BIN AUDIT – A citizen’s review of the automated bin collection system

Posted February 3, 2014

Having been subjected to the three-bin waste system for more than two months, here is a review of the system.

BIN SLOWER – The cycle time from garbage truck wheels stopped to wheels rolling, as the 2 bins (1 green & 1 blue or grey) are hoisted, contents dumped into the truck, and empty bins placed back on the ground, is twice that of the former manual method.

Not the great efficiency gain touted by the waste mismanagement brain trust.  Considering the amount that was picked up weekly in blue bags is now picked up every 2nd week via the blue bins, the garbage trucks will fill up twice as fast and have to make a run to dump the contents twice as often. Maybe that explains why in various areas of the city I have seen two bin handling trucks on blue box days on the same street.

BIN AWFUL – Again, it is less efficient than the bag system.         .

During the snowy weather the lids of all bins are left open after being placed back on the ground. The consequence is that snow accumulates in the bins.   When room temperature material, be it compostables, recyclables, or garbage, is placed in the bins, the snow melts and then freezes bin contents to the bottom of the bin.

BIN HELP! – Whether this open lid condition is due to a poor bin handling mechanical system design and operation or operator shortcoming, it should be investigated and corrected.

To work around this snow problem, I sweep out the bins prior to putting them back in the garage.  Repeated city paid notices published in the Tribune, advises people not to cram stuff into the bins as it will not empty completely. This band-aid policy indicates a lack of measurement of the quantity of bagged waste that was previously being set out each week in the requisite bin sizes.

BIN COSTLY – The cost the citizens of Guelph will have to pay because the waste mismanagement honchos could not grasp operational flow and cycle time concepts will result in costing well beyond the $54 million capital costs.

BIN THERE – The operating inefficiencies are the legacy of the current numerically illiterate Guelph council and civic administration.

Glen N. Tolhurst





Filed under Between the Lines

5 responses to “BIN AUDIT – A citizen’s review of the automated bin collection system


    Ah,but wait,the City’s now,once again,is going to spend more of our lessening dollars on another(continuing?) pilot project to “…see what the royal city’s(sic) residents are throwing out in their organic and recyclable garbage and further studies are planned…”.Be wary residents of GUELPH because the City and the UofG are collectively acting as George Orwell’s “Big Brother”

  2. Glen N. Tolhurst

    John- have you actually measured the cycle time from wheels stopped to wheels rolling again for the bag and bin systems? Being an engineer who has been involved with process cycle times, I did measure the cycle times! The bin system was twice as long.
    So you think the number of days with snow on collection day is insignificant. Where have you been this winter? But then again you are so eager to refute an observation that you can’t get your mind around the elements of the process of emptying a bin and what would be required to close the lid. You may not mind having garbage freeze in your bins and then thaw and rot, but some people do mind.
    Yeah, one of the touted benefits of the automated bin system was to cut down on $300,000 compensation injury claims. Proper training and supervision would have reduced the claims for a lot less than the $13 million spent on the new trucks and automated arms.
    Yup, not cramming bins full is common sense but so is quantifying the amount that was going out via the bag system and right sizing the bins. With the bag system, the overflow option was another bag.Now the option is for individual citizens to drive it to waste facility, which is not very efficient or green!
    And how do you explain away, or ignore, the flow process of the filling a blue bin truck twice as fast and having 2 trucks on what was a single truck route under the bag system. Rather inefficient.
    Under the bag system I used 2 blue bags, one for plastic, glass, & cans and the other for paper. This is known as sorting at the source, at no cost to the city. Now it all is chucked into the blue bin for subsequent paid sorting at a waste recycling facility, where the costs are reportedly greater than at a privately operated facility.. Brilliant make work process.
    All in all, numeric illiteracy by the council and administration is a burden to the taxpayers for decades to come.


      My previous reply failed to give attribution for the statement in quotations and I wish to rectify this oversight.The quote cited was in an article in the “GUELPH MERCURY”,February 3,2014,titled “City wants to dig through your garbage to cut waste”,written by TONY SAXON.

  3. geo

    Bins get overfilled because pick up frequency was cut in half.

  4. John: Thanks. You’ve already made your point.

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