Guelph Campus Waste Management

Note: The U of G is moving from deskside garbage pickup to a centralizd bin waste collection system.
Please refer to the Central Bin Waste Removal Program

Guidelines for Disposal of Garbage and Recyclables on the Guelph Campus (1.2.26)

Original Approval Date: May, 2004
Date of Most Recent Review: June, 2022
Review Timeline: Three Years
Approving Authority: Director, Business Operations (Physical Resources)


To outline the waste management guidelines expected to be followed by the Guelph campus community. Adherence to the guidelines for disposal of garbage and recyclables is essential to ensuring maximum landfill diversion is achieved.


All Guelph campus employees, students, contractors, service providers and visitors.



All waste generated on the Guelph campus must be managed in compliance with City of Guelph and Provincial waste collection and disposal guidelines.

Waste Containers (Indoor Waste Containers and Outdoor Waste Dumpsters)

  • Waste containers must be labelled and used only for the designated purpose.

  • All indoor recycling containers and common area garbage containers are supplied by Physical Resources.

  • Departments are responsible for supplying their own indoor garbage containers for the building areas they occupy. Containers may be purchased externally or from the Physical Resources Stockroom.

  • All outdoor dumpsters are University property.

  • All waste containers and dumpsters are for the purpose of disposing of campus generated waste only. The dumping of non-campus waste in the University’s outdoor dumpsters is prohibited and may produce safety hazards for University and City of Guelph workers handling waste.

Types of Waste Prohibited in Dumpsters

The following wastes are prohibited in dumpsters: furniture, construction waste, plants with novel traits and treated soil, trees, shrubs and/or clippings, tires, animal tissue waste, large amounts of wood, metal or equipment, gas or propane cylinders, electronic waste, spent fluorescent light tubes and compact fluorescent light bulbs, hazardous waste such as sharps or liquid wastes of any kind. Arrangements may be made for the removal of such wastes by emailing the Physical Resources Work Order Desk ( A charge may be incurred for the service.

Any suspicious, inappropriate, or potentially hazardous waste dumping done by Guelph campus employees, external entities or members of the Guelph community at large should be reported to the Sustainability Office by emailing

Waste Removal

Custodial Services is responsible for the removal of regular waste from buildings based on building use and operational requirements.

Custodial Services staff will not remove waste that is not a safe weight or size to lift and carry.

Departments are encouraged to contact Custodial Services ( for recommendations regarding the disposal of irregular waste loads. Departments must submit a work order ( to have Physical Resources Materials Handlers remove waste that cannot conform with available size waste containers or bags.

Custodial Services staff will not empty garbage and recycling containers which contain hazardous waste such as sharps, biohazardous or chemical waste etc. In cases of non-compliance, custodial staff will post a Physical Resources, Room and/or Waste Safety Report on top of or on the side of the waste container containing hazardous waste. Refer to waste sorting guidelines below.

Retrieval of lost (disposed of) items cannot be guaranteed and poses an extreme safety risk for custodial staff. Therefore, departments are strongly advised to not use waste containers for storing personal or departmental items.

Waste Categories

Note: The U of G is moving from deskside garbage pickup to a centralizd bin waste collection system. Please refer to the Central Bin Waste Removal Program

Regular Garbage

Items which are considered regular garbage include food scraps, paper towels, non-recyclable items and contaminated (soiled) recyclable items. These items must be disposed of in garbage containers labelled "Garbage Only" and lined with clear plastic bags.

Hazardous Waste Removal

The disposal of hazardous waste must be arranged in consultation with the University’s Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) Department.

Biohazardous Waste Removal

Generators of biohazardous waste (i.e. agar plates, cultures, blood products) are responsible for autoclaving waste and placing it into waste containers lined with stronger garbage bags supplied by Custodial Services. Autoclaved biohazardous waste will be disposed of by Custodial Services staff. The disposal of biohazardous waste that is not autoclaved must be arranged by the generator in consultation with EHS.

Plants with Novel Traits and Soil

Plants with novel traits and treated soil must be disposed of in green University of Guelph soil bins. This material is collected by the Grounds department for handling.

Laboratory Waste

Many laboratory waste items are considered dangerous to the health and safety of waste collection and sorting workers and the environment. Laboratories must follow Physical Resources disposal of garbage and recyclables guidelines.

Non-infectious Lab Glass Waste

In labs, non-infectious lab glass waste must be placed in clearly labelled, white, 5 gallon pails lined with yellow, heavy-duty garbage bags. Pails and labels will be supplied by Custodial Services.


Recycling is collected in a comingled stream, All recyclable items are combined in one stream and are collected in containers labelled "Recyclables Only".

Recyclables include such items as clean dry cardboard, glass beverage bottles (if not broken), paper, plastic, steel, aluminum and copper.


A special program coordibnated by Physical Resources, Materials Handling group currently exists for recycling departmental computer system components and other electronic equipment.

Shop Recyclables

Metal, copper, aluminum, porcelain etc. must be deposited in departmental or the Physical Resources designated shop recycling bin. Shop recyclables must only be disposed of in the appropriate garbage containers or dumpsters.


All non-waxed cardboard waste is recyclable. Departments must flatten cardboard boxes and place the cardboard in or near recycling containers or in hallways where space allows. Cardboard waste must be flattened before being disposed in cardboard or recycling dumpsters. Waxed cardboard must be flattened and disposed of in the garbage.

Fine Paper

All departmental fine paper waste is recyclable. Physical Resources will supply large recycling containers for areas that generate a substantial amount of fine paper waste such as photocopy areas.

Recyclable Spent Lamps

The term recyclable spent lamps includes LED light tubes and bulbs, burnt-out fluorescent light tubes, compact fluorescent light bulbs, and include halogen, mercury vapour and other burnt-out high intensity discharge lamps. Fluorescent lamps and other types of lamps contain mercury or other hazardous substances, therefore it is particularly important to dispose of them properly.

It is important to note that under no circumstances shall recyclable spent lamps be disposed of in indoor garbage containers or outdoor dumpsters. Similarly recyclable spent lamps are prohibited in indoor recycling containers and outdoor blue recycling dumpsters. Recyclable spent lamps are being recycled on campus via a separate recycling stream coordinated by EHS. Refer to the EHS Chemical Hazardous Waste Disposal request submission process.