Moving to a new house in a new city can be challenging – there’s so much you need to do to get set-up and acquainted with your new neighbourhood! Luckily, the City of Kingston’s Students Page has resources to help you find your way! Here’s a quick summary of how Recycling and Garbage work.

Where to get Recycling Boxes & Green Bins

Your first recycling boxes are free – 2 Blue Boxes and 1 Grey Box. You can pick them up from City Hall or the Kingston Area Recycling Centre, Monday to Friday 8am-5pm and Saturdays 8am-4pm.

You also get 1 free Green Bin, which you can pick up from the Kingston Area Recycling Centre if your house doesn’t already have one. Kitchen Containers are like mini-Green Bins. One will be provided for free with your Green Bin.

What the Colours mean

  1. Blue Box: plastic, metal, glass containers, blister packs and Styrofoam.
  2. Grey Box (similar to Black Box in other cities): paper, newspapers and “stretchable plastic bags.” See: how to put out your recycling.
  3. Green Bin: organic waste, food scraps, soiled paper products, yard waste.
  4. Garbage Bag/Can: everything else.
  5. Don’t know which bin? Use the City’s waste look up tool.

What to Put Out & When

  • You can put out 1 garbage bag and your Green Bin every week.
  • Recycling, however, will alternate between the Blue Box and the Grey Box each week. Check your Collection Schedule to see which box to put out on your first week.
  • WHEN? Your Collection Schedule is based on your address. Different streets have different Garbage and Recycling Days, but generally if you look outside you’ll find out whether it’s Blue Box or Grey Box day.
  • Note: If there’s a Monday public holiday (i.e. Family Day, Labour Day, Victoria Day), your Collection will be delayed 1 day. For example, if you usually put your recycling out on Wednesday nights, you’ll now – for the week of the holiday only – put it out on Thursday night.
  • Sign-up for collection schedule reminders, through email, text or Twitter direct message, so you never forget what to put out on which day.
  • Download the FREE “Kingston Waste” app for Android or Apple phones.

Download from the App Store   Get it on Google Play

Pro Tips

Kingston is a very windy place, especially if you live close to the water. Prevent your Recycling Boxes from flipping over and blowing litter all over your lawn and your neighbours’ lawn with the following tips:

  1. Place heavier items on the top (i.e. glass bottles/jars in the Blue Box), and lighter items (i.e. plastic containers) on the bottom.
  2. Place a piece of plywood over the box. The collector will flip the piece of plywood off the box, and then empty your recycling.
  3. Put it out at 6am day-of: On days when you know it will be windy, place your recycling box out for collection at or before 6am the morning-of, not overnight.

Information Sources for this Article:

What to put in your Blue Box

All items should be cleaned and placed loosely in the Blue Box.

  • Plastic food and beverage containers
  • “Blister” packaging – like the kind they use to package tools or children’s toys.
  • Styrofoam – Maximum 90 cm x 60 cm x 20 cm
  • Aluminum and steel cans – including paper cans with metal ends. Put the lids into the can and pinch shut.
  • Glass food/beverage bottles & jars – but NOT broken glass, drinking glasses or light bulbs.
  • Alcohol containers can be returned to The Beer Store for deposit refund.

For additional info please review the Blue & Grey Box guide.

What NOT to put in your Blue Box

  • Popcorn Styrofoam and coloured/dyed Styrofoam: put it in a Garbage Bag.
  • Place broken glass, drinking glasses or light bulbs into a cardboard box: label it as broken glass and set out beside your garbage. This will not count as a separate garbage item or bag.

What to put in your Grey Box

  • Paper products – including glossy magazines, newspapers, junk mail, telephone books
  • Boxboard — cereal and cracker boxes
  • Milk cartons, juice cartons, juice boxes, paper cups
  • Plastic bags – shopping bags, milk bags, bread bags, any bag that passes the “stretch test
    • Note: Stuff all plastic bags into one bag, so they don’t blow away.
  • Corrugated cardboard – it has a wavy layer in the middle
  • Boxes – should be flattened and cut down to pieces no larger than 3 feet by 2 feet (90 cm x 60 cm x 20 cm). Pieces may be tied together with string in bundles no larger than 3′ x 2′ x 8″.
    • Note: There is a limit of 6 bundles or 6 boxes of cardboard per collection. Pieces may also be placed loosely in a separate recycling box.
  • For additional info please review the blue & grey box guide.

What NOT to put in your Grey Box

  • Wax-coated boxes and soiled pizza boxes: put it in your Green Bin. 
  • If you try to stretch a bag and it doesn’t stretch: put it in a Garbage Bag.

What to put in your Green Bin

  1. Food scraps – if you can eat it, it can go in the Green Bin: fruit, vegetables, coffee grounds, tea bags, meat and bones, bread, pasta, oatmeal, pizza, gravy and sauces, eggs, etc.
    • Note: Grease and fat should be poured into a paper carton (remove plastic spout) and allowed to solidify before going in the green bin.
  2. Soiled paper products: facial tissues, paper towels, greasy pizza boxes, microwavable popcorn bags, paper plates and paper napkins.
  3. Yard Waste: leaves, grass clippings, brush, twigs, flowers and plants; make sure you can close the lid.
    • Note: The City will only collect Yard Waste if it’s inside your Green Bin. They do not collect Yard Waste from yard waste bags or “after-market green bins.” They also do not collect additional bags of Yard Waste set beside the Green Bin.

What NOT to put in your Green Bin

  • Diapers, pet waste, kitty litter, feminine hygiene products, rocks/gravel, disposable duster/Swiffer cloths, soil.

Green Bin Maintenance Tips

  • Make sure the orange lock is firmly in place to help prevent animals and flies from getting in.
  • In the winter, you should line the bottom of the bin with newspaper or a paper bag to prevent waste from freezing to the inside. Read these instructions to make your own liner.
  • Note: Only use paper bags. The City will NOT collect Green Bins that have plastic or biodegradable grocery bags as liners.
  • To help control odour and pests, rinse your green bin periodically. Sprinkle in baking soda or vinegar to absorb/mask odours.
  • If your Green Bin gets maggots, kill them with regular household vinegar.
  • Consider keeping organic waste in a paper bag in your freezer. This helps to cut down on smell and prevent organic waste from sticking to your Green Bin

Garbage Bag/Can

  • You are only allowed 1 bag of garbage per house in the City of Kingston. It doesn’t matter how many people you live with, it’s 1 bag (maximum 44 lbs and 135 L in capacity) per week.
  • If you have additional bags to put out, you need to put a Garbage Bag Tag on it. Additional garbage bags will NOT be picked up, unless they have these tags.
  • Garbage Bag Tags are $2 each, available at City Hall, at the AMS office in the JDUC, and at Drug Smart Pharmacy in the ARC. You can also buy Garbage Bag Tags online, but shipping takes 5-7 business days. It’s a good idea to buy a few at the start of each semester.
  • Note: If you live in an apartment, different rules apply.