Blair Conrad

User-Sourced Calendar Feeds for Waterloo Yard Waste Pickup

(Thanks to Jon Udell, whose insightful posts are the only reason this would ever have occurred to me.)

I live in Waterloo, Ontario, a city with weekly residential waste collection. My collection day is Monday. In the warm months, there's an additional biweekly (that's every 2 weeks, not twice a week) collection of what's called yard waste: grass clippings, raked-up leaves, tree branches, and so on.

People in my area (including me) have trouble remembering which weeks are yard waste weeks. This means that every two weeks I get to see collections of plant material left at the curb outside people's homes and then brought in a day or two later, only to reappear the next week.

I use tools to augment my memory. Every year, at the beginning of the warm season, I visit the Region of Waterloo's website where I can learn about their Yard waste residential collection program. Here I find links to two PDFs: a pretty version of the schedule for Waterloo, and an "accessible" version.

I look at one of those schedules, and I create a recurrning Google Calendar event. Then my phone tells me on Sunday night whether to haul the tree parts to the street. It works really well.

However, every year, I've wished that the Region provided an .iCalendar feed or created a Google Calendar for me so I wouldn't have to do this. But I haven't done more than wish.

This year, I'm doing more. For starters, I created a few Google Calendars. One for me (and my fellow Monday-pickup people), and four for everyone else in Waterloo (and Cambridge). The Region's web site gave me start and end weeks for pickups, so it was very easy to make a biweekly repeating event, using these Google Calendar settings:

Monday yard waste repeat schedule for Waterloo

Lo and behold, it shows up in my calendar:

Monday yard waste shown in Google Calendar

I created the Tuesday through Friday calendars by making the obvious modification to the schedule above.

I put all the calendars on a separate page that I intend to maintain until the Region provides replacements. Or I move. Go! Get one for your collection day.

Next, I'm going to pester the Region, showing them how easy it was to do this and to see if they'd be willing to carry on with the work next year. If something comes of it, I'll let you know.