Frequently Asked Questions - Waste

I have large or bulky goods (e.g. furniture, mattresses, sports equipment) that I would like to have collected – how do I arrange it and what is acceptable?

If your bulky goods are still in good condition, please consider the various reuse options available to you.

For residents in the Townships of Brock, Scugog and Uxbridge and the Municipality of Clarington, bulky goods will be collected by appointment only. To arrange for a collection, please call 1-800-667-5671. There is a limit of two (2) bulky items per bi-weekly collection.

For residents of the City of Pickering and Town of Ajax, bulky goods will be collected on a bi-weekly basis with the regular garbage collection (no appointment is required). There is a limit of two (2) bulky items per bi-weekly collection.

Please note: The Region of Durham does not collect bulky items in the City of Oshawa and Town of Whitby. Please contact your local municipality for more information in these areas.

I have metal items (e.g. appliances such as fridges, dishwashers, stoves, washers and dryers) that I would like to have collected – how do I arrange it and what is acceptable?

If your metal goods are still in good condition, please consider the various reuse options available to you. The Region of Durham has a call-in service for metal goods for Clarington, Scugog, Uxbridge, Brock, Ajax and Pickering residents only. Please call 1-800-667-5671 to schedule a free special collection date for metal goods. For Oshawa and Whitby residents, please refer to your local waste collection calendars for information about metal goods.

What should I do with construction and renovation waste (e.g. drywall)?

Construction and renovation materials, such as shingles, tiles, drywall, insulation, brick and large amounts of wood, are not collected at the curb. They can be brought to a Regional waste management facility where a waste disposal fee will be charged.

I have old or broken electronics and porcelain – how should I dispose of them?

If your unwanted and old electronics are still in good working condition, please consider reuse options.

The Region of Durham has a call-in service for Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) for Clarington, Scugog, Uxbridge, Brock, Ajax and Pickering residents only. Please call 1-800-667-5671 to schedule a free special collection date for WEEE items. For Oshawa and Whitby residents, please refer to your local waste collection calendars for information about WEEE.

WEEE can also be taken to any of the Region's waste management facilities year-round or dropped off at a scheduled WEEE collection event for free recycling and proper disposal. There are also convenient drop-off locations for WEEE throughout the community. Visit recycleyourelectronics.ca for a list of drop-off locations.

The Region of Durham has a call-in service for porcelain bathroom fixtures such as toilets and sinks for Clarington, Scugog, Uxbridge, Brock, Ajax and Pickering residents only. Please call 1-800-667-5671 to schedule a free special collection date for porcelain items. For Oshawa and Whitby residents, please refer to your local waste collection calendars for information about porcelain collection.

How many garbage bags can I set out?

Durham Region has a four-bag limit for garbage per household every two weeks. A standard size garbage bag, or garbage can, counts as one bag. Individual garbage bags or cans, when full, must not exceed 20 kilograms (44 pounds) in weight as regulated by the Region’s Waste Management By-law. Residents setting out more than four garbage items every two weeks are required to tag each bag over the four-bag limit otherwise it will not be collected. Garbage bag tags are special “peel-and-stick” labels that can be attached to your garbage bag. Residents can purchase bag tags at various locations throughout the Region. Excess garbage can also be taken to one of the Region’s waste management facilities located in Oshawa, Port Perry or Brock Township. Please note: a waste disposal fee will apply. Oshawa and Whitby residents should contact their respective municipalities for purchasing bag tags.

Residents who require special consideration to the garbage bag limit due to medical conditions, or who have three children under the age of three, should contact the Region at 1-800-667-5671 for more information.

What can I bring to the Region’s Waste Management Facilities?

The following waste materials are accepted at the Region’s waste management facilities:

For items marked with an asterix (*), there is no charge for loads consisting of one or more of those types of materials, if delivered separately from other waste. Please note: no commercial hazardous waste is accepted at any site.

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Why do I have to pay disposal fees at the Region’s Waste Management Facilities and what items can I bring in for free?

The Region’s waste management facilities are not paid for through taxes. The costs to haul and dispose of waste, maintain staff and improve the facilities are paid for entirely through waste disposal charges, partnerships and revenues from the sale of recyclable materials. There is no charge for loads consisting of one or more of the following types of materials, if delivered separately from other waste: bulky white polystyrene; Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE); Municipal Hazardous or Special Waste (MHSW); signs (coroplast/film/paperboard); tires; and white agricultural bale wrap.

What is Municipal Hazardous or Special Waste (MHSW)?

MHSW includes products with any of the following warnings on the label - dangerous, flammable, poisonous, toxic or corrosive. Some examples include antifreeze, batteries, fire extinguishers, fluorescent light bulbs and tubes, fuels, gas cylinders and tanks, paints, pesticides, pharmaceuticals and some cleaning products. These types of products, although useful during their life, can cause serious environmental damage if not disposed of properly. They should not be mixed in with your regular garbage and should never be poured down the drain or storm sewer. The Region of Durham is committed to diverting as much of this hazardous waste from the waste stream and waterways as possible. MHSW can be taken to any of the Region's waste management facilities year-round or dropped off at a scheduled MHSW collection event for free recycling and proper disposal. There are also convenient drop-off locations for MHSW throughout the community. Visit makethedrop.ca for a list of drop-off locations.

I’m moving to the Region of Durham, how do I begin recycling?

New residents from outside the Region, or residents who have moved from an apartment to a house, are entitled to one free diversion kit which includes two blue boxes, one green bin, one kitchen catcher and a waste collection calendar for educational purposes. Please contact Durham Region’s Waste Management Centre at 1-800-667-5671 or complete the online New Resident Form to arrange for delivery. Please allow two weeks for our contractor to deliver your kit. Residents who are moving from one house to another within Durham Region must take their blue boxes, kitchen catcher and curbside green bin with them when they move.

When is my waste collection day?

To find out your waste collection day, please check your local waste collection calendar, download the Durham Region Waste App, or visit durham.ca/waste and select "when is my collection day" to see your specific collection schedule. To request a hard copy of a waste collection calendar, please contact Durham Region’s Waste Management Centre at waste@durham.ca or 1-800-667-5671.

I’m not sure where to put a waste item – how do I find out?

The Region of Durham Know Before You Throw is an online tool to help residents determine whether waste items belong in the garbage, blue box, green bin – or somewhere else entirely. To use the tool, just enter the name of the item in question and select the “search” button. The page will then display all available options for the item, along with a link to more information on managing it safely with minimal impact on the environment.

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What kind of containers can I use for my yard waste material?

Please use either kraft paper yard waste bags or clearly labelled rigid, open-top reusable containers for yard waste collection. If you would like a free yard waste sticker to help identify your rigid yard waste container, please contact the Region at 1-800-667-5671 or e-mail waste@durham.ca with your mailing address. These containers cannot exceed 20 kilograms (44 pounds) in weight. Please note that yard waste set out in plastic bags will not be collected. Please check your local waste collection calendar for more details on yard waste collection in your municipality or visit the Leaf and Yard Waste page for a list of acceptable yard waste items.

Can I put grass clippings in my yard waste containers?

No, grass clippings are not accepted as yard waste for collection. The Region of Durham encourages residents to grasscycle by leaving clippings on the lawn after mowing. Grass clippings are a natural fertilizer and they also act as a mulch helping to control soil temperature and retain moisture. This can reduce the need for watering and lower your water bill. Learn more about grasscycling.

How can I dispose of yard waste when the collection season is over?

To dispose of yard waste after the collection season has ended, a resident may:
Deliver any unwanted yard waste to any Regional waste management facility. A waste disposal fee will apply. You may also want to consider backyard composting as an option, depending on the amount of material you have. Find out your yard waste collection schedule.

Where can I get free compost?

Free compost is offered to Durham residents at Compost Giveaway Events. Each municipality will host a compost giveaway event each spring. These events are scheduled in the spring at various locations throughout the Region. Participating residents can take up to the equivalent of three (3) full blue box containers of compost. This is our way of giving back to residents for their commitment to the Green Bin and leaf and yard waste composting programs. Please visit our Community Events page or call us at 1-800-667-5671 for further information about these compost giveaway events.

Where can I purchase a backyard composter?

Backyard composters are available for purchase at Durham Region’s Waste Management Centre, located at 4600 Garrard Rd. N. in Whitby from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday to Friday. For more information, please contact the Waste Management Centre at 1-800-667-5671, or by email waste@durham.ca. Backyard composters are also sold at some garden centres, nurseries and home hardware stores throughout the Region.

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What community events are planned each year?

Durham Region, in partnership with industry and area municipalities, provides convenient opportunities for residents to recycle their Municipal Hazardous or Speical Waste (MHSW) and Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) safely by hosting waste diversion events throughout the year. In addition, year-round drop off is available at the Region’s waste management facilities. Please visit our Community Events page or call us at 1-800-667-5671 for further information about compost giveaway events, waste diversion events and to see a list of acceptable materials.

What materials should not be placed inside the green bin?

To assist with producing high quality (Grade A) compost, residents are reminded to remove any plastic packaging before placing food waste in their green bin. For example, separate half eaten sandwiches from plastic bags, mouldy bread from plastic sleeves, and yogurt from plastic cups. Other materials such as diapers, sanitary products, kitty litter, plastic-based liner bags (often marketed as biodegradable), metal twist-ties, corks, gum, and aluminum foil are not accepted as they contaminate the finished compost. Find more information on Green Bin composting and what items are acceptable and unacceptable.

Why can’t I use plastic bags to line my green bin?

Plastic bags are not permissible within the Region’s Green Bin program because they do not breakdown or degrade, making it very costly and inefficient to separate them from compostable material. You can line your kitchen catcher and/or green bin with newspaper, paper bags, and/or certified compostable bags. Unlike plastic, these options for lining your green bin break down naturally as the organics begin to decompose and they become part of the finished compost product. Read our list of 100 per cent certified compostable liner bag brands.

What should I do with my shredded paper?

Shredded paper should be placed in small cardboard boxes (e.g. shoe or cereal boxes) and sealed to prevent the paper from blowing around. The boxes containing shredded paper can then be placed in your “papers” blue box for recycling. Since it is compostable, small quantities of shredded paper can also be placed in your green bin or in your backyard composter.

How should I dispose of broken glass or razors?

When throwing out items like broken glass, non-fluorescent light bulbs, mirrors and razors, please keep the safety of your family and our collection staff in mind. Place these objects in a cardboard box, tape securely, and write “GLASS” on the box with a permanent marker. Place the box at the curb for safe pick up during your garbage collection week.

How should I dispose of medical sharps (syringes, needles and lancets) safely?

To protect the safety of pedestrians and waste collection contractors, syringes require special handling. Please do not put medical sharps such as syringes, needles or lancets in the garbage, blue box or green bin. Place them in a tightly sealed rigid container such as a puncture resistant plastic bottle that is labelled “SHARPS”, and take it to your local pharmacy or to a Regional waste management facility.

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