Peel Region in Canada pilots Chemical Cab program to tackle household hazardous waste and electronics waste at multi-residential buildings.
By Carol Chaput

It is estimated that 1,300 tons of household hazardous waste (HHW) and electronics waste (e-waste) ends up in the landfill each year from multi-residential buildings in Peel Region, a regional municipality in Ontario, Canada that operates the second largest waste management system in the province for more than 1.5 million people.

As part of our long-term goal to divert 75 percent of waste from the landfill by 2034 and our efforts towards a strong circular economy, it remains a priority for us to address this issue and find new ways of helping building property owners/managers and residents to dispose of such material properly and safely.

Extending Drop-Off Service
With this goal in mind, we looked at our current programs and infrastructure and realized that we had an opportunity to extend the HHW and e-waste drop-off service currently available at our network of six Community Recycling Centers (typically referred to as waste drop-off depots).

This, ultimately, meant figuring out a way to bring the service directly to multi-residential buildings and addressing any barriers that residents and property owners/managers may have with properly disposing of this material, such as convenience, accessibility, and operational considerations.


Peel Region provides educational support material for residential buildings currently part of Peel’s Chemical Cab pilot program, which help property managers safely collect household hazardous waste and electronics waste. This includes safety posters that highlight important instructions and health and safety requirements that keep residents safe when dropping off items at designated bins located at their buildings.  Images courtesy of Region of Peel.


Bin labels are used by Peel Region, with large images and text, to help residents and property managers identify the types of items that are acceptable for drop-off at designated bins as part of the Chemical Cab pilot program at their residential building.

Two-Phased Approach
From there, Peel Region launched a new pilot program using a two-phased approach of first evaluating the best approach to collecting these materials, and then measuring if the best collection method would decrease the amount of these materials ending up in the wrong waste stream.

Through phase one, it was determined that the best approach to collecting these materials was through stationary containers and a call-in service for collection—appropriately named, the Chemical Cab program. Data also revealed an opportunity to broaden the list of acceptable items.

Peel Region is now well into its second phase of the Chemical Cab pilot, where participating buildings have been outfitted with receptacles, specially designed to safely hold most common types of HHW (such as paint, aerosols, fuels, adhesives, and other home chemicals), e-waste (such as TVs, audio equipment, mobile devices and accessories, and electronic toys), florescent tubes, and CFL bulbs.
If you are wondering about batteries, the collection in Ontario has been transitioned to producers and is overseen by a third-party, however, we continue to promote their service where it is not in place.

Service and Support
Once the receptacles are at least half-full, property managers can call Peel Region for pickup service. Proactively, Peel Region will also check in every 90 days to help avoid material overflow and help discourage any incorrect disposal or illegal dumping.

Property owners/managers are also supported with educational and promotional material including instructional guidelines, posters, and resident handouts to ensure smooth implementation of the program.
This second phase will run for one year with a focus on measuring the program’s impact by conducting a series of pre- and post-implementation composition audits to determine if a measurable decrease of HHW and e-waste in waste streams at participating buildings are being achieved. Upon conclusion and evaluation of the pilot, Peel Region will determine if a region-wide program is feasible.

Collection Tips
If you are a municipality that is considering running a similar pilot, here are some factors we recommend keeping in mind:
• Gather champions for your cause—Reach out to building property owners/managers who demonstrate a commitment to the environment and proper waste management that would be open and ready to implement the program.

• Identify the most common items being disposed—Visual inspections and waste audits can tell you what type of HHW and e-waste are ending up in your garbage and recycling. Also consider if you would be collecting material from both residential disposal as well as material generated by building maintenance and operations.

• Determine how to safely contain the material—Chemical compatibility is an important factor when figuring out how to store the material to minimize safety hazards such as burns, explosions, and fires.

• Seek and listen to the customer’s voice—Collaborating with property owners and managers and seeking their feedback on what works best for their building is crucial to ensuring a smooth program launch, as well as getting their support to encourage resident participation.

• Be aware of your jurisdiction’s specific HHW regulations—Research your jurisdictional requirements for managing the type of materials you will be collecting, including any restrictions on volume limits, material classifications, and reporting.

• You do not know what you do not measure—Two types of measurement are important. First, is auditing composition to observe a reduction in HHW and e-waste in your waste streams. Second, is measuring the type and volume of materials being collected through the pilot. These data sets allow you to understand how the building is adapting to the program. If other materials are being dropped off by residents, adjust the pilot accordingly.

• Do regular follow-up—Having a regular presence and speaking with the project managers to ensure that they have what they need is helpful to keep the pilot run as it should. Support them in adjusting the number of receptacles required and maintaining them, re-supplying promotional material, and addressing any challenges with participation and proper use of the receptacles by residents. | WA

Carol Chaput is Program Manager, Operational Planning and Implementation at Peel Region’s Waste Management Division. Carol has been with the Region of Peel for 22 years. To date, she has overseen several environmental education programs in the area of Public Works and currently leads a team focused on planning, piloting and delivering various waste diversion programs for Peel Region to reach its long-term goals. For more information about Peel Region’s Chemical Cab program, e-mail [email protected].