How to sort garbage and recycling in Guelph

Waste wizard

Download the Guelph Waste app for collection reminders and sorting tips

Sorting Guide

Don’t use solid garbage or grocery bags

Only use clear bags in your grey cart

Go bagless or use clear plastic bags in your grey cart. No other bags are accepted.

Don’t use bags in your blue cart

Blue bags are not permitted in your blue cart unless you’re disposing of shredded paper.

Please put shredded paper in a see-through blue bag and put the bag in your blue cart for recycling. Or, you can put shredded paper directly in your green cart.

Free paper shredding service at the Waste Resource Innovation Centre.

Use paper, certified compostable plastic bags or go bagless in your green cart

You can put organic waste in the green cart with or without a bag or liner. Here are a few tips for preventing odours, freezing and pests:

  • Use newspaper, shredded paper, paper bags, flour or sugar bags, cereal boxes, or certified compostable plastic bags to line the kitchen compost bin and green cart.
  • Wrap food scraps in newspaper or used paper towels before putting them in the green cart.
  • Layer food waste with used paper products.
  • Sprinkle in salt, garden lime or powdered ginger to ward off insects.
  • Keep lids and latches closed.
  • Wash your kitchen compost bin and cart regularly; white vinegar is an effective disinfectant.

Plastic bags in the green cart must have one or both certified compostable symbols.

Green label with BPI: compostable in industrial facilities

Search for certified compostable bags at and

Why other certified compostable plastics go in the grey cart

Guelph can process certified compostable plastic bags, but our facility is not designed or permitted to process other certified compostable plastic products like food containers or cutlery.

Some certified compostable plastics need more processing time than our facility can accommodate. These products are unlikely to break down in our facility and would eventually end up in landfill after wasting time and energy trying to compost them.

The City’s Environmental Compliance Approval from the Ontario Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks only allows us to process certified compostable bags.

Taking carts to the curb


  • Unlatch the green cart.
  • Cart lids must be closed. If the lid doesn’t close, the cart is likely to spill when we collect it. If items are packed too tightly, they may not empty.
  • The cart should open toward the street. Look for the arrow on the lid.
  • Do not leave bags, bundles or boxes beside or on top of carts. Our automated garbage trucks can only collect what is in the carts.


  • Place the carts at the curb or in the mouth of your driveway so they don’t interfere with people walking, cycling, driving, or parking on your street.
  • Place them at least one metre apart so the truck can grab, lift, and empty them.
  • Don’t put carts under trees. The arm of the truck can damage branches.

Don’t put carts on snowbanks.

Please put carts in the mouth of your driveway or shovel a spot for them along the curb. Place them close to the curb to make room for snowplows. Don’t push carts through snow (it’s easier to pull them).

Waste carts not collected?

If you followed all of these instructions and your cart was still not collected please contact us.

For more information

Solid Waste Resources
TTY: 519-826-9771
[email protected]