Compaction Cuts Depot Costs in Grey Highlands New FEL Bin Collection System (CIF 629.8)

The beautiful Beaver River in Grey Highlands

Grey Highlands is a predominantly rural community (882.4 km2) located in southwestern Ontario approximately 200 km north of Toronto and 40 km south of Owen Sound.  According to 2016 census data the Municipality has a population of 9,802 and 5,200 households.  Grey Highlands is one of nine partner municipalities within Grey County.

In 2013, the Municipality applied for funding and technical assistance from the CIF to support preparation of a tender for a new solid waste management collection and processing contract.  A financial analysis to determine if cost savings could be achieved by transitioning to a different collection bin system at the 3 waste disposal sites (WDS) was completed as part of the project.

How they did it

The financial analysis determined that the number of hauls per week from the WDS could be decreased from 3 to 1 by compacting materials.  Two compaction system options were presented by the CIF to the Municipality.

System option Pros Cons/Limitations
Compaction Units
  • Compaction
  • Remote monitoring
  • Easy access
  • Litter control
  • High capital outlay
  • Requires concrete pad and other site improvements
  • Maintenance
Front End Bins (FEL)
  • Compaction
  • Low capital investment
  • Little to no site improvements required
  • Availability of local FEL service
  • Overflow containers must be available for surges
  • Large footprint area


An FEL bin system was selected as the preferred solution as it requires very little capital investment and an FEL collection service was available from a local contractor.  Additional benefits include the lower bin height improving ease of use for customers to deposit items, lockable lids to reduce litter and keep out vermin & precipitation.

Cost savings success

Total project costs amounted to $30,272 for the purchase of:

  • 24 bins for the collection of co-mingled materials (no OCC)

    New FEL bins at one of the WDS
  • 6 bins with slots for OCC
  • Signage

The financial impact of this project:

  • Estimated yearly cost savings of $56,395
  • Payback period on project costs of less than 1 year


Many CIF projects to date have demonstrated the cost benefits of compacting recyclables in depot operations.  Compaction succeeds in minimizing costs as it reduces the number of trips required to move material. To learn more about how compaction can improve operational efficiency, check out:

In this case, the FEL bin system was advantageous over stationary compaction units.  However, there are certainly cases when a compaction unit will provide the most cost effective solution. In many rural or northern remote sites, automated compactors can accept material and notify management/contractors when bin fullness requires shipment. This minimizes staffing costs and ensures only full bins are shipped.

Another key to the success of the FEL bin system in Grey Highlands is the availability of rental FEL bins during times of peak seasonal volumes.  This offers the municipality a cost effective solution to deal with material surges and efficiently allocate capital (not owning 15 bins per site when only 8-10 are needed most times).

The report for CIF project #629.8 will be posted soon, stay tuned to the CIF Project Reports page!

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