Garbage and recycling – frequently asked questions

Guelph has two collection schedules – Week A and Week B.Use the waste collection lookup tool or waste collection map to find out your collection day and whether your household follows the Week A or Week B Schedule.

The green cart is collected at the curb every week. The blue and grey cart will be collected on alternate weeks – one week, you’ll put the green and blue carts at the curb; the next week the green and grey carts.

Green (organics)

  • Food items (scraps, peels, bones, shells)
  • Tea bags, coffee grounds and filters
  • Paper towels and tissues
  • Household plants
  • Pet waste and litter – no plastic bags, except those labelled with the certified compostable logo.

Blue (recyclables)

  • Aluminum
  • Boxboard and cardboard (flattened)
  • Glass (all colours)
  • Newsprint and paper
  • Plastic bottles and
    containers (all numbers)
  • Polycoat/Tetra Pak (milk cartons/juice boxes)
  • Shredded paper (in a separate blue bag)
  • Steel cans

Containers must be empty.

Grey (garbage)

Items that are:

  • Not compostable
  • Not recyclable
  • Not hazardous

Now including:

  • Diapers and hygiene products
  • Styrofoam
  • Coffee cups

Green cart (organic waste)

Contents can be placed loose inside the cart without using a bag or liner. A paper liner or certified compostable plastic bag is optional. Opaque bags are not acceptable.

Acceptable liners include shredded paper, paper bags, newspaper, flour/sugar/fast food bags, a cereal box, or certified compostable plastic bags. Paper bags and certified compostable plastic bags can be purchased at local retailers. If purchasing compostable plastic bags, look for one or both certification logos to ensure they break down when composted.

  

Learn more about certified compostable bags.

Keep your food scraps container clean with this easy to make newspaper liner.

Blue cart (recyclables)

Do NOT use a bag or liner. Contents must be loose, not bagged or bundled.

Shredded paper is the one exception: it must be placed in a transparent blue bag inside the blue cart.

Grey cart (garbage)

Contents can be placed loose inside the cart without a bag as a liner. It’s optional to use a clear bag. Opaque bags are not acceptable.

Place your carts at the curb or in the mouth of your driveway no later than 6:30 a.m. If your street offers parking please put carts in the mouth of your driveway to avoid vehicle obstruction.If your property is beside a…

  • curb: place them about 30 centimetres or one foot away from the curb.
  • gravel shoulder: place them along the outside edge of the shoulder.
  • public lane: place them as close as possible to the edge of the public lane.

The lid of your cart should open toward the street. Point the arrow on the lid of each cart to the street.

Open the latch on the green cart and keep the lids of the carts closed.

Allow one arm’s length clearance (one metre or 39 inches) on all sides of each cart. You may also place individual carts on opposite sides of your driveway.

Remove your carts from the curb by 7 p.m. on your collection day and return them to your storage area.

In the winter, place all carts on a safe shoveled spot, free from snow.

Please call Solid Waste Resources at 519-767-0598. Alternatively, review the following checklist to ensure your waste can be collected.

  • Place carts at the curb or in the mouth of your driveway no later than 6:30 a.m.
  • If cars often park on your street please place carts in the mouth of the driveway.
  • Allow one metre or 39 inches (more than one arm’s length clearance) on all sides of the cart and five metres clearance above the cart from obstacles (e.g. tree limbs and awnings) to ensure your carts are accessible to the waste collection truck.
  • Place items loosely in the cart. Do not cram them in. Overstuffed carts may
    not empty completely when tipped into the collection truck.
  • Frozen contents may not empty. Help ensure your green cart empties by keeping it
    • lined with certified compostable plastic liners or crumpled newspaper sheets
    • loose – layer organic waste with soiled paper products or leaves
    • sheltered against your home, in a shed or garage until set out at the curb for collection
  • Ensure the carts are not too full and the lids can close. Overstuffed carts
    cause litter to spill out and will not be collected.
  • Only material inside the carts will be collected. Do not leave bags or items
    beside or on top of carts.
  • Flatten and place all cardboard inside the blue cart. The cardboard should
    fit completely inside the cart (not crammed) in order for the lid to close.
  • Keep lids closed but make sure they can open freely for the collection truck.
  • Open the latch on the green cart lid for collection.
  • Acceptable bags or liners for the carts:
    • Green cart (organic waste): Contents can be placed loose inside the cart without using a bag or liner. A paper liner or certified compostable plastic bag  is optional. Opaque bags are not acceptable.
    • Blue cart (recyclables): Do not use a bag or liner. Contents must be loose, not bagged or bundled. Shredded paper is the one exception, it must be placed in a transparent blue bag inside the blue cart.
    • Grey cart (garbage): Contents can be placed loose inside the cart without a bag as a liner. It’s optional to use a clear bag. Opaque bags are not acceptable.

Your carts can be stored in the garage, backyard, outdoor storage unit, covered porch/ balcony, at the side of your home, or in your front yard against your home, garage or fence. The carts can’t be stored on a road, road allowance or boulevard.Some houses, apartments and townhomes have extremely limited storage space. City employees are available to work with you or your property manager to find site-specific solutions for storing your carts.

The cart design includes large wheels and a stable base so they can move easily, even in snow. A variety of cart sizes are available to best meet your needs.If you need special assistance with your waste collection, contact Solid Waste Resources 519-767-0598.

Frozen contents may not empty. Help ensure your green cart empties by keeping it

  • lined with certified compostable plastic liners or crumpled newspaper sheets
  • loose – layer organic waste with soiled paper products or leaves
  • sheltered against your home, in a shed or garage until set out at the curb for collection

Remember to place all carts on a safe shoveled spot, free from snow. Carts can be placed behind the windrow.

You have a few options:

  • Put into a paper bag, a certified compostable plastic bag or place loose in the green cart, or
  • Put into a clear, colourless plastic bag and place in the grey cart.

Large items are not collected as part of the regular curbside collection program however there is a Bulky Item Collection Program in place that allows large items to be picked up at the curb for a fee.Please check out the Bulky Item Collection Program for details.

When throwing out sharp items (e.g. broken glass, non-fluorescent light bulbs, razors, blades, mirrors and knives) please keep the safety of your family and collection staff in mind.Place all sharp objects in a cardboard box no larger than 2 feet in any direction, tape securely and write “SHARP OBJECTS” on the box. Place the box in your grey cart for safe pick up.

Medical needles and lancets must be brought to the Municipal Hazardous Special Waste Depot, 110 Dunlop Drive.

12. What are the hours of operation of the Waste Resource Innovation Centre

Public drop-off at 110 Dunlop Drive
Monday to Friday, 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Saturday, 8:30 a.m. to 3:45 p.m.
Closed Sundays and holidays.

Municipal Hazardous Special Waste Depot at 110 Dunlop Drive
Tuesday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Saturday, 8:30 a.m. to 3:45 p.m.
Closed Sundays, Mondays and holidays

View our list of fees by material type. Accepted payment methods are cash, Interac, Visa, Mastercard (excluding American Express). Any charge of $10.00 or less is cash only.

Municipal hazardous special waste (MHSW) is not collected at the curb. Please help keep our community and staff safe. Guelph residents can bring hazardous waste items to the Municipal Hazardous Special Waste Depot  where items will be recycled, or disposed of safely. Residents will be required to fill out a household hazardous waste ticket before dropping off any materials. There is no charge to Guelph and Wellington County residentsGuelph’s Municipal Hazardous Special Waste Depot only accepts residential hazardous waste. Large commercial loads of Hazardous Waste will not be accepted at the Depot.

What materials are accepted?

Around the house

  • Aerosol cans
  • Batteries (disposable and rechargeable)
  • Bleach
  • Cleaning products (drain, floor, glass, oven, etc.)
  • Cooking oil
  • Fire extinguishers
  • Floor, furniture and metal polish
  • Fluorescent bulbs and tubes
  • Medicine (over-the-counter and prescription)
  • Nail polish and remover
  • Needles and syringes (hypodermic). Must be in a rigid plastic container (ex. bleach bottle), soaked in bleach overnight, drained, and the lid of the container must be taped securely on before being brought to the Municipal Hazardous Special Waste Depot.
  • Paint
  • Perfume
  • Solvents
  • Thermometers
  • Thermostats

In the garage

  • Antifreeze
  • Brake fluid
  • Car batteries
  • Car care products (wax or polish)
  • Driveway sealer
  • Fuel (gasoline, diesel, kerosene). Will only be accepted in a ULC (Underwriters Laboratories of Canada) or CSA (Canadian Standards Association) approved plastic or metal gasoline container. Replacement containers will be provided at no cost.
  • Motor oil and oil filters
  • Paint, stain and varnish
  • Paint thinner
  • Windshield wiper fluid

Around the yard

  • Fertilizers
  • Herbicides
  • Insecticides
  • Pesticides
  • Pool/hot tub chemicals
  • Propane tanks and cylinders

What materials are NOT accepted?

  • Ammunition or explosives
  • Bio hazardous waste
  • Commercial, industrial or institutional waste
  • Flares and fireworks
  • Laboratory chemicals
  • Radioactive materials
  • Waste containing PCBs
  • Broken glass is NOT considered hazardous waste

Things to remember

  • Never pour MHSW in the storm sewer – it leads to our river system.
  • Do not bury hazardous waste or pour it into the ground – it can contaminate ground water.
  • Never mix products together.
  • Use only recommended amounts.
  • Choose products with child-resistant caps.
  • Safely store all hazardous materials out of reach of children and pets.
  • Use products in a well ventilated area.

To request a cart exchange, purchase a cart exchange ticket for $35 per cart at one of several locations.  Alternatively, for a reduced fee of $15, bring your clean cart directly to the Waste Resource Innovation Centre (Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. – 3:45 p.m.).You can pay at the time of drop off.If requesting a curbside cart exchange, schedule a pickup by calling Solid Waste Resources at 519-767-0598 (please have your purchased ticket on hand). You will need to quote the ticket number and serial number of the cart(s) to be exchanged. The serial number is stamped in white on the side of the cart.

Leave your empty cart(s) outside (against your home, garage or fence), visible from the curb. City staff will take care of the rest. If your collection day takes place before your cart is exchanged, you can use your carts on your collection day and bring the empty carts back up to your house. Make sure to leave the cart that you wish to exchange outside (against your home, garage or fence), visible from the curb.

If you lose your cart, if it breaks or is damaged, contact Solid Waste Resources at 519-767-0598 or email waste@guelph.ca. Broken carts are covered under warranty and will be repaired or replaced at no charge.

Appliances are recycled through one of two ways:

  • Pumpkins can be chopped up and placed in your backyard composter.
  • Pumpkins can also be chopped up and placed in your green cart.
  • Whole pumpkins can be placed at the curb on your collection day during yard waste week.

Yes, coroplast election signs are recyclable. Candidates have two options for recycling election signs;

  • Small quantities can be put in your blue cart and placed at the curb for regular curbside collection
  • Large quantities can be brought directly to the Waste Resource Innovation Centre. Please contact Phil Zigby, Marketing and Procurement Coordinator, at 519-767-0598 x2056 or any member of the Solid Waste Resources management team before your arrival to make the necessary arrangements.

  • Newspaper is reprocessed and made into newsprint, magazines, flyers, catalogues and phone books.
  • Cardboard is reprocessed and made into new cardboard, brown paper towels or kraft paper bags.
  • Boxboard and phone books are reprocessed and made into new boxboard, egg cartons, manilla envelopes, file folders, paper take-out trays and used in hydroseeding.
  • Fine paper is reprocessed and made into toilet and facial tissue.
  • Steel is smelted and made into new steel to make new food containers, automobiles and steel products.
  • Aluminum is smelted and made into new aluminum to make pop cans.
  • Plastic pop bottles are melted and made into carpets and fibre stuffing for clothing.
  • Vinegar and javex bottles are melted and made into motor oil bottles, solvent bottles, dishwashing soap bottles, liquid laundry soap bottles and new bleach containers.
  • Laundry baskets, margarine tubs and ketchup bottles are made into plastic skids, plastic lumber, septic tanks liners, truck boxliners and drainage pipes.
  • Scrap metal is smelted into steel to make cars, toasters and other steel products.

During the winter months, carts can be hidden by snow and snowbanks.  Please place carts for collection in the mouth of your driveway or on a safe shoveled spot, free from snow. Carts can be placed behind the windrow.  Carts placed on top of snowbanks will not be collected.

Wood waste as well as construction and demolition material does not go in the Grey Cart. This material can be taken to the Waste Resource Innovation Centre Public Drop-off Facility located at 110 Dunlop Drive, Gate 2. Residents are responsible for disposal fees.

Sod can be disposed of at the Waste Resources Innovation Centre. View tipping fees.

Isn’t Sod Considered Yard Waste? No. Yard waste is defined as “grass clippings including thatch, leaves, and bundled brush, and branches and tree limbs having a diameter not greater than 5 cm, hedge trimmings, and all woody plants including vines, rose bushes and the like.”

Yard waste can be composted, where the material breaks down resulting in a nutrient rich soil additive. Sod is considered a different material type. Sod is comprised mainly of soil.

First, ensure that you have removed all personal information from your old phone. Please refer to the Take It Back directory for a list of locations that accept cell phones for recycling.

Please place shredded paper in a transparent bag, and then place the bag in your blue cart.

The carts have an extended manufacturer’s warranty. If your cart breaks or is damaged, the City will replace it for free. For more information, call Solid Waste Resources at 519-767-0598.If your green cart is missing a latch, you may pick up a replacement latch for free at the following locations:

  • Waste Resources Innovation Centre, 110 Dunlop Drive – Administration Office and Scalehouse at the Public Drop Off
  • ServiceGuelph, City Hall, 1 Carden Street
  • Operations, 45 Municipal Street
  • Evergreen Seniors Community Centre, 683 Woolwich St.
  • Victoria Road Community Centre, 151 Victoria Road North
  • West End Community Centre, 21 Imperial Road South

Yes, the City will continue to provide spring and fall yard waste collection to all Guelph homes. You can also top up your green cart with leaves and yard waste each week, throughout the entire year, for curbside collection.  Alternatively, drop off yard waste at the Waste Resource Innovation Centre, 110 Dunlop Drive.Keep it in your yard! Yard waste and leaves can provide vital nutrients to your lawn and gardens. For more information, visit guelph.ca/healthylandscapes.

Excess leaves can also be raked to the curb during Loose Leaf Collection each fall.

Additional blue and grey carts can be purchased at cost from the Waste Resource Innovation Center at 110 Dunlop Drive.Green carts are not for sale. Based on research of comparable municipalities, the 80-litre cart is larger than the volume of the organic carts provided in other municipalities and will accommodate the needs of large families and houses with an accessory apartment.

You may also bring additional waste to the Waste Resource Innovation Center for a disposal fee.

The City will provide your home with three carts: an 80-litre green cart for organics, a blue cart for recyclables and a grey cart for garbage. Your household will have the option to provide your preferred sizes of blue and grey carts.Guelph residents already using carts recommend selecting a larger size cart rather than a smaller size, if in doubt. Most households choose the extra large blue cart and the large grey cart. The City will deliver these sizes to your home unless you specify alternative sizes. If you are unhappy with the size of blue or grey cart you received, contact Solid Waste Resources. They will exchange it for the size you want.

The carts are easy to clean and include tight-fitting lids to minimize odour and keep out pests. You can also follow these tips:

  • keep tight-fitting lids closed.
  • line the green cart with newspapers, shredded paper, flour/sugar/fast food bags, cereal boxes, or purchase paper liners or certified compostable plastic bags
  • wrap food scraps in newspaper or soiled paper towels before placing in the green cart
  • wipe out carts regularly; use white vinegar as an effective disinfectant
  • sprinkle in salt, garden lime or powdered ginger to ward off insects.