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Garbage and Recycling Rules and Limits

As of March 6, 2017, new curbside collection rules and limits will take effect, and are set out below.

Curbside collection

Garbage bags and containers
Collection cycle
Once every second week.
Limits
  • Single family homes and legal duplexes: 4 standard size garbage bags or cans per household, up to 23 kilograms (50 pounds) each.
  • Buildings with 3 to 6 units: 10 standard size garbage bags or cans per building, up to 23 kilograms (50 pounds) each.
Rules
  • Garbage must be at the curb by 7 a.m. the morning of collection
  • Garbage must be accessible (not behind a snow bank, parked car, etc.)
  • Garbage must meet approved bag or can size
  • Additional bags or cans over the limit will need garbage tags
Approved size and weight
  • Maximum bag/can weight: 23 kilograms (50 pounds)
  • Maximum can volume: 121 litres (32 gallons)
  • Maximum can height: 84 centimeters (33 inches) 
  • Maximum can width: 48 cm (19 inches)
  • Cans must have 2 handles, and any lids must be removable
  • Large construction garbage bags or oversized wheeled cans will not be accepted

Maximum can volume 121 litresMaximum bag weight 23 kilograms or 50 pounds

 

Approved size garbage cans 48 cm wide by 84 cm deep.

Double garbage limit days

Four times a year, after certain statutory holidays, there will be double garbage limit days where you can put twice the regular amount of garbage bags or cans at your curb for collection without the need for garbage tags.

You will be able to put out double the amount of garbage bags or cans at your curb for collection on the garbage collection day following:

  • New Year's Day
  • Good Friday
  • Thanksgiving
  • Christmas

Please check your collection calendar (mailed to homes in February 2017) for details.

Holiday and Christmas tree collection

If you have a holiday or Christmas tree to put out, you can put it out for on your collection day from January 2 to January 12, 2018.

All lights and ornaments must be removed.

This is for natural trees only. Artificial trees must go out as a bulky item and counts as 1 of the 3 allowable items.

Not sure what goes where?
Ask the Waste Whiz or get the My Waste app.
Garbage tags

Any garbage bags or cans over the limit need to have proper garbage tags placed on the bag or can contents for curbside collection. Bags or cans beyond the limit that do not have garbage tags will not be collected, and a notice will be left explaining why an item was left behind. Landlords and property owners are responsible for ensuring their tenants comply with these rules.

Where to buy garbage tags
  1. Online:  Garbage tags are also available for purchase online using Visa or Mastercard.  (Mobile users will need to scroll to the bottom of the page.)
  2. Locations where you can buy garbage tags:

Ayr

  • North Dumfries Community Complex (NDCC), 2958 Greenfield Road, Ayr, Monday to Friday 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Breslau

  • Breslau Community Centre 100 Andover Drive, Breslau N0B 1M0 Monday to Friday 4 to 9 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Cambridge

  • Customer Service desk, Region of Waterloo Public Health building, 150 Main Street, Cambridge Monday to Friday 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
  • Waste Management transfer station - scalehouse. 201 Savage Drive, Cambridge NiT 1S6, Monday to Saturday 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. 

Elmira:

  • Township of Woolwich office 24 Church Street West, Elmira  N3B 2Z6 Monday to Friday 9 a.m. to 5p.m.
  • Woolwich Memorial Centre Recreation Complex 24 Snyder Avenue South Elmira N3B 1Y9 Daily 7 a.m. to 11 p.m.

Kitchener:

  • Customer Service desk, Region of Waterloo Administration Headquarters, 150 Frederick Street, Kitchener Monday to Friday 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

St. Clements

  • Township of Wellesley office 4639 Lobsinger Line, St. Clements N0B 2M0 Monday to Friday 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Waterloo:

  • Customer Service desk, Region of Waterloo Public Health building, 99 Regina Street South, Waterloo Monday to Friday 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. 
  • Waste Management Transfer Station - scalehouse. 925 Erb Street West, Gate 2, Waterloo N2J 3Z4 Monday to Saturday 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Additional locations will be added shortly.

Cost
Garbage tags are $2 per tag and are sold in sheets of 5 (for $10). Tags are numbered and have no expiry date.  There is no refund for unused tags.
How to attach garbage tags

Wrap the garbage tag sticker around the neck of the tied garbage bag (do not use tags to seal bag) or stick it to the top item in a can (under the lid).

Tags cannot be used on bulky items, or at the transfer stations.

Other options
To avoid having to buy garbage tags, make sure that you are putting everything you can into your blue box and green bin. If you are going away or have a lot of excess garbage (including from construction, renovating or moving), you can take it to the landfill or transfer stations.
Medical exemption

The only exemption to the new garbage limits is for medical reasons.

If your household requires more garbage bags/cans to go to the curb due to waste from a medical condition (e.g. incontinence products, unrecyclable medical packaging), please fill out the Medical Exemptions Application form, and send it to us, along with a note from your medical professional and proof of residency. We do not need details on your medical condition; please see application for details.

Once accepted and approved, you will be eligible for free garbage tags so that you may put out additional garbage on your collection day. These tags are regular garbage tags to protect your privacy.

To have a copy of the form mailed to you, please contact 519-575-4400.

Blue box
Collection cycle
Once every week.
Limits
Unlimited number of boxes, up to 23 kilograms (50 pounds) each.
Rules
  • Blue boxes must be at the curb by 7 a.m. the morning of collection
  • Blue boxes must be accessible (not behind a snow bank, parked car, etc.)
  • If more than one box is set out, blue box materials must be separated into proper categories (boxes for containers are kept separate from boxes for papers and plastic bags)
  • Blue boxes must meet approved container size
Approved size and weight
  • Maximum box weight: 23 kilograms (50 pounds)
  • Maximum box capacity: 91 litres (24 gallons)
  • Containers must have a rim around the top of the container
  • Containers must be made of rigid plastic that will not bend or give when lifted
  • Wheeled carts, storage totes and cardboard boxes will not be accepted as containers
  • Larger size boxes can only be used for containers. Smaller boxes may be used for either paper or containers.

Use two blue boxes, one for containers, the other for paper and plastic bags

What goes in which blue box?

Please use one box for containers and another for paper, boxes, plastic bags and outer wrap (you can have an unlimited number of boxes that are properly separated).  If you only have enough recyclables to put out one blue box, please place containers on one side, paper and plastic bags on the other.  

single blue box properly sorted

Containers

Paper, cardboard/boxes, plastic bags and outer wrap

  • Drinking boxes and cartons for milk and juice (throw away straws, empty, rinse and flatten containers)
  • Glass bottles and jars (remove lid, empty and rinse, place lid in blue box as well)
  • Metal cans, pop cans, aerosol, paint cans, aluminum foil (tinfoil) and trays (rinse, crumple and flatten if possible)
  • Rigid plastic containers for eating, drinking, cleaning, personal and pet care including packages from toys, electronics, etc. (any container with recycling number 1 to 6 printed on item, except Styrofoam)

Put containers loose in blue box. Do not bag containers.

Do not put Styrofoam in the blue box, this goes in the garbage.

  • Paper (newspaper, writing and computer paper, flyers, envelopes, phone books, magazines, hard and soft cover books - put in grocery bag and tie shut to prevent flyaway litter)
  • Corrugated cardboard - flatten and bundle with twine to a maximum size of 30 inches high (75 cm), 30 inches long (75 cm), and 8 inches tall/high (20 cm)
  • Boxboard (cereal boxes, tissue, egg cartons, toilet paper rolls and paper towel rolls). Flatten and stuff in an un-flattened larger box, such as a cereal box, to avoid flyaway litter
  • Plastic bags and outer wrap (grocery and shopping bags, bread bags, fresh or frozen fruit and vegetable bags, outer milk bags, zipper bags, sandwich bags, dry cleaning bags, road salt and water softening salt bags, outer wrap packaging from packages of diapers, toilet paper, paper towels, water bottles, etc.) Put all in one plastic bag, tie shut, put in blue box

Do not put in pasta or crinkle bags, wrap from meat or cheese, stretch wrap or stand-up pouch bottom bags, single serving food wrappers (crackers, granola bar wrappers, etc.)

Sort all plastic, glass and metal containers into one blue box.

Sort paper, boxboard and cardboard into a separate blue box. Put all plastic bags inside one bag, tie shut and put with paper

Do not put in either blue box
  • Automotive parts/metal
  • Batteries
  • Broken glass or mirrors
  • Bubble wrap
  • Ceramic dishware
  • Clothing
  • Diapers
  • Electronics (including TVs)
  • Hangers
  • Hazardous waste
  • Knives
  • Light bulbs
  • Metal cookware
  • Propane tanks
  • Scrap metal
  • Styrofoam
  • Syringes
  • Waxed paper
  • Wood
  • Yard waste
Not sure what goes where?
Ask the Waste Whiz or get the My Waste app.
How can I get an extra blue box?

The new "containers only" blue box (which is not mandatory) is available for residents needing extra storage for recyclables, and can be picked up from:

  • 201 Savage Drive, Cambridge (Monday to Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.)
  • 925 Erb Street West, Gate 1, Waterloo (Monday to Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.)

New homeowners can also pick up a smaller blue box (for paper and plastic bags) at the same time. Using a larger box for containers is not required, merely an option to provide additional storage.

Other recycling and reuse programs
There are many other recycling and reuse programs in the region as well as items that can be taken to the landfill or transfer stations.
Green bin
Collection cycle
Once every week.
Limits
Unlimited bins, up to 23 kilograms (50 pounds) each.
Rules
  • Green bin must be at the curb by 7 a.m. the morning of collection
  • Green bin must be accessible (not behind a snow bank, parked car, etc.)
  • Green bin must meet approved container size
  • Green bins can be lined with paper or certified compostable bags, or may be left unlined (unlined containers may have more issues with sticking/freezing) 
  • You can place one extra paper or certified compostable bag of organics on top of your green bin for collection. Additional green bins are available free of charge.
Approved size and weight
  • You must use an approved size green bin (available from the Region of Waterloo)
  • Maximum height: 60 centimeters (24 inches)
  • Maximum capacity: 45 litres (12 gallons)
  • Liner bags must be paper or certified compostable (with approved logo)

Certified compostable plastic bag logo Certified compostable plastic bag logo

What goes in the green bin?
  • All food scraps (meat, dairy, eggs and shells, fish, seafood and shells, grains and baked goods, vegetables, fruits, candy, bones, coffee grinds and filters, tea bags)
  • All sauces including oils, lard, grease, fat and spreads (however, large quantities of liquids are not accepted)
  • All soiled paper and paper products (paper cups, plates, tissues, fast food wrappers and paper towel, popcorn bags, shredded paper - but limit to a couple of handfuls)
  • Pet waste (pet beddings for smaller animals, doggy bags, cat litter), contained in certified compostable or paper bags (for health reasons, these items can't be loose in the green bin)
  • Hair, fur, nail clippings and feathers
  • Houseplant waste and wreath greenery
  • Sawdust, wood ashes (cold and wrapped in paper) and wood chips
How can I get an extra green bin?

You can pick up extra green bins for free at:

  • 201 Savage Drive, Cambridge (Monday to Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.)
  • 925 Erb Street West, Gate 1, Waterloo (Monday to Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.)
Do not put in the green bin
  • Cigarette butts
  • Cleaning wipes
  • Clothing or textiles
  • Corks
  • Diapers
  • Dirt
  • Dryer lint
  • Dryer sheets
  • Gum
  • Hazardous materials or liquids
  • Large quantities of liquids
  • Paint
  • Plastic grocery, shopping and garbage bags (non-certified compostable)
  • Plastic wrap
  • Sanitary or hygiene products
  • Sponges
  • Vacuum sweepings
  • Wax (candle, cheese wax from wrapping, wax paper)
  • Yard waste
Not sure what goes where?
Ask the Waste Whiz or get the My Waste app.
Bulky items and appliances (including carpet and furniture)
Collection cycle
Once every second week (approximately twice per month), on the same collection day as garbage.
Limits
  • Single family homes and legal duplexes: 3 items per home
  • Buildings with 3 to 6 units: 10 items per building
Rules
  • Bulky items and appliances must be at the curb by 7 a.m. the morning of collection
  • Items must be accessible (not behind a snow bank, parked car, etc.)
  • Items must not be hazardous, sharp or dangerous, and cannot be construction materials
  • Any items over the limit will not be collected (garbage tags can't be used for bulky items)
  • Some items may require additional preparation for collection (see the Waste Whiz for more information)
Approved size and weight
  • Bulky items that do not fit in regular garbage bags or cans or are over 50 pounds (23 kg)
  • Construction and renovation waste will only be accepted if properly prepared and within item limits.  If you are having renovation work done (like new floors installed) ask your crew to take the waste with them when done.
What counts as a bulky item or appliance?
  • Any bulky item that does not fit into standard garbage bags or cans
  • Fridge
  • Washer or dryer
  • Dishwasher
  • Lamp
  • Vacuum cleaner
  • Microwave
  • Furniture (couches, chairs, tables)
  • Carpet (tie and bundle, no more than 90 centimeters (3 feet) in length, each bundle is one item)
  • Scrap wood (tie and bundle, no more than 90 centimeters (3 feet) in length, each bundle is one item; no nails)
  • Artificial Christmas or holiday trees

Please note that construction, renovation and moving waste outside of these allowable items will not be collected and will need to be taken to the landfill or a transfer station.

Not sure what goes where?
Ask the Waste Whiz or get the My Waste app.
Where else can I dispose of my bulky items or appliances?
Additional items can be taken to the landfill or transfer stations.
Yard waste
Collection cycle
March to November, once every second week (approximately twice per month), alternates with garbage collection week.
Limits
Unlimited bags, containers or properly prepared bundles, up to 23 kilograms (50 pounds) each.
Rules
  • Yard waste must be at the curb by 7 a.m. the morning of collection
  • Yard waste must be accessible (not piled together, behind a parked car, etc.)
  • Yard waste must meet size requirements and be in proper paper bags (no plastic bags) or containers with a big ribbon on the handle or a yard waste sticker
  • Yard waste left in other types of bins or boxes (e.g., blue box or green bin) or improperly lablelled will not be collected
  • Yard waste in plastic garbage or construction bags will not be accepted
  • Branches must be bundled and tied
Approved size and weight
  • Maximum bundle size: 90 centimeters (3 feet) in length
  • Maximum branch size: 90 centimeters (3 feet) in length and 8 centimeters (3 inches) in diameter
  • Maximum weight: 23 kilograms (50 pounds)

Bundle yard waste no longer than 90 cm long and 23 kgs weight

Put yard waste in paper bags, or a garbage can with yard waste sticker

What counts as yard waste?
  • Bundled branches (within the standard size and weight limits)
  • Leaves
  • Pine cones
  • Plants
  • Pruning from bushes and hedges
  • Sod edgings
  • Weeds
  • Other compostable yard waste
What does not go out with yard waste?
  • Branches that exceed 3 feet (92 cm) in length and 3 inches (8 cm) in diameter
  • Unbundled branches
  • Animal or pet waste
  • Concrete
  • Kitchen waste
  • Nails
  • Pallets
  • Stones
  • Stumps
  • Treated lumber or wood products
Other options to reduce yard waste
  • Backyard composters (great for lawn trimmings and organic waste)
  • Grasscycling (mulch your grass and leave on your lawn when mowing to provide nutrients for a healthier lawn)
Not sure what goes where?
Ask the Waste Whiz or get the My Waste app.
Electronic waste

Electronic waste is banned from curbside collection and the landfill.

Get information on where to recycle your household electronics or you can drop it off for a fee at the landfill site for proper waste diversion.

For businesses, see our recycling for business electronics page.

Batteries

Batteries are household hazardous waste, and should be kept out of the landfill.

Find a free drop site for your batteries or return to local stores who accept them.

Oil (cooking and motor)

You can take a maximum of 25 L of used motor oil per household every month to the bulk tanks at the transfer stations.  You can also bring household quantities of cooking oil to pour into the cooking oil tank for recycling. 

Please ensure you empty oil into the correct tank.  We do not accept 5 gallon pails of oil.  

You can also bring a maximum of 5 used oil filters to the transfer stations.

These services are for household quantities from residents, and are not for businesses.

Construction, renovation and moving waste
Construction and renovation waste (including carpet and drywall) that is outside of regular garbage limits, rules and sizes can be brought to the landfill and disposed of for a fee.
Household hazardous waste

Household hazardous waste must be kept out of curbside garbage and the landfill.  This includes:

  • Acids and alkalines
  • Anti-freeze
  • Batteries
  • Car batteries
  • Fluorescent lamps and energy efficient, compact light bulbs (CFLs)
  • Fuel (non-transferable)
  • Household chemicals (cleaners)
  • Lawn and garden chemicals
  • Medicine
  • Mercury thermostats
  • Motor oil
  • Paints and solvents
  • Propane tanks
  • Syringes
  • Waxes and polishes

Get information on where to recycle your household hazardous waste or you can drop it off for free at the transfer stations.

If you are a business with questions about hazardous waste, please visit our commercial services page.

Items we cannot collect
In accordance with waste collection by-law 02-011, we cannot collect certain items such as household hazardous waste. Please check the by-law for clarification or use the Waste Whiz to see what goes where for collection.

Missed collection or items left behind

If an item was left behind, check for a notice from us. Keep in mind something may have been left behind if it was put out on the wrong date (like garbage or yard waste set out on the wrong collection week).

The following items are prohibited or cannot be collected at any time:

  • Bio-medical waste
  • Car parts
  • Concrete, bricks, rocks, patio slabs
  • Construction, demolition or renovation materials 
  • Dead animals
  • Electronics (including TVs)
  • Flammable or combustible items (e.g., compressed gas cylinders, gasoline containers, fire extinguishers, sealed drums)
  • Glass and mirrors larger than 3 feet (92 cm)
  • Hot ashes
  • Household hazardous waste
  • Items in containers that do not meet standard size or weight requirements
  • Items that were not accessible (behind parked cars, behind snow banks, on top of snow banks, etc.)
  • Items that would regularly be collected but are not properly labelled, bundled or prepared, such as wood, branches, cardboard, etc.
  • Liquid waste
  • Manure
  • Oversize containers or bags that do not meet standard requirements
  • Overweight containers and bags that do not meet standard requirements of 50 pounds (23 kg) for all bags and containers (except bulky/appliance collection)
  • Pallets
  • Propane tanks
  • Railway ties
  • Sewage
  • Tires

If your collection was missed entirely, you received no explanatory notice from us, you have a question regarding the notice, or the item did not fall into any of the uncollectable or prohibited categories above, please call 519-575-4400 to let us know.

 

 

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