Shift: Zero Sorting Guide

Our team has been working hard to standardize our sorting programs on campus. It has never been easier to find out where items can go! Learn about our sorting programs below, and check out our sorting guide and app if you're wondering where to throw away waste on campus.

Being mindful about where you put your waste is essential to keeping recycling out of the landfill.

Shift: Zero Sorting Guide

Find out the correct place to put various waste items by searching through our guide. There will also be a waste sorting game which is currently under construction. You may select which campus you are located on for greater accuracy.

Shift: Zero App

Finger pointing to Shift: Zero Sorting Guide app icon on a cell phone.

The app uses the same platform as the web sorting guide conveniently on your phone! Search for Shift: Zero on the Android or Apple app store and download the app published by the University of Waterloo.

Region of Waterloo Off-Campus Sorting

A search icon beneath two residential buildings and a tree.

The Region of Waterloos Waste Whiz can help if you're wondering how to sort at home. Living outside the region? Check your local sorting rules. Contact your landlord if you live in an apartment, as sorting rules may be different.

General Sorting Streams

Waterloo's waste program is divided into several "streams" that you will find at most sorting bins across campus. There are other specialized streams for less common items, with convenient drop-off locations across campus.


Garbage can and various items which go in the garbage.

Part of all multi-stream sorting stations. They have black signage, and take non-recyclable items such as plastic bags, chip bags, candy wrappers, and more.


Leaf icon and various items which go in organics.

Part of multi-stream sorting stations in cafeteria areas and lunchrooms, and small countertop bins for smaller lunchrooms. They have green signage and take food waste and compostable take-out containers only.


Recycling icon and various items which go in recycling.

Part of all multi-stream sorting stations across campus. They have blue signage and take items like plastic, glass, and aluminum containers.


Recycling icon and various items which go in papers.

Paper recycling is part of all multi-stream sorting stations on campus. They have grey signage, and take items like printer paper, newspaper, and magazines, and other paper materials.

Cardboard and Other Recycling

Recycling icon and a cardboard box, battery, and printer.

Cardboard should be collapsed and placed next to any multi-stream sorting station. They may have their own receptacles in some locations. They have yellow signage, and accept things like shipping boxes, pizza boxes, and more.

There are many other specific streams that have drop-off locations or sorting programs across campus. This includes batteries, clothing, electronic waste, writing utensils, textbooks, and more. Check out the Shift: Zero Sorting Guide for more info on these programs.