 or 6 large garbage bags depending how long the grass gets before it is dry enough to cut, and no it cannot be composted because of the ratio of weeds since the chem ban. If you go with smaller bin what do i do with the rest?

    Lynn asked 7 months ago

    A:  The City will collect your yard waste (including weeds) that is stored in paper yard bags.  Appointments can be made through the curbitstjohns app or by calling 311.


  • As a follow up to the bagging question, the garbage must be bagged, is any sized bag acceptable and does it need to plastic? I would like to reduce the amount of plastic in the land fill and thought that these bins would lessen the amount. No more grocery bags inside kitchen catcher bags inside black garbage bags. Thanks. Cy.

    Cy asked 7 months ago

    A:  Garbage cannot be loose inside the bins, but it does not matter what kind of bag is used (eg. Kitchen catchers, paper bags, grocery bags, etc.)


  • What if you have overflow garbage one week? will there be garbage bags to purchase? Or will we need to store the garbage for a whole week until the next pickup?

    Peggy F asked 7 months ago

    A:  That decision has not yet been finalized but it is a question we are asking during the engagement process.  Current thoughts are that extra bags would have to be stored until the following week or brought down to the Residential Drop Off located at the Robin Hood Bay Waste Management Facility.


  • I try to minimize the amount of garbage I produce. As a single resident, even the medium-sized cart would store several months worth of garbage for me. That would be an issue with rats. It also wouldn't fit on my sidewalk or in my tiny porch. Would it be possible to use a central bin, say at the corner of Carter's Hill, as an option for people who don't have room for a large cart? German cities use neighbourhood bins for various types of disposal.

    rboileau asked 7 months ago

    A:  Central bins are not under consideration at this time but we appreciate the idea


  • Why do you not enforce business, apartments and other large occupancy buildings to recycle? This equates to a massive addition of unnecessary garbage.

    Victoriajane asked 7 months ago

    A:  The implementation of automated garbage will require an update of the Sanitation Regulations that will include recycling.  Current regulations do not require residents or businesses to recycle.


  • How much money will this cost and what will the payback period be for the city, in terms of cost savings?

    Brett Favaro asked 8 months ago

    A: Upgrades to the garbage truck fleet will cost between $0.9 - $1.0 million. Bin purchase will cost between $3.0 and $3.8 million depending on the size of bin purchased. The payback period of this program is dependent on the purchasing model selected for the purchase of bins, but all costs will be recovered through savings within five to ten years.


  • Yes! City of St. John's looks deplorable 5 days a week with nets and blankets everywhere.

    southside asked 8 months ago

    Thanks for your input

  • WHy are we spending money on all these hearings and information sessions? We can see that it works well in Mount Pearl, don't think it's necessary to reinvent the wheel. Let's just do it and stop this "make work" project of hearings and info sessions.

    Patsy Yetman asked 7 months ago

    A:  This program has been successful in Mount Pearl and Paradise, but St. John's does have some differences in demographics and both urban and rural households that need to be considered. Council recognizes these differences and has directed Staff to engage with residents to hear their opinions and concerns.  We can then 'tailor' this program to work for the City of St. John's.


  • Will weight be an issue for the new bins? I have cat litter and it's quite heavy if it's all in one bin.

    Peggy F asked 7 months ago

    A:  The bins are very durable and can hold a lot more weight than what is normally placed in household garbage.  The medium (240 L) bin can carry 240 lbs and the large (360 L) bin is rated for 335 lbs.


  • What happens when you have more garbage than will fit into the bin? Will there be bags to buy or do you have to keep your garbage for another week until the next pickup?

    Peggy F asked 7 months ago

    A:  The program is not yet finalized but the current premise is that you would hold until the following week, or excess bags can be taken to the Residential Drop Off Facility at Robin Hood Bay for free. 


  • Hi, I live on William Street in George Town and do not have easy access to my backyard to store the bin. Are you presuming that people in the downtown, area will store their bin on the street? In this neighbourhood the bins would also tend to block the sidewalk on the collection day. Furthermore, as a single person, who recycles, I would fill the bin no more than twice a year (and I maybe able to reduce that). I also have my doubts about this scheme greatly extending the life of the Robin Hood Bay landfill site. I presume that most people with extra bags will simply store them for the next collection. Any attempt to encourage recycling is worth considering, though it is hard to see this scheme working in certain areas of St John's. with regards, Robin Wood

    Robin Wood asked 8 months ago

    A: The downtown area will not be included in the automated garbage collection program.  You can check if your street is included by visiting the map page. The shaded area is the area to be excluded from automated garbage collection.

  • Many homeowners on my street have already purchased large garbage and recycle bins from stores such as Home Depot etc. Can these bins be accommodated with the new system?

    Jscollins asked 8 months ago

    A: No.  Residents will be required to use City issued bins for automated garbage collection. 


  • I am a senior living in a basement apartment at the back of residential property. Are tenants issued a cart? I am concerned about (1) where a cart is to be stored and (2) during the winter months I can possibly maneuver a cart over snow/ice and whatever, up an incline to get it to the roadside and then having to remove the cart from the curb. Garbage bags are more manageable for a senior living on her own.

    Ayn asked 8 months ago

    A: Our staff will work with tenants and/or landlords to find the best solution for their needs.  Through the public engagement process, we are specifically targeting landlords and to hear their opinions / concerns regarded automated garbage collection.


  • How will bins be distributed to 2 apartment houses?

    Byronbennett66 asked 8 months ago

    A:  This has not yet been decided.  In the engagement process, we have specifically targeted landlords to hear their opinions regarding bin size and number of bins to multi-unit houses.


  • Winter Snow and Garbage Bins. Where do you put the bin in the winter? In some areas of the city sidewalks disappear during the winter months and do not reappear until early April. For that matter often 2 or 3 feet of the road disappears as well. Will this type of garbage collection be a seasonal system and revert to garbage bags and nets when the sidewalks disappear for the season?

    Locke asked 8 months ago

    A: Automated garbage collection will take place throughout the year.  Placement of the bins will primarily be at the end of your driveway throughout the year.  For those with different circumstances, our staff will work with you to locate where bins should be placed.


  • Hi, Why will residents be required to use City owned carts. Wouldn't it make sense for people who have already invested in the same type of cart to be be able to use it? If people have to use City owned carts, what will happen to the ones people own- the landfill? When we moved to St. John's from Mount Pearl a couple of years ago, we purchased one. The other people on our street have as well. Thank you

    Curious asked 8 months ago

    A: Only carts provided by the City of St. John's can be used for automated garbage collection. All City provided carts will be embedded with a radio tag which helps us manage cart inventory, verify the correct address for misplaced carts and record maintenance/replacement history on the cart. Previously owned carts can be repurposed for other storage needs. Also, the city will have staff dedicated to the maintenance of carts.




  • Will the city use this as an opportunity to offer compost collection, and also include a bin for food waste?

    Brett Favaro asked 8 months ago

    A: At this time, there is no facility in the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador to handle composting organic food wastes. The City of St. John's has partnered with MUN Botanical Gardens and the MMSB to promote and offer incentives for households to participate in backyard composting. Please visit the curbitstjohns.ca website for details on this program.


  • How will automation work on tight downtown streets, where there is no direct line of sight between the truck and the curb?

    Brett Favaro asked 8 months ago

    A: The downtown area of St. John's cannot be included in the automated garbage collection program. Those areas of the City that cannot be included in the program will continue to be collected manually.



  • Will there be a second automated bin for recycling?

    Brett Favaro asked 8 months ago

    A: Recycling will not be part of the automated garbage collection program. Recycling will continue to be collected manually.


  • How will these bins not just blow over in the wind?

    Brett Favaro asked 8 months ago

    A: The bins will be designed to provide stability in windy conditions, but we do acknowledge St. John's experiences some high winds. Wind speeds will be a consideration in determining if garbage collection will take place on any particular day.


  • I'm just curious as to how this will affect staffing/jobs. Will this have an impact on worker/create layoffs? I'm not sure currently how many people are operating the garbage trucks. If there are two people per truck (one driver, one collector) will this impact the position of the collector? Or is there only one employee per truck?

    bosmond asked 8 months ago

    A: Garbage trucks are currently operated with one staff person. Automated garbage collection will reduce the amount of physical strain on these staff and will result in fewer workplace injuries. It is expected that this program will allow each truck to collect from more houses in one shift, there are no job cuts on the horizon.

  • I love this idea, I've seen it work in other cities and I support St. John's moving in this direction. In the detached houses in our newer neighbourhoods, this seems like a great solution to the blankets and nets mess. However as in all things, the way this works in residential downtown St. Johns has to be considered. I live on a street with 14 houses in a row. There is no front of house space for the bin and there are 3 steps up to the house. How can we ever manage to store this garbage bin? Seniors live on the street and they'll have a harder time. Our intersecting street is one of the steepest in St. John's, also row housing. On a windy day, the workers will be getting out to tip these bins up to collect them. Maybe even on a regular day. It seems impractical.

    Ruth Lawrence asked 8 months ago

    A: The downtown area of St. John's cannot be included in the automated garbage collection program. Those areas of the City that cannot be included in the program will continue to be collected manually.


  • You say a medium bin holds three or four bags of garbage but do you mean the regular black garbage bags or do you mean Sobeys type bags? Another guestion--- Can you throw loose garbage and recycling in your bin or are they still put in bags first?

    Lilabner asked 8 months ago

    The medium bin holds 3-4 regular sized garbage bags. Garbage should be placed inside bags and not loose. Recycling should be placed in blue see-through bags and left outside of the bin.