Waste Education

Waste Collection Safety

Tips for Hamilton residents on how to safely travel around waste collection trucks and how to properly set out their waste to help make waste collection worker's jobs safer and easier.

Keeping Waste Collection Workers Safe

Waste collection workers have one of the most dangerous jobs in North America. Every day on the road they face the risk of being struck by a motorist and seriously injured and scraped, cut or pricked by sharp objects hidden inside garbage bags and blue boxes. 

Help keep everyone safe by following these important tips

Curbside Collection Safety Tips

  • Separate sharp waste. Sharp household items like broken glass, dishes, knives, mirrors, razor blades and scissors must be sealed in a cardboard box clearly labeled “BROKEN GLASS” or “SHARP WASTE” and placed on top of or beside your garbage bag. 
  • Wrap breakable large items. Large mirrors and glass tables collected as bulk must be wrapped in cardboard and clearly labeled “SHARP WASTE”. Items not wrapped will not be collected. 
  • No needles. Never put needles in your blue box or garbage. Place needles in a puncture proof, sealable plastic or metal container and drop off at a participating pharmacy, a designated needle drop off location or at a Community Recycling Centre.
  • Face masks and gloves cannot be recycled. Household medical waste (medical and first aid supplies including face masks and gloves) should be double bagged in plastic, tied, and placed in a waste container or bag. 
  • Properly dispose of household hazardous waste. Propane cylinders/tanks, batteries, fluorescent light bulbs/tubes and chemicals should never be disposed of in your blue box, garbage or green bin. Learn more about proper disposal.
  • Keep it light. Each garbage bag/can, yard waste bag/container or green bin must not weigh more than 23 kg (50 lb) and must not be larger than 135 litres (30 gallons). Each blue box must not weigh more than 13 kg (30 lb).
  • Remove cords and lids. Remove lids and bungee cords from waste containers before setting them out for collection. 
  • Park off the street. If possible, park off the street on your waste collection day. If you are unable to move your car off the street, ensure it is at least 1 m (3 ft) away from any waste containers set out for collection. 

Video: Keep Safe and Separate Sharp Waste - Sharp waste hidden in garbage and blue boxes pose serious health and safety risks for our waste collection workers, family members and pets. Safe and proper disposal of all waste, especially sharp objects, avoids injury for everyone. Learn how to safely dispose of your sharp waste.

Video: Stay Safe, Leave Space - Tips for Motorists - Waste collection workers have one of the most dangerous jobs in North America. Learn how to keep everyone safe when driving behind a waste collection truck. Waste collection trucks are bulky and have many blind spots. Learn how to stay safe around a waste collection truck.

Waste Collection Vehicle Safety Tips

  • Stay alert and avoid distractions when driving behind a waste collection truck. Be prepared to stop and keep at least one collection truck length behind the moving vehicle.
  • Proceed with caution. If you are going to pass a collection truck. Only pass when you have a clear line of sight of possible oncoming traffic and always signal so the other motorists and cyclists can anticipate your actions.
  • Make eye contact with the driver when crossing the street in front of a collection truck. Remember, if you can’t see the driver, the driver can’t see you.
  • For your safety do not approach waste collection staff in their work area. Waste collection workers are required to wear personal protective equipment including boots, gloves and reflective colours.
  • Avoid distractions while walking like texting or talking on the phone when close to a waste collection vehicle.

Video: Stay Safe, Leave Space - Tips for Pedestrians - Waste collection trucks are bulky and have many blind spots. Learn how to stay safe around a waste collection truck.

Winter Curbside Collection Safety Tips

  • Store your waste bins in a dry area throughout the week so that materials do not freeze to the bottom or sides and are safe from snow build up.
  • Remove snow and ice and any cords or ties from your bins before placing them at the curb for collection.
  • Line your bin with a piece of cardboard or newspaper to prevent material from freezing to the container. Materials frozen to your bin may not be collected.
  • Ensure bottles, cans, cartons and jars are empty before placing in your blue box.
  • Retrieve empty bins promptly to prevent them from getting buried with snow, blowing around or damaged.
  • Clear snow from the end of your driveway or boulevard on your property that is close to the curb without blocking the sidewalk or road.
  • Ensure waste is accessible by placing waste containers on level ground and as close to the street as possible. NEVER on top of, behind, or in snow piles; this includes pre-scheduled bulk items. If they can’t see it or access it, it might get missed.
  • Wait until morning (before 7 am) to place your waste materials curbside if a storm is occurring overnight.

Video: Clear a Safe Space for Your Waste - Winter weather conditions pose serious health and safety risks for our waste collection workers. Safe placement of waste bins during the winter months avoids injury for everyone. Learn how to safely place waste materials curbside for collection in the snow.

Collection Delays and Schedule Changes
Waste collection delays and scheduling changes during inclement weather events are posted on www.hamilton.ca, @cityofhamilton on Twitter and @COHrecyclingandwaste on Facebook. Additionally changes are posted on Recycle Coach Waste App - download and subscribe to receive important waste collection scheduling information.

Contact us

Direct questions regarding waste pick up to:
Phone 905-546-2489 (CITY)
Email [email protected]