Waste Sorting Header

Waterloo has standardized our sorting programs on campus, making it easier than ever to find out where items can go. Learn about our sorting programs below, and check out the Shift: Zero sorting guide and app to search for specific items on campus! 

Putting your waste in the right stream is essential to making recycling work.

Computer and Shift Zero Icon

The Shift: Zero sorting guide allows you to search all waste items on campus to find out where it goes! You can select whether you are on campuses in Waterloo Region or Stratford.

Download App Icon

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

Community sorting icon

Looking for off-campus information? The Region of Waterloo's Waste Whiz helps you sort at home and in the community. For other cities, check your local sorting rules. Contact your landlord in an apartment, as sorting rules may be different.



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

These are the common streams you will find across Waterloo:

Garbage sorting icon and items


Garbage is part of all multi-stream sorting stations. They have black signage, and take non-recycleable items like plastic bags, chip bags, candy wrappers, and more.


Organics Sorting Icon and Images


Organics are part of multi-stream sorting stations in cafeteria areas and lunchrooms, or have small counter-top bins for smaller lunchrooms. They have green signage, and take food waste and compostable take-out containers only.


Recycling sorting icon and items


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


Paper recycling icon and images


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


Cardboard and other icon and images


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

There are also many other specific streams that have drop-off locations or other sorting programs across campus, but are not present everywhere. This includes batteries, clothing, electronic waste, writing utensils, textbooks, scrap metal, and more. Check out the Shift:Zero sorting guide for more info on these programs and locations.


Still have sorting questions or want to know more? Contact sustainability@uwaterloo.ca for any questions.