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.

COVID-19 Safety Measures

  • Personal protective equipment (PPE), including face masks and gloves, cannot be recycled. Safely dispose of PPE in a tied garbage bag with other waste. This will help protect our crews when they are collecting and processing your waste.
  • Please follow the advice of Public Health and keep a physical distance of at least two metres from waste collection workers.

Collection Safety Tips

  • 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).
  • Ensure waste is accessible. Always place waste containers on level ground and as close to the street as possible. In the winter, clear a spot for your blue boxes, green bin and garbage that is free of snow and easy for collection workers to see. Never place waste on top of or behind snowbanks.
  • Remove cords and lids. Remove lids and bungee cords from waste containers before setting them out for collection. 
  • Box broken glass. Broken glass, small mirrors, cracked dishes and knives must be taped in a cardboard box labeled “BROKEN GLASS” before placing at the curb.  
  • No needles. Never put needles or other medical waste in your blue box, garbage or green bin. Safely dispose of these items at a participating pharmacy or drop-off at a Community Recycling Centre.
  • Properly dispose of household hazardous waste. Propane cylinders/tanks, batteries, flurorescent light bulbs/tubes and chemicals should never be disposed of in your blue box, garbage or green bin. Learn more about proper disposal.
  • 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. 

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, or worse. 

Motorists and Cyclist Tips

  • Waste collection trucks make frequent stops. Stay alert, be prepared to stop and keep at least one collection truck length behind the moving vehicle.
  • Collection trucks are bulky and have many blind spots. Keeping your distance will ensure that drivers can always see you, and that motorists can see the waste collection workers. 
  • If you are going to pass a collection truck, proceed with caution and only do so when you have a clear line of sight of possible oncoming traffic.
  • When passing a collection truck, always signal so that other motorists and cyclists can anticipate your actions.
  • Avoid distractions while driving.

Pedestrian Tips

  • When crossing the street in front of a collection truck; make eye contact with the driver. Remember, if you can’t see the driver, the driver can’t see you.
  • Waste collection workers wear protective clothing including boots, gloves and reflective colours. For your safety, do not approach waste collection staff in their work area as the proper personal protective quipment is required around around a waste collection truck.
  • Avoid distractions while walking like texting or talking on the phone.

Winter Curbside Collection

The winter can be challenging for curbside collection, posing serious health and safety risks for our waste collection workers with increased slips and falls. Providing a safe, clear path to your blue boxes, green bin and garbage helps avoid injury for everyone.

Proper Bin Storage

  • Keep your blue boxes, green bin and garbage can 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.
  • Use a paper liner, a piece of cardboard or newspaper in your green bin to prevent material from freezing to the container.
  • Ensure bottles, cans, cartons and jars are empty before placing in your blue box.
  • Materials frozen to your blue boxes or green bin may not be collected.
  • After your bins have been emptied, retrieve them promptly to prevent them from getting buried with snow, blowing around or damaged.

Safe Bin Placement

  • 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 your bins are visible and accessible for waste collection, this includes pre-scheduled bulk items. If they can’t see it or access it, it might get missed.
  • Always place waste material on level ground, NEVER on top of, behind, or in snow piles. Materials placed on a snowbank is unsafe and awkward for the waste collection worker to collect.
  • Wait until morning (before 7 am) to place your waste materials curbside if a storm is occurring overnight.

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]