Collection Matters

This page provides information on waste collection in Waterloo Region including, the collection services that the Region of Waterloo offers, who is eligible for these programs, set-out rules, and how to handle collection concerns. 

Collection updates and alerts

Yard waste reminders

There is no limit on the amount of yard waste you set out every two weeks. However, there are rules on what is accepted and how it needs to be prepared to ensure the program runs safely and efficiently.

Spring cleaning

Do you need to dispose of large items such as appliances, furniture and mattresses? Use Waste Whiz to find out how to prepare the items for curbside collection. Remember that there are limits on the amount of bulky items you can set out with your garbage (three items every other week for single family homes). For details, check out the rules for Bulky Item collection, and disposal options available.

Instructions on how to bundle branches for Yard Waste collectiongraphics of yard waste set out in paper yard waste bag and reusable canThree bulky items set out at the curb

To report a collection concern, please,

  1. Check to see if collection crews left behind a sticker to indicate a problem.
  2. If there is not sticker and your items were set out by 7 a.m., please keep your items at the curb and use our online form. Remember to include your email address so staff can follow-up on the issue. Or you can contact our Call Centre at 519-575-4400, but lines are very busy at this time. We appreciate your patience.

What waste collection services are available? Who is eligible to receive them? 

The Region of Waterloo's curbside waste collection services focus on residential waste. For businesses, please go to our Business/Commercial Waste page for information and options.

Use Waste Whiz to find out if you are eligible to receive our waste collection services. Type in your address and if you are eligible, your collection schedule will be listed.

  1. Single-family homes, legal duplexes, farms and rural homes, small apartment buildings (six or fewer units), and townhouse complexes that meet our collection guidelines are eligible for the following programs:
  • Blue Box recycling - collected every week, no limits on the number of blue boxes
  • Bulky Item for items that do not fit into a standard sized garbage can or bag - every second week collection (same week as garbage collection), limits apply
  • Garbage - collected every second week, limits apply. Use garbage tags for garbage over the limit. If you have a medical condition that generates unavoidable garbage, consider applying for a medical exemption.
  • Green Bin for household organics - collected every week, no limits on the number of green bins
  • Yard Waste - seasonal (usually end of March to early December), every second week (opposite week of garbage), no limit to the number of containers, paper yard waste bags, or bundles
  • Christmas Tree collection (natural trees only) - collected each week for two weeks after Christmas

 2. Apartments over six units and other townhouse complexes may be eligible for our Blue and Grey Cart recycling program.

3. Schools: May qualify for our cart-based programs for recyclables and organics. Go to our Cart page for more information.

When is my waste collected?

Use Waste Whiz, type in your address and your waste collection day and schedule will be listed. Please contact our Call Centre at 519-575-4400, if you have any questions.

  • Set out all properly prepared and sorted waste items to the street curb by 7 a.m. on your collection day.
  • Different trucks pick up different items at different times during the day.
  • Collection times vary week to week depending on weather conditions, road construction, routing changes, and other factors. 

Did you know...waste collection crews complete about 1 million stops each month!

Tip! Download our free Waste Whiz app to set reminders, receive collection alerts, and have the handy item search box at your fingertips. And there's a fun sorting game to play, too!

General waste collection rules and information

  • Set out items by 7 a.m. on your collection day. Note: The earliest you can set out is 5 p.m. the day before collection.
  • Collection crews start at 7 a.m. and their routes change without notice. They work into the early evening.
  • Different trucks pick up different materials at different times on your collection day. Collection times vary week to week and change depending on weather, road conditions, construction delays, and other factors.
  • Set out items as close to the street as possible, in a safe and accessible spot at the end of your driveway, at ground level. (Ideally, on the right hand side.)
  • Remove empty containers and uncollected items from the curb no later than 9 a.m. the day after your collection day. 
  • Keep items visible. Please do not place items behind parked cars, light posts or snowbanks.
  • Do not overfill blue boxes, garbage cans and other containers. Ensure each container or bundle is no heavier than 23 kilograms (50 pounds). 
  • Collection crews sticker and leave behind unacceptable items. Use the troubleshooting guide (in a section below) to find out why your item was stickered.
  • Waste limits apply at all times, including moving and home renovations.
  • Use the our Waste Whiz search tool (below) to find out how to prepare an item for disposal. 
  • Check out our pages for details about the correct types of containers to use, acceptable items and other details about our programs: blue boxbulky itemgarbagegreen binyard waste. If you are at a multi-unit building or school and use large carts, go to the page for blue, grey and green cart collection. And read through our Bans and By-law for requirements, as well.  
  • Our Waste Collection Guidelines for Region of Waterloo waste collection programs and services. These guidelines help determine the eligibility of various types of properties including new developments and multi-unit properties, protocols for construction projects and road closures, and other requirements. 

Should I share a stop with my neighbour?

When you share a stop, you are placing your waste items beside your neighbour's items. This can be helpful if there's limited curbside space. And it is appreciated by collection crews since each of them make approximately 1,000 stops each day. However, with limits on garbage and bulky items, items over the limit could be stickered and left behind by collection crews.

Here are some tips to make sharing a stop work:

  • Only share a stop with your neighbour for waste that does not have any limits, such as blue boxes, green bins and yard waste.
  • Place green bins and blue boxes in between your and your neighbour's garbage and bulky items.
  • If you share a driveway, each household should put their waste on different sides of the driveway.
  • Using permanent marker, write your address on all of your blue boxes, green bins and other containers.

COVID-19 update

Curbside waste collection continues as scheduled and our drop-off sites are open during regular hours. However, there are some changes to our programs and services. See details below. 

We appreciate your patience and understanding as we are trying to protect the wellbeing of residents and workers. 

At our Waste Management sites:

  • When possible, please limit your access to the sites (essential trips only).
  • We are limiting the number of vehicles allowed on site at one time. Expect line-ups, particularly on Saturdays.
  • Space between drop-off areas has been increased. As well, each vehicle will have its own bunker for seasonal mulch and compost pick-up. 
  • Plexiglass barriers are installed at our Household Hazardous Waste depots, and work surfaces at weigh scales are cleaned on a regular basis.
  • Please observe Public Health's instructions on physical (social) distancing. We have posted signs to remind residents to keep at least two metres apart.

For waste collection:

  • Put all garbage into a garbage bag, not loose in a garbage can. Tie all bags securely closed. Unbagged (loose) garbage will not be collected.
  • Put all masks, gloves and disinfecting wipes, as well as all facial tissues and napkins, into the garbage.
  • If you are sick, put any item that has touched your mouth, nose or eyes into the garbage. This includes items you would normally put in the blue box, such as water bottles, pop cans, milk and juice cartons, etc.
  • Put all of your green bin organics in the correct type of liner bag (paper or certified compostable). Please close liner bags when you set out your bin for collection. Unbagged (loose) organics will not be collected. 
  • We appreciate that you and your children may be interested in watching the collection crews work, but please do so from at least two meters away.
  • Try to reduce the amount of waste you make. Now would be a good time to review your in-home waste patterns and find new ways to reduce waste. 

By bagging all garbage and green bin organics, you are helping to reduce the exposure of collection crews to waste materials. Thank you!

Other information:

Holiday collection including Christmas Tree collection

  • Curbside waste collection continues on all holidays except for Christmas Day and New Years Day. When these days fall on weekdays, collection will be delayed. We will advertise the holiday collection schedule on our website, on social media and through our Waste Whiz app.
  • After certain holidays (January 1, Easter, Thanksgiving, and December 25), double the amount of garbage can be set out. For details, please go our Garbage collection page.

Tree-cycle from January 2 to 13, 2023

For two weeks after Christmas Day, we collect natural Christmas trees (which we chip into mulch). 

  • Set it out by 7 a.m. on your collection day. 
  • Keep it natural! Remove all lights, ornaments, and stands. Do not bag.
  • Cut trees in half that are longer than 1.8 meters (6 feet). 
  • Keep it visible and accessible for collection crews. Do not place your tree on or behind a snowbank.

Disposal options after our special Christmas Tree collection program has ended:

  1. Look for ways to reuse it. There's lots of ideas online such as creating coasters, bird feeders and more.
  2. Drop off your natural tree at our waste management sites so that it is chipped up into mulch. Fees will apply.
  3. Set it to the curb for collection. It will count as a Bulky Item and go to landfill.

What about artificial trees? 

If you set an artificial tree to the curb, it will be collected as a Bulky Item

Other holiday-related information:

  • Check out our holiday waste reduction tips for general ideas on gift-giving and organizing get togethers, and tips for specific celebrations including New Years, Earth Month, Easter, and Halloween.
  • Our waste management sites and offices are closed on all statutory and designated holidays.

Common collection issues: Troubleshooting guide for "Oops!" stickers 

When an item has been set out on time and not collected, the collection crew will leave a sticker about the issue. 

Below is a troubleshooting guide that shows each type of "Oops!" stickers that crews could leave behind, how to deal with items that were not collected, and how to prevent getting stickers.

Oops Not allowed driver sticker

"Oops! Not allowed" sticker:

An item may be not allowed for collection due to health and safety issues or by-law requirements. This sticker is also used on improperly prepared items. Some examples include:

  • Loose unbagged garbage
  • Loose, unbagged green bin organics
  • Bagged recyclable containers (cans, cartons, bottles and jars) in a blue box
  • Styrofoam in a blue box
  • Regular plastic bags in a green bin
  • Electronic waste
  • Broken glass
  • Syringes
  • Incorrect type of collection container

Check Waste Whiz for details on how to properly prepare and dispose of your item.

Oops! Not bundled driver sticker

"Oops! Not bundled properly" sticker:

Items that need to be bundled include cardboard, lumber, branches, and carpet. These items have to be sized and tied correctly so that collection crews can pick them up safely and to ensure bundles can fit into their trucks.

Check Waste Whiz for details and properly prepare the bundles for your next collection.

Oops! Too Heavy driver sticker

 "Oops! Too heavy" sticker:

Collection crews pick up waste items and empty containers by hand, so it is important that weight limits are not exceeded. 

  • Each blue box, green bin, garbage bag/can, bundle, and yard waste item must be no heavier than 23 kilograms (50 pounds). If your item exceeds the weight limit but is accepted for curbside collection, consider splitting up the material in separate containers/bundles and set out on your next collection day.
  • The maximum weight for a Bulky Item is 90 kilograms (200 pounds). Some items such as pool tables, cast iron bathtubs and pianos, exceed the weight limit and are not collected at the curb.

 Oops! Too Many driver sticker

"Oops! Too many" sticker:

This sticker is used when the limit for garbage bags/cans or bulky items has been exceeded. Please,

  • Remove the items from the curb that were not collected and set out on your next collection day. Or drop off items at one of our waste management sites (fees will apply).
  • Remember to use a garbage tag for each garbage bag/can above the limit.

Oops! Contents Were Frozen sticker

"Oops! Contents were frozen" sticker:

Items could not be collected because they were frozen to the container at the time of collecCross section of a green bin with a paper egg carton in the bottomtion. This sometimes happens with blue box items and green bin organics. 

Ways to ensure your items are easy to empty out:

  • Make sure your blue box is clean and dry before you place materials in it.
  • Bag/bundle paper and boxboard before you put it in your blue box.
  • Place a paper egg carton or balled up newsprint on the very bottom of your green bin.
  • Drain liquids before placing organics in a liner bag.
  • Loosen liner bag(s) when you set the green bin to the curb.

Oops! Wrong Week driver sticker

 "Oops! Wrong week" sticker:

Garbage, bulky items and seasonal yard waste are not collected every week. Remove your item(s) from the curb and put them back out on your next scheduled collection day.

Please note that Christmas trees have a specific collection period. Check the Holiday section above for details.

Avoid getting this sticker by setting reminders through our Waste Whiz app.  

Top 7 tips to make sure your waste is collected

  1. Set out your items by 7 a.m. on your collection day. Collection crews start at 7 a.m. and their routes ch7 am on digital clockange without notice. 
  2. Set out your items in spot that is safe to access. Put your waste as close to the street as possible at the end of your driveway (ideally, on the right hand side). Items placed behind or on top of snowbanks, or on opposite side of sidewalks cannot be collected.
  3. Ensure your items are visible. Please do not place items behind parked cars, light posts, or
  4. 50 pound weight snowbanks. Brush off any snow that may build up.
  5. Properly sort and prepare your items. Check Waste Whiz below to find out how to prepare specific items for collection. Do not set out hazardous items. 
  6. Use approved collection containers. See information on each of our program pages for details.
  7. Stay within the weight limit of 23 kilograms (50 pounds) for each blue box, green bin, garbage bag or can, and yard waste item.
  8. Stay within the set out limits for garbage and bulky items. If you have garbage bags/cans over the limit, use garbage tags.

Windy, stormy weather setout tips

  1. Don't set items to the curb the night before collection if a storm or high winds are expected.
  2. Place your items at the curb by 7 a.m. on the day of collection if the weather is better.
  3. If it is still windy/stormy, consider waiting until the next collection week.
  4. Do not overfill containers.
  5. Write your address on your blue boxes, green bin, and garbage can in permanent marker. This makes it easier for them to be returned.
  6. Prepare your blue box materials so that they do not blow away: 
    • Crush containers so aren't as easily lifted by wind. (Do not bag containers - keep them loose in your blue box.)
    • Stuff all plastic bags in one bag and tie the handles of the outer bag. Then put paper in a plastic grocery bag and tie the handles of the bag. Place the bag with paper, on top of the bag of bags.
    • Flatten, size, and bundle corrugated cardboard.
    • Stack your blue boxes. Place your Paper Products and Plastic Bags blue box on top of your Containers Only blue box.   
    • Check our flyer for more tips.

Thanks for preventing litter in our community!

Summertime tips - Top 6 ways to prevent pests

  1. Rinse all food and beverage containers before placing them in your blue box.
  2. Bury food scraps in your green bin liner bag with paper waste (such as shredded paper).
  3. Keep lids on your kitchen container and green bin closed at all times. 
  4.  Set all items on the curb for collection by 7 a.m. on your collection day. Do not set them out the night before.

  5. Replace broken or cracked blue boxesgreen bins and garbage cans.
  6. Clean your blue boxes, green bins, and garbage cans often. Freshen them up with
    • a natural deodorizer such as baking soda 
    • citronella, an essential oil, (smear the oil on the outside rim of your container to deter flies)
    • a spray made out of half white vinegar and half water to deal with fruit flies.

Winter setout tips

Use the following tips to help keep pedestrians, vehicles and our collection crews safe, and collection efficient in cold and snowy conditions:

Snow shoveled ledge with containers out for collectionMake sure items are easily accessible. Items on top of snowbanks, and items that have been plowed in/covered with snow will not be collected. 

  • Place the items either at the end of your driveway. 
  • Or shovel a shelf in the snowbank near the end of your driveway. Please make sure the shelf is on the road-side, not the sidewalk-side.
  • Do not place items on top of snowbanks.
  • Clear any snow and ice that may accumulate.

Ensure items are visible. 

  • Use black or green garbage bags. Do not set out garbage in white garbage bags.
  • Do not set items behind snowbanks, parked cars, shrubs or lamp posts.
  • Brush off snow that may accumulate on your items.
  • Set your items on the right-hand side of your driveway (looking from your house towards the street). This makes it easier for the collectors to see your items when they are driving down the street. 

Make your green bin easy to empty out.

  • Drain liquids from organics first.
  • Place a paper egg carton or balled up newsprint on the bottom of your green bin. This helps lift the liner bag from the bottom of the bin.
  • Loosen the liner bag from the sides when you set your green bin out for collection.

Place items out the day of collection by 7 a.m., rather than the night before.

Consider not setting out your waste during major snow events.

Remove your empty containers promptly. Prevent them from getting buried with snow, blowing around or damaged. Make sure your address is written on your containers, too!

Please note:

  • Collection crews do their best to empty your containers, but sometimes contents are frozen when they arrive. By the time you retrieve your containers, contents may be thawed/loose. Please set these items out on your next collection.
  • Be mindful of your neighbour's containers. If you are blowing snow, try to avoid burying the containers they've set out.

Sorting matters! How to recycle more and waste less

Since packaging, products, and programs are always changing, sometimes it's difficult to know what to do, and how to dispose of certain items.

We are here to help! Below are tips to help you set up, sort out, and set out your waste successfully.

Why is this important? It reduces the amount of garbage you create (and helps you stay within the garbage limit), conserves resources and has other local and global benefits, and extends the life of our one-and-only landfill.

  1. Set up for success. Place containers in key rooms of your home (such as the kitchen, bathroom, and garage) to help your household separate blue box items, organics, and garbage.
    • Consider having colour-coded containers (such as blue, green, black) that are labelled.
    • Reuse cardboard boxes or plastic containers you have on hand.
    • Before collection day, empty these containers into the containers accepted for curbside collection.
    • Also, consider having a safe spot to store household hazardous waste (including spent batteries).
    • For blue box recycling, have two containers. One for metal, glass and plastic bottles and jars (that contained a food, beverage, or cleaning product) and milk/juice cartons, and the other for paper, cardboard and plastic bags. Note we have stickers available for blue boxes.
  2. Learn the basics and talk with your household. 

  3. If in doubt, check it out! Do you have an item and you're not sure how to dispose of it? Check the Waste Whiz search box (below). Type in the item and find out how to prepare it for a curbside or drop-off program. And remember that our Call Centre (519-575-4400) is available 24 hours a day, every day, to address your questions or concerns about our programs.
  4. Keep it simple.

 Use our Waste Whiz search tool

  1. Learn how to recycle or dispose of an item. Type in the item and a drop-down list will appear. Click on the item that matches. 
  2. Click on the "My Schedule" tab and type in your address to confirm if your address is eligible for our curbside collection services. If so, your collection schedule will appear. You can print out your schedule and set reminders.
  3. Play our Waste Sorting Game! Test your knowledge, build your "park" and earn a certificate.

Or check the options under the "Need help?" to report a concern or get other assistance.

This site determines waste services for residents living in single and semi-detached homes in Waterloo Region. Apartment buildings, businesses, condominiums and townhouse residents should call the Region's 24 / 7 customer service team at 519-575-4400 for more information.


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