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Outdoor property safety - part 2

Here's part 2 of Outdoor property safety to complete the picture of what you need to know about maintaining your property during winter. It covers:

  • Garbage collection 
  • Snowfalls and garbage collection
  • Road clearing and garbage collection
  • Recycling tips for better outdoor property safety.

If you need a refresher...part 1 contains information on clearing snow and ice from other important areas in, around, near and on your property like mail boxes, storm drains, fire hydrants and utility meters.

Designated garbage collection spot

You probably use the same spot all year-round for garbage collection. Typically, it's at the end of the driveway and just off to one side. However, during winter, the snow adds a new dimension.

Having a designated garbage spot helps you, the garbage collection services, motorists and pedestrians to know what this area is being used for and why you are keeping it clear. 

By placing your bins and boxes in an open area, they can immediately be seen from the street. You'll be helping the waste collectors be more winter-efficient not to mention safer and easer for them to pick up the garbage and recyclables too. 

Best early bird winter strategy

The best strategy to start with at the very first snowfall is to keep your regular garbage collection area clear. Keep this practice up every time there's a snowfall because if left uncleared, collecting garbage and recycling bins becomes precarious and less than safe for everyone. Not just for you trying to find a level spot to put them out for collection but also for the waste maintenance crew who's trying to pick up the garbage.

Options for garbage collection

You have two basic options on how you deal with the garbage, these are:

  1. Clear the snow down to the ground, or
  2. Create a snow bank that's large enough to accommodate garbage bins and recyclable bins.

If you've not maintained a clear area from the start then you are probably going to carve out a flat area in the snow bank instead. It could be either left or right of your driveway; whichever is the norm for you or your neighbourhood.

Two things to keep in mind with the snow bank option, these are:

  1. Over winter, with successive snowfalls, the snow will compact more. If you have to dig it out further, it will be hard going as the snow and ice will be solid as a rock. Whatever you decide, it means continuing to maintain the designated area after each and every snowfall. It's in your best winter safety interest after all.
  2. Remember snow banks melt so bins and boxes might tip over scattering their contents before they are collected. You'll have to make sure there is a level surface under them to begin with. This is just common sense for everyone involved.

Safety for the waste management crew

Keep in mind that the waste collection services crew generally won't pick up bins and boxes from high up on a snow bank or hidden behind a snow bank, as it's unsafe and awkward for them. You'll be left with full bins for next week's collection instead. Try to place the bins as close to the ground as possible and in a very visible position.

Snowfalls and garbage collection

If new snow has covered your garbage and recyclable bins after you've put them out for collection, it's your job to brush off and remove any snow that's accumulated. You don't have to do this but it helps the collectors to see what's to be taken away more quickly and lessens any confusion.

Recycling tips for better outdoor property safety

As part of your outdoor property safety knowledge, here are some collection tips for better recycling.

  • Keep your recyclables inside until collection day.
  • If there's some liquid or food still left in them, there's a good chance these containers will freeze and get stuck to the bin itself. The collection service empties the box and expects all the items to be loose so they may not clear any stuck and frozen items. It's a fifty/fifty split, they may or may not.
  • Stack the recyclable boxes on top of each other with the heaviest one on top so there's less likelihood of things spilling out or blowing away. If they do, it's your job to get them back in the box or bin again.

Road clearing and garbage collection

Snowplows are a necessary evil on one hand and a blessing on the other. Snowplow operators employed by the city clear the roads, which is great. What's not so great is that the snowplow pushes more snow along in front of the plow blade that quickly forms another snow bank or adds to the existing snow banks.


What invariably happens, is that nice area you've just cleared will be filled in again once the snowplow has gone along your street. The forward momentum pushes the collected snow in front of the blade and blocks driveways, sidewalks and yes, the garbage collection areas.

Sometimes, the snow can cover garbage and recyclable bins too if they happen to be out waiting for collection. The end result is that it covers up some of the areas that you've just spent time digging out. 

So out you go again, to reshovel the same areas. Arrrrrh! 

Take a deep breath and then another.... and just think of this as a little more exercise you need without the dark thoughts about why you are doing it - again! 

Or think about a nice little reward to yourself once you are done. Dark chocolate works for me every time! 

Snow shovelling safety

No matter what, shovelling snow is hard work. There are safety precautions that you'll be wise to do when it comes to any kind of snow removal either by hand by using powered tools. Getting exercise in winter is a good thing for heart, body and soul, even snow shovelling. However, it can be an exhausting task so take breaks in between and remember, it doesn't have to be all done at once.

Return to Outdoor Property Safety - Part 1

Return to Winter Safety from Outdoor Property Safety - Part 2

Return to Winter Living Advisor from Outdoor Property Safety - Part 2