Other recycling programs

Recycle more by taking advantage of these local progams. Most are available at our waste management sites - others are available at local businesses. 

Pick up recycled items for free:

Backyard composting

Produce your own compost by using a a composter in your backyard!

Leaves and other yard waste, and some food waste (vegetable and fruit peelings, tea bags, coffee grounds, and egg shells) can be composted. We do not recommend adding dairy products, meat or bones to your composter since these may attract pests.

Before you start, please check with your local municipality about any by-laws that deal with backyard composting, e.g. placement.

For information on the benefits of compost, how to build your own composter, and how to use compost, please go to the Compost Council of Canada website.

Please note that backyard composters are no longer available this year from our sites. We have distributed our 2016 supply. We will announce when our 2017 supply is available.

Cooking oil recycling

Since only small quantities (maximum 1 cup) of used household cooking oil can go into the green bin, please drop off larger quantities for free at the Waterloo or Cambridge waste management sitesMaximum: 25 litres. 

In Waterloo, please empty your container into the labelled bulk cooking oil tank near the Household Hazardous Waste depot, 925 Erb St. W., Gate 2.  Empty plastic containers can be placed in the nearby recycling cart.

In Cambridge, please tell the scale house operator that you have cooking oil to recycle and the operator will provide instructions. 

What happens to it? The oil gets recycled into bio-diesel. 

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Electronic waste recycling 

Electronic waste was banned from the Waterloo landfill and curbside collection, effective June 6, 2005. Why? Electronic waste contains

  • various metals and other materials which can be reused or recycled, and
  • harmful components which should not be landfilled.

What is electronic waste?

Answering machine
Audio/video equipment (e.g. stereo, camcorder, speakers, tape drive, etc.)
Camera (35 mm or digital)
CD ROM, CD writer 
Cell phone, Cell phone charger 
Circuit board
Computer (CPU, hard drive, laptop)
Computer mouse
Computer speaker
Disk drive
DVD player/writer, DVD ROM 
Electric typewriter
Fax machine


Network hardware

Portable radios (e.g. boom box)

Satellite receiver
Telephone (cell or wired)
UPS (uninterrupted power supply/battery back- up system)
Video game console (e.g. Sega, Nintendo, etc.)

Video game controllers, joysticks
Wireless device (Palm, Blackberry, etc.)

These items are BANNED from landfill and curbside collection. Electronic waste set out for curbside collection will not be collected.

Where to recycle your electronic waste: (residential only)

For information about recycling business e-waste, please go to Recycling for Business, Electronics recycling.

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Household Hazardous Waste (HHW) - residential only 

Separating HHW from regular garbage helps ensure that dangerous chemicals do not harm human health and the environment.

What is Household Hazardous Waste?

Acids and alkaline
Car anti-freeze / batteries / motor oil  
Fluorescent lamps and energy efficient, compact light bulbs (CFLs)
Fuel (non-transferable)
Household chemicals (cleaners)
Lawn and garden chemicals
Old mercury thermostats
Paints and solvents
Propane tanks

Single-use batteries
Syringes - sealed in puncture-proof container only (See details in "How to prepare" below)
Waxes and polishes

Are you a business and need information about hazardous waste disposal? Please go to our Commercial Services page.

How to prepare HHW for drop-off:

  • Set up a spot to collect/store HHW in your home in a dry location away from sources of heat/light and out of the reach of children.
  • Keep hazardous waste in the original container so that the chemical can be identified safely. If not in the original container, please label for content.
  • All containers must be properly sealed.
  • For syringes:  Place syringes in a puncture-proof container with a screw-top lid (such as an empty bleach or fabric softener bottle) or an approved syringe disposal container (available at pharmacies). Be careful! Some plastic bottles, such as pop/water bottles, are too thin and needles can puncture through the container. Do not dispose of syringes in your curbside garbage or recycling box containers

Where can I take HHW?

  1. Return to local stores:

  • For paint and lighting products that contain mercury (including compact fluorescent light bulbs), visit the Regeneration website to find a drop-off location near you. ReGeneration is a provincial stewardship program operated by Product Care Association. 
  • For single-use batteries, automotive chemicalsOrange Drop logo such as antifreeze and oil, empty oil containers, oil filters, pressurized cylinders, and fertilizers and pesticides, make the drop! This is another provincial stewardship program. Orange Drop manages a network of local stores that accepts these types of HHW. Check the Orange Drop Program website to find a location near your home  .
  • For single-use batteries: Call2Recycle is "North America's first and largest battery stewardship program - is a non-profit organization that collects and recycles batteries at no cost for municipalities, businesses and consumers". To find a drop-off location near you, go to their website and type in your postal code.
  • For unused and expired medicines and "sharps", go to the Health Products Stewardship Association website . Type in your postal code to find a pharmacy near you that takes back these materials. Note: Sharps such as syringes, need to be placed in approved syringe disposal containers (available from your pharmacy).

2.  Regional HHW depots:

When brought to a Regional HHW drop-off location, our specially-trained staff sort the chemicals for recycling or safe disposal. Cambridge Waste Management site (201 Savage Drive) and Waterloo Waste Management site (925 Erb St. West, Gate 2) accept a wide range of household hazardous waste. (See our downloadable postcard for more information.)

  • Maximum 25 litres per drop-off.
  • Open from Monday to Saturday, 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.
  • Closed on statutory holidays.

Remember! Do not place HHW in your curbside garbage and recycling containers.

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Motor oil and oil filter recycle program

This is a residential program only. Businesses are not permitted to use this program and may refer to our Workplace Waste Reduction and Recycling Directory for alternatives

Motor oil: A maximum of 25 litres of used motor oil per household per month is accepted. Empty oil into bulk tanks available at the Cambridge (201 Savage Drive) and Waterloo (925 Erb Street West, Gate 2) transfer stations. Please, no five gallon pails.

Not accepted: Anti-freeze, transmission fluid, brake fluid. These items should not be poured into the tanks. Instead, please drop them off at our Cambridge (201 Savage Drive), or Waterloo (925 Erb St. West, Gate 2).Household Hazardous Waste depot.

Oil Filters: A maximum of five used oil filters per household per month can be accepted at Regional transfer stations.

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Polystyrene or "Styrofoam" recycling program

Do you have large chunks of packing Styrofoam? If so, drop off these off for recycling!

Acceptable items: Large pieces of packing Styrofoam only, e.g., used to protect electronics.

Not accepted: Foam chips or peanuts. Also, no food grade Styrofoam including plates and cups.

Where: Drop off at the Region's Waterloo transfer station, 925 Erb St. W., Gate 2 from Monday to Saturday, 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Fees will apply. 

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Goodwill logo.jpgTextile reuse program - Goodwill Industries

The Region of Waterloo has partnered with Goodwill Industries for reuse and recycling of textiles (clothing) and household items. Your donations are sold at Goodwill stores and 100 per cent of the proceeds are used to support our community.


Acceptable items:

Clothing, outerwear, footwear - gently used for children, women and men

Accessories - belts, purses, jewellery, scarves, gloves, hats

Recreational - toys, games, sports equipment, books, audio, video musical instruments

Household - kitchen items, home decor, tools, linens, textiles

Antiques, collectables, giftware

For a complete list of acceptable donations, visit Goodwill Industries.

Drop-off locations:

  • Waterloo Waste Management site - an attended Goodwill donation centre
    925 Erb St. W. (Gate 2) Monday to Saturday, 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.
  • Cambridge Transfer Station (textile collection box)
    201 Savage Drive, Monday to Saturday, 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.
  • Goodwill Cambridge, 52 Main St., Tel: 519-620-9719
  • Goodwill Kitchener, 1348 Weber St., East, Tel: 519-894-0628

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Tire recycling programs

Tires can be recycled into many different products such as flooring, landscape tiles, roof shakes, and playground mulch.

Since tires are banned from landfill and will not be collected through curbside collection programs, here are a couple of ways to recycle your tires:

  1. Check out Rethink Tires website. Enter your postal code to find nearby locations accepting tires, and the latest information about tire recycling intiatives. Locations accept tires from most on and off-road passenger, industrial, and agricultural vehicles for free.
  2. Drop off tires at Regional waste management sites. Tires from cars and small passenger trucks only: maximum 51 cm (20 in.). Remove rims. Rims can be recycled in the scrap metal bins available at these sites. Regional fees apply. 

Other FREE diversion programs 

  • LCBO and beer containers deposit-return. Visit their website for more information.  
  • Ask your local retailers about take-back programs they offer. Some businesses take back ink cartridges and other items for reuse and recycling.

Waste Reduction and Recycling Directory

Check out our directory for waste reduction, reuse and recycling options for everything from appliances to wood. While meant more for businesses, some contacts do allow for residential drop-off.