Drop-off programs and waste reduction tips for residents

This page offers information to residents of Waterloo Region to help them Reduce, Reuse and Recycle more, and provides details about our waste drop-off facilities. Note: Our waste drop-off sites are closed to residents on statutory and designated holidays. 

Waste reduction tips - for every day and holidays

Everyday waste reduction tips

  1. Reduce food waste. See section below.  Recycle all your food scraps and other organics by using the green bin. This can reduce your garbage by over 50 per cent!
  2. Adopt "green" buying habits. Buy only what you need; resist impulse purchases. Before buying new, check out what is available at local re-use stores. Buy local. Purchasing food grown and products made locally reduces the impacts of transportation. Look for items that are durable and have recycled content. Purchase items with no to little packaging. Ensure any packaging is accepted in our Blue Box program.
  3. Repair items when possible, including furniture, cellular phones, computers, etc.
  4. Reuse. Use refillable bottles for water and coffee. Take cloth bags, and reusable containers (BYOC - Bring Your Own Container) when shopping. Switch to cloth napkins and towels. Save wrapping, gift bags, and ribbons for reuse. Become a member of the local library
  5. Donate used clothing and other household items, bicycles, windows, doors, lumber and many other items through residential reduce and recycle options in our community..
  6. 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.
  7. Compost in your backyard. Check our Backyard Composting page for details.
  8. Grasscycle. Mulch your grass when mowing by leaving it on your lawn to provide nutrients for a healthier lawn.(Did you know that grass has been banned from landfill since 2003?!)
  9. Reduce household hazardous waste. Look online for ways to make your own "green" cleaners, furniture polish, and laundry detergent. 
  10. Rethink your use of plastics and recycle all plastics that are accepted in our Blue Box program. Learn about, and consider joining "zero plastic waste" movement of Canada.

Food waste reduction tips

Waste reduction tips for holidays and celebrations

 Celebrating? Use these waste reduction tips for your next get together:
  1. Reduce food waste. If it's a potluck, suggest what guests can bring. Have containers available to portion out and share the leftovers.
  2. Whether you are buying groceries or gifts, make sure all packaging is accepted in our Blue Box program.
  3. Stock up on kitchen container and green bin liner bags.
  4. Set up an "eco depot". Place your green bin beside blue boxes and garbage can for an easy-to-use sorting station for you and your guests.
  5. Use reusable dishware and napkins. Or recycle paper ones in your green bin.
  6. If you are buying presents, consider giving the gift of an experience such as tickets for a festival or museum. Consider digital gift cards. Donate to a local charity on behalf of your loved one. Or give gifts that give to our earth such as refillable water bottles, travel coffee mugs and litter-less lunch kits. Share your skills and make your gift (bake, knit, scrapbook special photos, create a poem, carve or weld a masterpiece, create "coupons" for chores or special things such as an extra story at bedtime for your children).
  7. Buy durable decorations that will be long-lasting. Or make your own decorations out of stuff you have around your house (there's lots of ideas online). Make gift tags out of old greeting cards.
  8. If your celebration produces more organics than your green bin holds, put the organics in an acceptable liner bag, and place on top of your green bin for collection. (If you have organics on a regular basis though, pick up an extra green bin.)
  9. Recycle alcohol containers and packaging through the Ontario Deposit Return program, Bag it Back recycling program.
  10. Make the most of out of wrapping (and unwrapping) gifts. Make the wrapping part of the present (such as a scarf, towel). Reuse cereal or cracker boxes, cookie tins, or pages from comics or magazines. When unwrapping presents have
  • a box to collect gift bags, bows and ribbons, and tissue paper for reuse
  • grocery-sized plastic bag(s) to recycle any paper gift wrap 
  • a garbage can or bag for anything that you don't want to reuse or can't be recycled (such as foil wrapping paper, Styrofoam, and bubble wrap), and
  • choose a person to flatten and bundle corrugated cardboard.

New Years

The New Year can be a time to rethink our habits. Below are some resolutions to consider. Perhaps start with one or two of these ideas, and then introduce others each month.

  • Skip single use items.
    • swap plastic bags for reusable ones
    • Rethink waste - Don't waste another daybring your own water bottle and travel mug
    • carry your own reusable cutlery and straw
  • Rethink purchases.
    • consider buying used at local stores or at auctions, or borrowing from friends or family
    • buy locally-produced items
    • repair instead of purchasing new
    • do your research to help determine if the item has recycled content, if the company has environmental practices or accreditation, etc.
    • plan menus and take stock of what you already have on hand before going to the grocery store
    • rethink gift-giving for the year - perhaps make gifts, or give a special heirloom instead
  • Reduce packaging and clutter.

Strive for zero waste. It's an ambitious goal, but many people have documented their experiences and tips online. (Note: "waste" means recyclables and garbage!)

Draw inspiration for other resolutions from our Earth Month section below.

Valentines

Celebrating your loved one is never a waste when you use the green bin, and do the two-box soValentine with green bin "You fill me up"rt (or the three-cart sort if you are in a multi-residential building). 

To put in your green bin:

  • candy, chocolates and cinnamon hearts
  • cheese, ice cream and other dairy
  • cookies, cake, bread, crackers
  • grapes, apples and other fruit (including peelings, cores, seeds)
  • honey, syrup
  • roast beef, salmon, and other meat (including bones, fat, grease)
  • sugar, sprinkles and baking ingredients
  • sweet peas and other veggies
  • paper products such as facial tissues, paper Blue box and green bin "We go together"candy wrappers
  • cold wood ashes and wooden toothpicks

 For the Containers Only blue box

  • aluminum take-out trays
  • cans* (pop, whipped cream)
  • cartons* (juice, milk, cream)
  • glass bottles and jars* (food, beverage)
  • clear, hard plastic packaging (such as for electronics)
  • plastic food and beverage containers

*Return alcoholic beverage packaging to The Beer Store through the Bag it Back, Ontario Deposit Return program.

 

For the Paper Products and Plastic Bags blue box:

  • boxboard (gift boxes, gift wrap tubes)
  • cards, gift wrap (remove bows and ribbons)
  • magazines, catalogues, books
  • corrugated cardboard (size and bundle no larger than 75x75x20 cm or 30x30x8 inches)

For the garbage:

  • broken drinking glasses (wrap in several layers of paper or put in a sturdy cardboard box, and seal)
  • candles
  • foil gift wrap, bows and ribbons, cellophane, bubble wrap
  • plastic cutlery, plastic plates
  • Styrofoam

Earth Month (includes some spring cleaning tips, too!)

April is Earth Month, a time to reflect on the state of our environment and re-commit to doing more to honour the precious resources of our world.

But the challenge is, what more can you do? First, learn more about your environmental footprint and calculate it. Next, rethink your daily activities. Make changes to be a conserver, rather than a consumer.

Easter

  • Buy items that are durable and reusable, such as baskets. 
  • For decorations, consider potted plants - perhaps ones that can be planted outside later. 
  • Make your own decorative eggs at home using real eggs (use the yolk and white for cooking).

Halloween

Halloween is scary enough without being buried under waste! Here are ways to not horrify collection crews:

Preparing for Halloween:

  • Buy candy in bulk. Ensure packaging is recyclable. Or consider giving out non-food items (ideally made from recycled materials) such as pencils, erasers, bookmarks, reusable bags.Scary jack o'lantern
  • Make your own decorations. Check online for ideas and instructions on Halloween crafts and decor. Repurpose items have around your home. And keep them so you can reuse them next year.
  • Make your own costumes. Rethink the clothing you already have or shop at a local second-hand store. 
  • When carving your pumpkin,
    • layout sheets of newspaper to make clean-up easy (roll it up and put it in your green bin or backyard composter)
    • keep the seeds, clean, and then toast in the oven for a snack, and use the offcuts in soups, muffins or breads. (check for recipes online)

After Halloween: Jack o'lantern on top of a green bin

  • Let your jack o'lantern live on... as compost! Remove candles and decorations, and put it
    • beside yard waste containers/bags (if it is your week for yard waste collection),
    • on top of or beside your green bin, or
    • in your backyard composter (chop it up first).
  • If you have unwanted candy, unwrap and put wrappers in the garbage, and the candy in the green bin.

Christmas

Make it a season of "light" with these ways to reduce, reuse, and recycle:

  • Put greenery and houseplants in your green bin (remove any wire and decorations). Also, green bin all food scraps from dough to burnt cookies.
  • "Tree-cycle"! Set out your natural Christmas tree during our special collection period. Check the Holiday section of our Collection Matters page for details. 
  • Consider hosting a post-Christmas potluck to use up the leftover turkey and trimmings.
  • Rethink traditions. Talk with your family about starting new traditions that are earth-friendly. Instead of everyone buying a present for everyone else, buy one present for the whole family, or draw names, or play a "gift-giving game" (there are many variations online). As a family or with friends, consider volunteering, caroling, painting, rock climbing or some other activity.
  • Give old gifts new life. Thoughtful re-gifting reduces waste, and could include antique or heirloom pieces that have special meaning to your family.

 

Drop-off facilities and programs for residents 

During the COVID pandemic, our drop-off facilities will remain open at regularly scheduled hours. Locations are 201 Savage Drive, Cambridge and 925 Erb Street West (Gate 2), Waterloo. Learn about what to expect, including COVID-19 measures when you use our facilities.

Plan ahead

  • For residents with curbside collection, check Waste Whiz for materials accepted and preparation requirements. Take advantage of the services we offer at the curb.
  • Read the by-law and bans to understand the rules and requirements. Violators can be refused entry and in some cases, face surcharges at our drop-off locations.
  • If you are coming to our Waterloo site, measure your vehicle to determine where you need to go:
    • Gate 2 at our Waterloo site can accept vehicles such as cars, vans, and pick-up trucks with a maximum length of 10 metres (35 feet) and total gross weight (combined weight of vehicle and load) of less than 25,000 kilograms (55,000 pounds).
    • Gate 1 of our Waterloo site can accept vehicles such as pick-up trucks with self-tipping trailers, roll-off trucks, dump trucks, and tractor trailers up to 24 metres (80 feet) and weighing up to 80,000 kilograms (176,000 pounds).
  • Our Cambridge site can accept all kinds of vehicles from cars and pick-up trucks to tractor trailers up to 24 metres (80 feet) long and weighing up to 80,000 kilograms (176,000 pounds).
    • If you have a dump trailer, please inform the scale operator and you'll be directed to the tipping floor of our transfer building. Note: This option is not available on Saturdays.
  • Sort loads by material type if you want to be charged lower tipping fees. You will be required to drop off any garbage first, then weigh each remaining material (such as blue box items, yard waste, etc.) separately. Loads of mixed materials will be charged at the highest applicable rate.
  • Be aware of the fee schedule, payment options, and hours of operation. See sections below.
  • Prepare the proper identification, such as proof of residency.
  • Bring helper(s) to unload, if necessary. Region staff is not permitted to assist you.
  • Wear safety gear and bring tools, as appropriate (such as gloves and garden fork if you have loose yard waste). Closed-toe footwear, ideally safety boots are recommended for your protection at all sites. Safety boots and a high-visibility safety vest are required at Gate 1 of our Waterloo site.
  • Secure open loads (such as with tarps or ropes).

Note:  If you have a broken blue box or green bin bring it, too! You can pick up a replacement, if you need one, and we can recycle your broken container.

When you are onsite

  1. The following COVID-19 measures are in place:
    • Staff will limit the number of vehicles permitted on site.
    • There will be an appropriate distance between drop-off areas.
    • Residents are reminded to please restrict themselves to essential trips only, and to observe physical distancing.
    • For payment, credit or debit cards are preferred. (Cash is accepted.)
  2. Your vehicle will be weighed in and out. Wait for the green light before driving onto the scale. Do not get out of your vehicle while on the scale.
  3. Provide the information required by the scale house operator, such as what material(s) you have for disposal. Be prepared to show photo identification proving you are a resident of Waterloo Region. Or if you are contracted to do work in Waterloo Region, the signed agreement/letter on letterhead of the local business.
  4. Follow instructions provided by staff and on signage. Obey posted speed limits.
  5. Drop off the correct material in the correct bin/area. Do not push down/compact the material inside bins and drop-off areas.
  6. If you have different materials to drop off in different bins/areas, secure your load (such as closing the trunk) before moving to the next bin/area.
  7. Reduce pollution and do not idle your vehicle. Park and turn off your vehicle when dropping off material.
  8. Children, pets, and non-helpers must remain in the vehicle at all times.
  9. Do not remove, scavenge, or scatter any waste material.
  10. Do not smoke.
  11. Be prepared to pay fees when weighing out.

Note that replacement blue boxes and green bins are available for pick up at our sites. Bring your broken one so that we can recycle it!

Locations and hours of operation of our landfill and other waste facilities

Our locations accept waste that has been generated within only Waterloo Region. Waste from other jurisdictions is not allowed.

  • Cambridge Waste Management site, 201 Savage Drive, Cambridge, Ontario N1T 1S6, Monday to Saturday, 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.
  • Waterloo Waste Management site, 925 Erb Street West, Gate 2, Waterloo Ontario N2J 3Z4, Monday to Saturday 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Notes: 

Holiday hours of operation:  These sites are closed to residents on statutory and designated holidays. See the list below: 

  • Family Day:  Monday, February 21, 2022
  • Easter: Friday, April 15, 2022, and Monday, April 18, 2022
  • Victoria Day: Monday, May 23, 2022
  • Canada Day: Friday, July 1, 2022
  • Civic Holiday:  Monday, August 1, 2022
  • Labour Day: Monday, September 5, 2022
  • Thanksgiving Day: Monday, October 10, 2022
  • Remembrance Day:  Friday, November 11, 2022
  • 2022 Christmas Day, Boxing Day, and 2023 New Years Day:  Details to come.

Maps of our Waste Management sites:

Waterloo and Cambridge landfill site maps

Materials allowed and fees

COVID-19 measures are in place at our waste management sites.

  • Our locations accept waste generated within only Waterloo Region.
  • There is a minimum $10 fee at the waste drop-off locations (some exemptions apply). Loads over the $10 minimum will be charged at the rates listed below. Note that $10 fee covers up to 120 kilograms of garbage, or 240 kilograms of recyclables. 
  • Loads of mixed materials will be charged at the highest rate. For example, if you have garbage and cardboard, you will be charged the garbage rate.
  • Payment options: debit, credit (Visa, Mastercard and American Express) or cash. Garbage tags cannot be used towards payment at our locations.
  • Our sites are closed for residential drop-off on all statutory and designated holidays.
  1. General refuse/garbage is charged at $8.50 per 100 kilograms.
  2. Garbage requiring special handling, such as stumps greater than 60 centimetres (24 inches) in diameter, brush greater than 2.4 meters (8 feet) in length, wire, Styrofoam. These items are accepted at our Waterloo site only and are charged at $17.00 per 100 kilograms. If you have asbestos, please view this information. 
  3. Drywall (gypsum wallboard) is charged at $8.50 per 100 kilograms. Must be free of contamination such as wood, plastic, insulation, ceramic tiles and all other garbage.
  4. Recyclables including blue box materials, green bin organics, yard waste, brush, leaves, grass, inerts (such as clean fill, bricks, concrete rubble), appliances and scrap metal are charged at $4.25 per 100 kilograms.
    • Appliances: a $10/unit Chlorofluorocarbon (CFC) removal fee also applies.
    • Concrete rubble: an additional surcharge rate applies if the material contains rebar, wire mesh, or other embedded materials  or is in oversized pieces.

5. Wooden pallets/skids are charged at $8.50 per 100 kilograms. Must be free of contamination such as metal or plastic banding, plastic wrap and all other garbage.

6. Garbage tags are sold at $10 per sheet ($2 per tag and 5 tags per sheet)

7. Weighing personal vehicle is charged at $10 per vehicle.

Drop-off programs operated by the Region

Please note:  The Bicycle Reuse program, and Goodwill and Habitat for Humanity drop-off programs are closed. Please use our Reduce and Recycle Directory below to find options for your reusable items.

Below are other programs, including waste diversion programs, operated by the Region of Waterloo.

Cooking oil 

For larger quantities of cooking oil. Maximum 25 litres.

Cost:  Free

Where:

  • Cambridge Waste Management site, 201 Savage Drive, Monday to Saturday, 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Please tell the scale house operator that you have cooking oil to recycle and the operator will provide instructions.
  • Waterloo Waste Management site, 925 Erb Street West (Gate 2), Monday to Saturday, 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Please empty your container in the labelled bulk cooking oil tank near the Household Hazardous Waste depot (on the left before you reach the inbound scale). Empty plastic containers can be placed in the nearby recycling cart.

Our sites are closed on statutory and designated holidays.

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

Diapers, Incontinence products 

Residents who receive our curbside collection can drop off a clear bag containing diapers or incontinence products only to either of the Region's waste management sites.

Cost:  Free

Where:

  • Cambridge Waste Management site, 201 Savage Drive, Monday to Saturday, 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.
  • Waterloo Waste Management site, 925 Erb Street West (Gate 2), Monday to Saturday, 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Our sites are closed on statutory and designated holidays.

What happens to it? Diapers and incontinence products will be landfilled. 

Drywall (gypsum wallboard)

This voluntary diversion program accepts drywall that is free of contamination. Drywall that is painted, or wet (from rain or snow), but clean is still acceptable. Metal screws, nails and corner bead are acceptable.

  • No wood, plastic, insulation, ceramic tiles and other garbage. 
  • No cement wallboard (often used in bathrooms and basements).

Cost:  $8.50 per 100 kilograms.

Where:

  • Cambridge Waste Management site, 201 Savage Drive, Monday to Saturday, 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.
  • Waterloo Waste Management site, 925 Erb Street West (Gate 2), Monday to Saturday, 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Our sites are closed on statutory and designated holidays.

What happens to it? All drywall collected through this program is 100 per cent diverted from landfill, and reused in products for soil stabilization and/or animal bedding. 

Household Hazardous Waste - paint, motor oil, etc.

Go to our Household Hazardous Waste page for details.

Wooden pallets

This voluntary diversion program accepts wooden pallets that are free of contamination. Existing nails or staples in pallets are acceptable. Wooden pallets that are wet (from rain or snow) but clean are acceptable.

  • No metal or plastic banding, no plastic wrap, and other garbage.
  • No other types of wood.

Cost:  $8.50 per 100 kilograms.

Where:

  • Cambridge Waste Management site, 201 Savage Drive, Monday to Saturday, 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.
  • Waterloo Waste Management site, 925 Erb Street West (Gate 2), Monday to Saturday, 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Our sites are closed on statutory and designated holidays.

What happens to the pallets? They are 100 per cent diverted from landfill, and reused (ground up and used as animal bedding).

 

Ways to reduce packaging, including Bring your own container (BYOC) directory 

Bring Your Own Container (BYOC): Some local businesses such as restaurants, bakeries, grocery stores, butchers and fishmongers, bulk food and baking supplies stores, cheese shops, tea shops, pharmacies, and other types of stores will allow you to use your own containers when buying food, detergents, etc. This reduces waste, such as polystyrene trays, plastic wrap, and plastic bottles, and other types of containers. How does it work?

  1. Call ahead and check with the business. With COVID-19, their hours and services available may have changed.
  2. Bring clean, sealable, and undamaged containers from home to the business. Containers 
    • must be durable and made from non-porous material such as metal, glass or food grade plastic
    • must be in very good condition. Clean and dry. No stains, cracks or chipped pieces
    • have tight sealing lids to protect your food and prevent leaks/spills.
  3. Tell the salesperson that you want to use your own container. Give the salesperson your container to zero out the scale and weigh only the material inside. Note: Food businesses reserve the right to refuse any container they feel does not meet food safety standards.

  4. Pay, and take your container home to be reused.

    • When transporting perishable food, consider using a clean, insulated thermal bag or "cooler" to keep hot foods hot; or with ice packs to keep cold foods cold (especially during warmer weather).
    • Refrigerate food within two hours of picking it up.
    • Please remember to always use Safe Food Handling Practices.

Reuse and Recycle Directory for residents

Welcome to the Reuse and Recycle Directory for residents. Under each waste category are links to Region of Waterloo programs or other local organizations and businesses that deal with that material.

Please note that we are providing this list for information only. We do not recommend, endorse, or guarantee the service of the the businesses and organizations external to the Region of Waterloo. Due to COVID-19, please contact the business ahead of time to check if they are open and any changes to their terms of service.

  • Consider shopping at or donating your items (such as antiques, appliances, books, clothing, furniture and other household goods, musical instruments, sports equipment, toys) to local thrift stores, reuse stores, charities and other organizations. Other options could include: consignment, renting, selling online, hosting a garage sale.
    • For example, the Library of Things receives donations or lends out everything from tools to tents (kwlot.ca). 
  • For donating eyeglasses, contact your eye care specialist or local vision care stores.
  • If your item needs repaired, look for local do-it-yourself repair events or stores.
  • For metal appliances that don't work and other metal goods, contact local scrap metal dealers/recyclers, and auto wreckers.

Batteries and other Household Hazardous Waste

Batteries

Health Products Stewardship Association - For unused and expired medicines and "sharps. Note: Sharps such as syringes, need to be placed in approved syringe disposal containers (available from your pharmacy).

Orange Drop program - For automotive chemicals such as antifreeze and oil, empty oil containers, oil filters, pressurized cylinders, and fertilizers and pesticides

Regeneration - For paint products

Region of Waterloo Household Hazardous Waste depots

Bicycles

Cycling into the Future: Arrange porch pick-up of your unwanted bike. Bikes will be refurbished and donated to people in need in our community. Contact Sharon to arrange details:  sharon@cyclingintothefuture.com, 519-240-5526   

Building materials

Habitat for Humanity Restore - habitatwr.ca: Donate reusable building materials, purchase building materials at their stores. 

Car seats

Child car seats: Recycle through ATMO Rethink Recycling - atmo.ca

Project Get Reel - redpropeller.ca

Composting, mulch, and organics

Region of Waterloo Backyard Composting program

Region of Waterloo compost (and mulch) giveaway 

Region of Waterloo Cooking Oil drop-off program

Options for dealing with green bin waste

Options for dealing with yard waste

The Box of life (composting with worms) theboxoflife.com 

Worm Composting Canada

Diapers

Check online for options for cloth diapers, diaper services.

Region of Waterloo Diaper Drop-off program

Electronic waste (e-waste)

Electronic Products Recycling Association (EPRA) program: This is a province-wide recycling program for electronic waste including computers, keyboards, phones, printers and more. These items are banned from curbside collection. Visit EPRA's website for information about proper disposal of electronic waste, including the most up-to-date list of free drop-off locations, and how to wipe your device.

Other ideas:

  • Check with your cell phone provider about take-back programs, such as the Bell Blue Box program
  • Does your device need repaired? Look for local cell phone and computer repair shops.
  • Check for local shops that deal in used games, records, gaming systems, cameras, audio systems. Local thrift stores and pawnbrokers may also sell used electronics.
  • For VHS tapes, computer disks and other items, check out diversion options at Project Get Reel - redpropeller.ca.

Miscellaneous items (alcohol containers, environmental audits and advice, sidewalk salt)

  • Bag it Back program, Ontario Deposit Return program for alcoholic containers and packaging
  • Ekko: This local business coordinates reusable, stainless steel containers for restaurant food - both take-out and delivery. Check their website for details: www.helloekko.ca.
  • Project Get Reel - redpropeller.ca
  • R.E.E.P. Green Solutions - reepgreen.ca provides home energy efficiency services, workshops and more.
  • Terracycle.com - for recycling various products and packaging
  • Your Salt Connection - www.yoursaltconnection.com For sidewalk salt. Sign up for their service and pay a $2.00 deposit for a pail. When your pail is empty, they will pick it up and replace it with a full one.

Tires

Go to the website for Resource Productivity and Recovery Authority (RPRA) to for information about this Ontario stewardship program, and to find local businesses participating in it. Up to four tires are accepted for free. Tires from most on and off-the-road passenger, industrial and agricultural vehicles are accepted.
 


 

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