Sorting waste for collection

Give Waste a New Life

Sorting guide

Refer to the list below or use Sort Right – a tool where you simply type in your waste item to find out if it goes in the recyclables, organics or garbage cart, or if there are any other available diversion programs.

1 MBPrint the sorting list for your home or workplace

Detailed sorting list

Green (organics)

Dairy products

  • Butter
  • Cheese
  • Sour cream
  • Yogurt

Food scraps

  • Coffee filters and grounds
  • Cooking oils (solidified)
  • Eggs and eggshells
  • Herbs
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Sugar and spices
  • Tea bags

Grain products

  • Bread
  • Cereal
  • Flour
  • Pasta
  • Rice

Meat and fish including:

  • Bones
  • Fat (solidified)
  • Shellfish
  • Skin

All non-compostable plastics must be removed. Paper bags and bags with the certified compostable logo are acceptable.

  • House plants and flowers
  • Dried flowers

Pet waste

Vegetables (no elastics)

  • Corn cobs and husks
  • Popcorn
  • Pumpkins (in pieces)


  • Ashes (cooled)
  • Paper soiled with food (plates and muffin cups)
  • Paper tissues
  • Paper towels
  • Sawdust (no wood pieces or pressure
    treated wood)

Blue (recyclables)

Cartons and drink boxes

  • Ice cream containers
  • Polycoat (milk cartons)
  • Juice Boxes


  • Bottles and jars (all colours)


  • Aluminum (foil and pie plates)
  • Paint cans (empty and dry)
  • Pop cans
  • Steel cans (soup and tuna)
  • Pots and pans

(all containers must be empty)

  • Bottles and containers (all numbers)
  • Detergent bottles
  • Laundry hampers
  • Medicine bottles (non-prescription)
  • Plant pots, trays and flats
  • Tubs and lids from food containers


  • Books (hard cover removed)
  • Boxboard
  • Bristol board
  • Calendars (spiral removed)
  • Cardboard (including pizza boxes)
  • Envelopes (including window envelopes)
  • Cigarette packages (foil inserts removed)
  • Egg cartons
  • File folders
  • Gift bags (rope removed)
  • Gift wrap (non-metallic)
  • Gift cards
  • Magazines
  • Newspapers and flyers
  • Paper
  • Pizza boxes
  • Posters
  • Shredded paper (in a transparent plastic bag)
  • Sticky notes
  • Telephone books
  • Tissue boxes
  • Toilet paper rolls

Clear/grey (garbage for landfill)


  • Motor oil bottle (empty)
  • Nails, screws
  • Wood (small pieces)
  • Tools


  • Balloons
  • Board games
  • Candles
  • Carpet (small pieces)
  • Cassette tapes
  • CD’s / DVD’s
  • Ceramics
  • Clocks
  • Clothing/fabric
  • Curtains
  • Diapers
  • Floor sweepings
  • Furnace filters
  • Garden hoses
  • Hangers (plastic and metal)
  • Jewelry
  • Lawn chairs
  • Linens and sheets
  • Knick-knacks
  • Matches
  • Music records
  • Paint brushes and rollers
  • Photo negatives
  • Photographs
  • Picture frames
  • Pillows
  • Plastic bags
  • Pottery
  • Rags
  • Ropes and string
  • Shoes
  • Spray bottle tops
  • Straws
  • Styrofoam containers, packing materials and peanuts, meat trays
  • Toasters
  • Vacuum contents and bags
  • Toys
  • Vase
  • Wallpaper
  • Wires

Office/school supplies

  • Binders
  • Book covers
  • Carbon paper
  • Chalk
  • Computer disks
  • Crayons
  • Markers
  • Overhead transparencies
  • Paper clips
  • Staples
  • Pencils
  • Pens
  • Stickers
  • Tape


  • Butcher paper
  • Ceramics
  • Cereal or cracker box liner
  • Magnets
  • China
  • Chip bags
  • Coffee cups and lids
  • Corks
  • Dish cloths
  • Gloves
  • Grocery bags
  • Kettles
  • Lollypop and popsicle sticks
  • Cutlery
  • Microwave popcorn bags
  • Plastic film and bags
  • Popsicle sticks
  • Pots and pans
  • Rolling pin
  • Rubber bands
  • Scouring pads
  • Soiled plastic food containers
  • Table cloth
  • Tooth picks
  • Twist ties
  • Waxed paper
  • Wrappers
  • Yogurt foil seals


  • Coolers (insulated ice chests)
  • Water softener salt and bags
  • Dryer lint
  • Dryer sheets
  • Fruit crates
  • Leather
  • Non-infectious medical tubes and bags (in a separate clear plastic bag)
  • Plastic tubing
  • Sports equipment


  • Blister wrap
  • Gum wraps


  • Baby wipes/wet wipes
  • Bandages
  • Combs
  • Cosmetics
  • Cotton balls
  • Diapers
  • Dental floss
  • Deodorant sticks (empty)
  • Hair dryer
  • Incontinence products
  • Medicine bottles (EMPTY)
  • Q-Tips (cotton swabs)
  • Razors
  • Sanitary napkins
  • Soap bars
  • Tampons
  • Toothbrush
  • Toothpaste tubes
  • Towels

Did you know Guelph residents are good sorts? In 2013, residents diverted over 14,885 tonnes of recyclables and 17,313 tonnes of organics (including yard waste) from landfill.


Please don’t overstuff your waste carts

Place items loosely in waste carts, do not cram them in. Please make sure everything you put into your cart will fit with the lid closed. Overstuffed carts may not empty properly when tipped into the collection truck.

Incorrect sorting

The new automated collection trucks are equipped with a camera to view waste material emptied into the appropriate compartments.  This camera enables Solid Waste Resources staff to identify improperly sorted items and provide targeted public education and follow up with home owners or tenants, as necessary, to address any questions about Guelph’s sorting system.

Get your carts to the curb on time

All carts must be set out at the curb no earlier than 5 p.m. the night before your collection day or no later than 6:30 a.m. on your collection day. If you don’t set out your carts on time your waste might not get picked up, since our waste collection trucks start making the rounds right at 6:30 a.m.

All carts must be removed from the curb by 7 p.m. on your collection day. This includes any waste not picked up due to compliance issues with the Waste Management By-law.

To learn more, check out the steps for taking your carts to the curb.

Please don’t park your car in front of waste carts

When parking your car on the street, please do not park in front of waste carts. A waste collection truck cannot pick up carts with its automatic arm if cars are in the way.

Where does my waste go?

Green cart organic waste

Green cart organic waste is processed at the Guelph Organic Waste Processing Facility (OWPF) where it is made into nutrient-rich compost. It is then sold to gardening companies, landscapers and green houses.

Blue cart recyclables

Blue cart recyclables are sorted at the Guelph Material Recovery Facility then baled and sold to processing mills to make into new things.

Grey cart garbage

Grey cart garbage is compacted and transported to a landfill in Ontario and shipped to an Energy from Waste Facility.

Looking to get rid of unwanted items?
Check the Take it Back directory – a list of businesses and organizations that will reuse, recycle or safely dispose of unwanted material.

For more information

Solid Waste Resources
TTY: 519-826-9771