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Garbage collection

The Region of Waterloo offers residential curbside collection for green bin organics, blue box recycling, garbage, appliance and bulky items, and seasonal yard waste. Other recycling programs are also available at our facilities.

Click here for the rules and limits for garbage collection.

Questions or collection issues? Please call our 24-hour Customer Service desk at 519-575-4400.

 General information and rules

When is my collection day?

The new schedule and limits for garbage collection are now in effect.  Click here to learn more.  

Garbage collection in Waterloo Region is regulated by several By-laws and Bans.

 Scheduling and reminders: My Waste app
 This app is for homeowners in Waterloo Region with curbside collection. It offers:
  • Easy-to-find waste information and
  • A quick set up for set-out reminders for our collection programs

Advertisement for My-Waste app

Download this free app from the App Store or Google Play. Blackberry users can access My Waste functions via Pingstreet, available through Blackberry World. An online version is available, too!

 Tips to ensure waste collection
Check the Waste Whiz to make sure you prepared the item(s) properly for collection. Some items require special preparation, and others can't be collected curbside at all.
  • Don't snooze! Place your items out by 7 a.m. on your collection day. Different trucks collect at different times, and sometimes their routes change. All items need to be out by 7 a.m. on collection day to get picked up. You can set them to the curb anytime after 5 p.m. the night before, and all containers (or uncollected items) must be brought back in by 9 a.m. the day after collection.
  • Use a proper container:
    • Garbage: Containers must be no larger than 121 litres (32 gallons), no taller than 84 cm (33 inches) and no wider than 48 cm (19 inches). They must be in good condition with two attached handles, and any lids must come off completely (not be attached to the container). Garbage will be collected in plastic bags, but they must be able to fully contain and support the contents when lifted. Garbage in cardboard boxes will not be collected. Here's a handy card on Garbage can sizes and weight restrictions.
    • Blue box: Only recyclables in an approved blue box will be collected. Containers must be made of a rigid plastic that won't bend or give when lifted, and have a rim around the top of the container to be hooked on the truck for sorting. Recyclables in wheeled carts, laundry hampers or storage totes will not be collected. Recyclables in cardboard boxes will not be collected. Boxes must be broken down and bundled for recycling.
    • Green bin: Only materials in an approved green bin container as supplied by the Region of Waterloo will be collected. Green bins are available at no cost at the Region's Cambridge (201 Savage Drive) and Waterloo (925 Erb Street West, Gate 1) Administration buildings Monday to Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Paper and certified compostable bags are acceptable as liners, but regular plastic bags are not. NOTE: The Region is temporarily out of green bins. As soon as green bins are available, we will update our website. 
    • Yard waste: Yard waste must be in paper bags, or a reusable container identified with a yellow Yard Waste sticker (call 519-575-4400 to order) or large, bright ribbon. Yard waste in plastic bags or blue boxes will not be collected.
  • Keep within the weight limit. There is a weight limit of 23 kgs (50 lbs) for all containers and bundles.
  • Place your containers in the right spot:
    • Place items at the end of your driveway at street level, without blocking the sidewalk.
    • Please ensure items are within easy reach of the street, and not blocked by parked cars.
    • Keep items (green bin, blue box, garbage) separate for easy identification and collection.
    • Consider sharing a stop with your neighbour!
    • In winter, please make sure all items are at street level, either at the end of your driveway or on a shovelled out flat area close to the curb. Waste items piled on snowbanks will not be collected.
  • Keep it safe! These items are prohibited - do not put them in the garbage (when in doubt, check with the Waste Whiz!)
    • any material that may pose a health or safety hazard (i.e. sharp objects not prepared in a manner to prevent injury)
    • bio medical waste*, syringes/medical waste*
    • car/automotive parts*
    • cardboard*
    • concrete, bricks, rocks or patio slabs*, construction, demolition and renovation materials*
    • dead animals, feces, sewage, manure
    • electronic waste*, TVs*
    • flammable/combustible item (i.e. compressed gas cylinders, gasoline containers, fire extinguishers, sealed drums)*
    • glass/mirror/window over 92 cm/3 ft.*
    • grass
    • hazardous waste*
    • hot ashes
    • liquid waste*
    • pallets
    • railway ties*
    • tires*

* These items are banned from landfill and cannot be collected. However, most can be recycled in our other diversion programs when dropped off at the Cambridge or Waterloo Waste Management Centres. User fees may apply.

 Tips to reduce your waste
  1. Recycle all your organics by using the green bin. This can reduce your garbage by over 50 per cent!
  2. Buy only what you need. Take a list when you shop and resist "impulse buys".
  3. Adopt "green" buying habits. Items should be durable and have recycled content. Before buying new, check out what is available at local re-use stores. Ensure any packaging is100 per cent recyclable e.g., wrappers from single serving food such as cookies and granola bars are not recyclable.
  4. Buy local. Purchasing food grown and products made locally reduces packaging, supports the local economy, and reduces the impacts of transportation.

  5. Repair items when possible, including furniture, cellular phones, computers, etc.
  6. Use reusables such as refillable bottles for water and coffee, cloth bags or totes when shopping, and reusable containers for food. Switch to cloth napkins and towels instead of using paper. Save wrapping, gift bags, and ribbons for reuse.

  7. Know what is recyclable in our Blue Box program. (Recent studies found that 14 per cent of garbage could have been put in the blue box.) Plus drop off other recyclables such as Styrofoam, tires and scrap metal at Regional facilities. (Fees will apply.)

  8. Drop off unused household chemicals, batteries, expired medicines and other Household Hazardous Waste.

  9. Donate used clothing and other household items, bicycles, windows, doors, lumber and many other items at the drop-off programs operated by the Region.

  10. Discuss the 3R's - reduce, reuse and recycle - with your family. Make sure they understand how to sort properly and why it is so important.

rethink - react - refuse - REDUCE - reclaim - return - REUSE - refill - repair - RECYCLE - recover - REMEMBER - repeat!

 Uncollected items (items left behind)

There are a number of reasons why things are left behind, including by-law requirements and health and safety concerns. Was your garbage or large item not collected? Did the collection crew leave one of these stickers? Call our Call Centre to help figure things out: 519-575-4400.

We left it behind because it is the Wrong week

We left it behind because there are Too many

We left it behind because it is Too heavy

We left it behind because it is Not allowed

We left it behind because it is not bundled propertly

Here are some common reasons why items are left behind:

Here are some ways to deal with the items left behind:

Item is not acceptable in our program - such as a fireplace insert over 91 kgs (200 lbs), asphalt, boat, cement bird bath or planter, glass vat, hot tub, riding lawn mower, over-sized window, patio door, glass patio table, railway ties, rain barrel, etc.).

  • Some items are too large or heavy for collection staff and vehicles to handle. Check out Waste Whiz to find out how to properly donate or dispose of your item.
Item presents a health and safety concern to the driver - such as lumber with nails, window glass, sharps sticking out of garbage, syringes, hot ashes.
  • Please remove or hammer down any nails in lumber. Size 92 cm (3 ft) and bundle so that each bundle does not weigh more than 23 kg (50 lbs).
  • Window glass and mirrors - see Waste Whiz for instructions.
  • Please ensure there are no sharps sticking out of garbage bags such as broken glass. Please wrap broken glass in several layers of newspaper and tape it closed and/or in a thick, strong plastic bag, and place in the garbage for next week's collection.
  • Take household hazardous waste such as syringes to a local business or to a Regional facility. Check out the information available on our website.
  • Ashes must be cold when set out for collection. Double bag.
Garbage is not in an acceptable container such as cardboard box, recycling box, over-sized containers, overweight containers.
Garbage or bulky item has not been properly prepared, such as garbage is loose/un-bagged, item is difficult to handle (e.g., sofa bed), bundles are oversized (e.g., carpet, lumber).
  • Garbage must be set out in a container that is maintained in a safe, sanitary and usable condition.
  • Large, bulky items such as sofa beds and appliances need to be prepared correctly. Check out Waste Whiz to find out how to properly prepare and set out your item for collection.
  • Bundles set out for garbage must be no longer than 92 cm (3 ft), tied and not weigh more than 23 kg (50 lbs) each.
Item is banned - is not allowed due to by-law requirements. Includes cardboard, tires, wooden pallets, materials considered to be household hazardous waste (compact fluorescent light bulbs, paint, syringes, etc.).
  • Cardboard is banned from landfill and cannot be collected as a waste container. Recycle cardboard in the Blue Box program.
  • Tires from car and small passenger truck tires 50 cm (20 inch) or less, with no rims can be brought to a Regional facility for recycling. Rims can be recycled at Regional facilities, too, as scrap metal. Fees will apply.
  • Wooden pallets can be brought to a Regional facility Fees will apply.
  • Take household hazardous waste to a local business or a Regional facility. Check out the information available on our website.
The amount of garbage set out exceeds the garbage limit, and is not tagged.

Garbage containers set out in excess of the standard garbage limits will not be collected unless they are properly prepared and have a garbage tag.

Item was set out late.

Collection begins at 7 a.m. so all items must be set out by then to guarantee collection.

Large item was set out not according to the schedule, i.e., large items are collected every second week, with garbage.

Check the schedule to ensure you set out on the correct week.

Garbage has not been set out in a proper location, such as on top of a snow bank.

Place your garbage and large items at the end of your driveway so that it can be easily seen and reached by collection staff. Do not place items on top of or behind snow banks or behind cars parked along the curb.

Information for landlords and property owners

Landlords or property owners whose rental/condo property receives Region-provided curbside waste collection need to know that collection and disposal of waste within the Regional Municipality of Waterloo is restricted by the conditions cited under the by-laws and bans passed by Regional Council:

  • By-Law 17-007

    By-law to Govern the Collection of Waste and the Provision of Waste Management Facilities in The Regional Municipality of Waterloo and to Repeal By-law 98-87, as amended, and By-law 02-011 of The Regional Municipality of Waterloo

The most common by-law infractions are related to early/late placement and non-removal:

Properly prepared waste and recycling should be placed out to the curb: Section 6: No more than ten (10) collectible waste containers per property Section 10: Not before 7 p.m. the night before collection day Section 10: Be at the curb by 7 a.m. on collection day Section 11: All uncollected waste and containers must be removed by 9 a.m. the day after collection.
At all other times, the curb must be clear of all waste including litter, uncollected material and empty containers

  • To review the by-laws in detail, please refer to the by-laws and bans section on this website.
  • To help you educate your tenants and avoid fines, here is a downloadable flyer that you can post at your properties. This flyer Includes information on how to prepare green bin, blue box and garbage materials for curbside collection.
  • Information notice - Important information for landlords and property managers who have buildings that receive Region of Waterloo curbside collection regarding service levels and upcoming changes.