Major changes in Recycling and Garbage collection

This year, the County is making major changes in recycling and garbage collection.  For recycling, instead of using clear plastic bags, you will get a blue box and a grey box. And garbage will be changed too – you’ll get a green box for organic stuff that can be composted.  In addition, there will be more places to dispose of hazardous waste.  There will be an extensive education program which has already started – read the Waste and Recycling Collection calendar which every household should have received at the beginning of the year (via Northumberland News).  At Cobourg’s Committee of the Whole Council meeting on May 13, Adam McCue from the County will make a presentation on this subject.  Some changes have already happened but most will start on September 3rd, 2019.  And to make life a little more confusing, the Landfill and Transfer Stations have been renamed to Community Recycling Centres or CRCs.

Waste Bins
Planned Waste Bins

Impact of changes

  • Green Bin – 2,000 to 3,000 tonnes of food waste diverted from landfill annually
  • Blue & Grey Box – 1,000 additional tonnes of recyclable materials diverted from landfill annually
  • Community Recycling Centres – 2020 and beyond, 1,000 additional tonnes of divertible materials kept out of landfill annually (mattresses, shingles, wood waste, etc.)
  • Overall – 15-20% increase in waste diversion

Students will be delivering Blue & Grey Boxes between June and the end of August and the Contractor will deliver Green Bins in August. The bins will include instruction packages and the County also plans radio and newspaper advertising to get the word out.  In addition, they plan “Info Booths” at Municipal Buildings (Libraries, Town Hall Foyers, etc.)

Although it is recommended that you read the 2019 Waste Calendar, below is a summary that should help.  If you don’t have a copy of the Calendar, download it here. 


Recyclables and Garbage collection days won’t change.  Collection day is per the calendar – for Cobourg that’s Tuesdays unless bumped because of a Holiday Monday.

There will be two “split” collection trucks – each with two compartments.  One will pick up Grey and Blue Box Recyclables and the other Green Bin material and Garbage. Both will pickup on the same day, once a week.


Starting September 3, these must be separated to go in new Grey and Blue Boxes and not clear plastic bags.

Box Contents
Grey Box Paper: Newspapers, flyers, paper, cardboard tied and bundled, shredded paper inside a clear plastic bag
Blue Box Other Recyclables: Rinsed bottles, coffee cups, glass and plastic containers, cans, plastic sleeves and bags inside a tied plastic bag

Green Bin

Bin Contents
Green Bin Organics: Food scraps, biodegradable pizza boxes and paper plates, used paper towels, pumpkins – anything that is compostable including paper linings of kitchen catchers.

Also provided will be a kitchen catcher that you may line with a compostable lining such as newspaper or certified compostable bags or LCBO bags.  Or don’t use a liner and just wash it regularly.  You may want to keep meat scraps in a compostable bag in your freezer until collection day.


Little change from the current arrangement.  Up to 2 standard garbage bags with $2.75 green tags and weighing no more than 20 KG (44 pounds) each.

Bag Contents
Garbage Bags Garbage – everything not put in blue, grey or green bins, except for hazardous waste, leaf and yard waste, Christmas trees or “other” (see below).

Leaf and Yard Waste

Collected May to December on the week indicated in the Calendar.  Bundled sticks and leaves in paper yard waste bags.  There is more detail on this Cobourg Internet page here.

Hazardous waste

Location Dates
Cobourg Household Hazardous Waste and Electronic Waste Depot.  Veronica Street Selected dates – April through October per Waste calendar
Community Recycling Stations – Bewdley and Brighton Monday through Saturday; all year except for Public Holidays.  See details below.


Appliances, scrap metal, drywall, clothing, tires etc can be dropped off  at the Bewdley and Brighton CRCs – free except for Garbage, Drywall and Leaf and Yard Waste.   The County no longer issues free Dump vouchers to residents.

Fees for charged items at CRCs

Material Under 100 kg Over 100 kg
Garbage/mixed loads $11.50 $115/tonne
Drywall $8.50 $85/tonne
Leaf and yard waste First 500 kg free Over 500 kg $40/tonne

Fees are also charged for dropping off mattresses, shingles, wood waste, etc

A new free item is Styrofoam as used in packaging which may also be dropped off at a CRC.   It must be in a clear bag.

Christmas trees are collected by Municipalities, not the County.

Bewdley CRC

Address:  7650 CR 9 (Oak Ridges Dr.) between CR 28 and CR 18.
Hours: April 1 to Nov 30 – Mon. through Sat. 8:30 to 5:00; Dec 1 to Mar 31 – Tues though Sat 8:30 to 5:00

Brighton CRC

Address: 1112 CR 26 north of 401
Hours: Mon through Sat. 8:30 to 5:00

The County has a new web site and their Garbage and Recycling page is here.

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15 July 2019 10:33 am

A split bin truck, one section for all recycling and the other for green bin and garbage? How is green bin waste being separated from garbage when the truck unloads? Is someone actually picking through pulling out the garbage bags that aren’t torn when the truck compacts the load? What’s the point of separating the recycling just to have it all merged in the truck, again having to be sorted when the truck is unloaded.

I understand and support the intent, I’m not however convinced the implementation results in the progress intended. It sounds very much like additional overhead costs generating the same results.

As to the tag fee that has been debated since inception, it seems to me that if people are paying as part of their property taxes they would be more inclined to take advantage of the curbside waste pick up rather than the current scenario that obviously motivates some to lose their waste somewhere inappropriate rather than pay the $2.75 or $3.00/bag.

Reply to  Steve
15 July 2019 10:55 am

The point of the “recycling” program is to make people feel good. Other than the metal bits very little of the collected material can be economically reused.

16 May 2019 1:20 pm

If Mississauga can plan to leave Peel region, then Why would Cobourg not look into separating from Nothumberland county?

It would eliminate the double-level taxation for all these “Services”, and footing the bill for the rest of the townships?

16 May 2019 9:03 am

Until they stop charging people per bag of garbage, this place will continue to earn the title, Northdumperland!
Look around. It’s a disgrace the amount of garbage dumped in parks, forests, roadways.
We have a new park in our area. People have been spotted throwing their kitchen garage waste in the park garbage (or tossing things like an old hockey net in the forest!)
Do like most other areas do … Hide the cost in people’s taxes, water bills, anything!!!

Keith Oliver
14 May 2019 9:58 am

Seems to me this is an opportunity to make another significant improvement to the waste pick up system and improve efficiency, reduce energy use. This would be to encourage neighbours to place their bins and bags together in one agreed spot instead of in front of each individual residence. If 4 neighbours did this the truck would stop and then accelerate (the moment when the most fuel is used) only once instead of 4 times. I doubt this can be mandated but should be considered by those genuinely concerned. Worth a thought?

14 May 2019 9:17 am

I live in an apartment building where there are two bins outside: one for compost and one for “other”. Many residents can’t even keep that straight. What changes will be made in our containers for collection to ensure that stuff goes where it should?

Paul Pagnuelo
13 May 2019 11:11 am

According to an April 29th report by Global News “Canada’s recycling industry is having its moment of reckoning with more going to landfill, less being accepted in the blue bin and the cost of going green soaring”.

It seems that after China stopped accepting our waste, Canadian municipalities are now struggling to find places that will take our recyclables.

I have no problem sorting my recyclables and preparing them so they are not rejected.

The greater problem is what to do if the County can’t dispose of the recycling. Simply “storing” it at our landfills or some other site isn’t the answer.

Miriam Mutton
Reply to  Paul Pagnuelo
13 May 2019 1:47 pm

Good point. Why should someone else be expected to deal with our waste? Why should it take someone like Duterte, President of the Philippines threatening to declare war on Canada, to force us to take back our garbage sent there in the guise of recycling? (The private company responsible should be held accountable.)
Locally, there are several major ‘plastics’ related industries located in Cobourg. Could recyclables be used for some of their products or be incorporated into their various manufacturing streams (without having to import even more)? Or, new companies created to do something useful with waste? For example, for a time there used to be a local maker of products such as picture frames that use to take clean styrofoam. Or, recycled plastic made into ‘lumber’ for raised garden kits.
Also, the laws have to change to make manufacturers responsible for their packaging and also to require products like appliances to be cost effective to repair.

12 May 2019 12:27 pm

Thank you for the helpful summary of the changes to recycling. The so called “inconvenience” of having to sort our garbage is a small price to pay for helping the environment. I lived in Stouffville for 10 years before coming here, and for the latter half of my time there this is the system we used, and people got used to it. Yes, there will always be those who get mad about having to take responsibility for their waste (despite the fact it’s we humans who got the environment into this mess in the first place) or who are too lazy to do their part, but that’s people for you — always some bad apples. Too bad they can’t be composted too. 🙁

Meya Tootoly
Reply to  Chevalgal
12 May 2019 12:44 pm

how does your backyard smell in the summer??? how do you deal with the rodents, bugs, and wild animals that will be attracted to this? Better yet, how do your neighbors feel about it?

Reply to  Meya Tootoly
13 May 2019 5:12 am

Oh no! Bugs and rodents! Life! Ahhhhhh! Man we are a sad species scared of anything natural, and so our world is dying because of it. Humans are the real problem with this planet, not any bug, or wildlife.

I don’t see what your comment had to do with what she said anyways. Organic waste goes into a lidded bin, not into your backyard.

Reply to  Chevalgal
13 May 2019 11:22 am

Yes, there will always be those who get mad about having to take responsibility for their waste.

How, exactly, do you “take responsibility” for your sewerage? I suspect that you pay someone to dispose of it. Why do you feel that sewerage is different from other waste? Why do you think that everyone should be required to do penance by personally sorting their own garbage?

12 May 2019 8:38 am

Having waded through 31 comments half of which were from people bellyaching and whining about anything connected to the subject.

Let me put out my credentials and tell you we have heard all of this for thirty years and people got over it and now use the system. The only bad thing about this move is that it happened thirty years too late and I blame the County for that. The amount of money wasted in landfill space and tipping fees must be in the millions (because of the failure to compost organics – 40% of the waste stream). If one can cast minds back to the huge meetings we used to have in the Town Hall about user-pay garbage we haven’t really advanced in out attitudes to change.

Of course there will be bugs in the system, but don’t dwell on them just join in and reduce the cost of waste and save the Planet for a change.

If all the anti comments were a chance to vent – thanks to John for providing the opportunity, unfortunately read as stand alone comments they look pretty petty and not worthy of a place in the debate, they show personal resistance; that does not reflect well.

signed ben burd, the councillor who established recycling in Cobourg in 1988.

Reply to  ben
12 May 2019 9:50 pm

…petty and not worthy of a place in the debate

Ben, why are you entitled to be an arbiter of what should have a place in the discussion?

11 May 2019 6:29 am

Grey Box, Blue Box, Green Box, Hell, i will now, just put the whole works in a green bag & my problem is solved!

Reply to  Geo.
11 May 2019 7:15 am

it has always been stated that recyclables are to be kept dry! HOW IN HELL DO I ACCOMPLISH THIS IN AN OPEN BOX IN THE WINTER?????????

manfred s
Reply to  Geo.
11 May 2019 11:39 am

FAIR question, Geo., and one that may better be asked of the recycling department at County.

Reply to  Geo.
13 May 2019 5:44 pm

Invest in a large covered bin that will hold the coloured smaller containers. Will cost you say about $75.00

manfred s
Reply to  Geo.
11 May 2019 11:37 am

…and what exactly might be your “problem” Geo.?

10 May 2019 11:23 pm

What’s the point of that recycle/sorting plant in Grafton, if they are going to expect taxpayers to do it?

Sorry, but not happening. All recycle goes in one bin, and garbage in a bag.

Reply to  Dice
11 May 2019 6:01 am

That’s exactly what the collectors are going to say when they see your unsorted one bin, sorry, but not happening.

Meya Tootoly
Reply to  Durk
12 May 2019 10:44 am

and hence the problem continues…. the tax payers pay for this service, so how about the collectors do their job while they still have one, cause really, soon we won’t need them either, just like the layoffs they will be doing at the recycle plant once they get homeowners to start sorting for them. Why would we need sorters? why are we paying for a service we are now expected to do ourselves. You can’t have it both ways guy’s so decide on one and stick with it

manfred s
Reply to  Dice
11 May 2019 11:43 am

one might assume that it’s about labour costs. If you’re willing to pay for more labour at the MERF, sure, they can sort YOUR garbage for you, but I ‘d rather save my rupees and presort.

Meya Tootoly
Reply to  manfred s
12 May 2019 12:29 pm

And as soon as I see my taxes go down, I will also

manfred s
Reply to  Meya Tootoly
12 May 2019 7:44 pm

haven’t you been paying attention, Meya? Waste handling is not included in your taxes. Any changes to waste handling will not affect your taxes. What more can be said about waste handling with respect to YOUR taxes, huh?

Reply to  manfred s
12 May 2019 9:43 pm

I’m confused. I understand that garbage handling is paid for by buying tags. You wrote that waste handling is not included in taxes. What is the source of funding for “recycling”?

Reply to  manfred s
13 May 2019 5:50 pm

Waste handling used to be covered, but with the continuing higher cost of police and fire protection in the town budget, guess what gets cut. No more Dump Pass. Buy garbage tags.
More garbage thrown out on Theatre Road…Just sayin’

Reply to  cornbread
13 May 2019 6:08 pm

Cornbread, isn’t garbage management a county rather than a town responsibility? If so, the higher cost of police and fire should be irrelevant since those costs are a town rather than county responsibility. You didn’t mention whether “recycling” expenses affected property taxes.

Meya Tootoly
10 May 2019 2:32 pm

I totally agree with Marsha. I am new to Cobourg, luv it here, however I can’t help but think this new system is a bit redundant no? So now we will have to put our recycle in a plastic bag still, but now in a bin with no lid!? so rain and snow will weigh down the boxes, making them heavier for the garbage men to lift? hmm doesn’t seem to be solving any problems? still using plastic bags. Toronto found this route of lidless bins rather cumbersome and switched back to taller bins with lids. Also I am concerned about people’s composing habits, I love gardening and don’t want to have to smell rotten food from my neighbors yard, not to mention the rodents, fly’s and wildlife this will attract. I pay just under 6,000 yr for taxes, good lord! I would think that at that rate there shouldn’t be a problem or complaint regarding garbage Pick Up. I refuse to have to chase my recycle down the street or have to pick up others recycle off my property. So, stick to the larger bins with lids PLEASE
We live in Canada, we have 3mnths of snow and lots of rain in the spring, are weather is not conducive to lid less bins. Please rethink this.

Reply to  Meya Tootoly
10 May 2019 3:01 pm

Oh My God, we are using a different system than the centre of the Universe 😱
How Will ever survive 🤔
We are smart than the people in Toronto,
We will be able to use the system without any problems

Meya Tootoly
Reply to  Mark
10 May 2019 9:56 pm

I’m sorry if this offended you Mark, my bad! However, your contribution or “reply” to this open conversation kinda just sounds like sour grapes. My point is and was that I luv Cobourg too and I just want to keep it looking this way. No smarminess intended. :)) It’s all good

Reply to  Meya Tootoly
12 May 2019 7:26 am

It is not sour grapes on my part , it just soooo tiring to hear people from Centre of the universe comparing everything to it
I did spend the first 1/3 of my life in COU and still have family there who think everything should be the same as COU.
The county employees would have look at all the systems out there and with talking with Contractor picking up the waste would come up with the most cost efficient system
The County does not have the same tax base of the COU, if you want gold plated service , you will have to pay 2x the taxes.

Meya Tootoly
Reply to  Mark
12 May 2019 10:49 am

Yeah I guess ur right Mark, we will be saving more money after they sack all the sorters.

Reply to  Meya Tootoly
12 May 2019 3:53 pm

You are dreaming if you think that having the residents do more of the work will save money. Mr. Draper gave the numbers last year ( Forcing residents to sort our garbage and deal with additional bins will cost a whopping $1,250,000 additional on your tax bill. Even after deducting a very fuzzy $350K/year savings from land fill capacity the new, improved (?), system will still cost us $900,000/year more in property taxes.

These tax increases do not include the overtime pay necessary for county staff to generate such stupid ideas!

Reply to  Dubious
14 May 2019 7:35 am

Hey Dubious come out of your cave and tell us how you deal with your garbage and what do you propose to do with the stuff in the future?

Reply to  ben
14 May 2019 8:33 am

I do the same as I suspect most others — use the county supplied disposal services. A backyard midden heap would be equally attractive for kitchen waste. What is your suggested alternative?

Jim Thomas
Reply to  Meya Tootoly
17 May 2019 2:25 pm

I’ve been composting in my backyard bin for years now and there is neither “smell from rotten food” nor “rodents, fly’s (flies, actually) nor wildlife” and such. Just don’t put dairy or meat in it. Veggies only.
My neighbours have never uttered a peep, and that includes those who actually share the back yard.
Don’t knock it if you haven’t tried it.

Reply to  Jim Thomas
17 May 2019 3:36 pm

There are four compost bins here holding garden and kitchen waste and we have no problems. However, the new composting scheme accepts meat hence the concern with critters and odours..

10 May 2019 1:02 pm

More bins? I appreciate less plastic bags is better for the environment, albeit on a windy day before I can get home from work to put the bin inside, it has disappeared down the street 🙁

Mrs. J.
10 May 2019 11:05 am

On this topic, I’d like to make this observation.
Many condo apartment & townhouse developments in our town pay for private contractors to pick up their household garbage & recycling items, rather than being picked up by “the town”.
Most of these condo contractors simply differentiate between household garbage (which includes food waste placed in a black garbage bag) and recycling (which includes paper, glass, and tins in a blue bag). Which, by the way, by doing this, these condo owners are actually being dinged TWICE for garbage pickup since they pay for it in their condo fees AND in their town taxes.
Although I greatly believe this new town method to be implemented is much more desirable to help “save our planet”…..there will still be lots of people in Cobourg not implementing these new techniques since their garbage is not actually picked up by “the town”.

manfred s
Reply to  Mrs. J.
10 May 2019 12:02 pm

as I understand it, it is the County, not the Town, that picks up waste. Also, waste collection is financed through the land fill fees and bag tag revenues, not property taxes. Private pickup like yours, Mrs. J., are not a second charge since you don’t pay for bag tags. You might want to confirm this before you complain about being double charged.

Merry Mary
Reply to  manfred s
10 May 2019 4:53 pm

The monthly collective condo portion that is designated for private garbage pick-up, divided by the number of condo units, is about the same or slightly higher than what one pays for bag tags per month.

Mrs. J.
Reply to  manfred s
10 May 2019 9:56 pm

Our monthly condo fee portion that goes towards garbage pickup is WAY MORE than the fees for bag tags for a month!
So you might want to rethink your complaint of my “complaint”.

manfred s
Reply to  Mrs. J.
11 May 2019 11:35 am

referencing your comment “these condo owners are actually being dinged TWICE for garbage pickup”, Mrs. J., my comments are about “double charging” as opposed to the amount being charged, something that likely varies from condo to condo association and something of which I have no knowledge.

Merry Mary
Reply to  Mrs. J.
11 May 2019 1:42 pm

There was no complaint about your complaint; simply a situational fact.

Paul Pagnuelo
Reply to  Mrs. J.
10 May 2019 12:05 pm

I don’t believe it’s correct to say that Condo owners are not being dinged twice. The taxes we pay the Town do not include garbage pick-up or landfill costs. The cost for pick-up is paid for by homeowners who purchase garbage tags. The cost of maintaining the landfill sites and recycling is paid for through the County portion of our property taxes.

manfred s
Reply to  Paul Pagnuelo
10 May 2019 12:26 pm

and that is an equal billing situation, one that involves everyone. Property taxes include a County portion which everyone pays as well so waste related expense is distributed to everyone through that levy. Condo owners pay for private “collection”, property owners pay for “collection” through bag tags. Where do you see any double billing, Paul?

Reply to  manfred s
10 May 2019 12:37 pm

Yes, Manfred! I just got my 2nd Cobourg tax bill yesterday and if one looks at the ‘pie chart’ on the green coloured 2019 Tax Information sheet, it shows that for ‘residential tax distribution’ 56.7% goes to Cobourg, 32.3% goes to the county and 11% goes to education.

Reply to  manfred s
10 May 2019 1:18 pm

Dunno what I’m missing here. My condo puts out recyclable and garbage bags. For the garbage bags I go to the grocery store and pay for garbage tags. The recyclable and the garbage bags are picked up by the same vehicles that pick up from single family residences along the way. Assuming there is this egalitarian approach to County taxes then why am I not paying 2x?

manfred s
Reply to  gerinator
10 May 2019 8:17 pm

and are you paying waste related fees in your condo fees as well, gerinator? If so, you appear to have a case of double charges. What does your schedule of condo fees say about waste collection? … odd, very odd indeed…

Paul Pagnuelo
Reply to  manfred s
10 May 2019 1:34 pm

I should have said it’s not correct to say that condo owners are being dinged twice. Apologies for not proof reading first.

Reply to  Paul Pagnuelo
13 May 2019 3:51 pm

As a condo owner where we pay for private pick up – my concern goes beyond the property tax discussion and back to the ‘recycling’ discussion. Presumably condo boards will have to discuss with their members and private contractors who pick up the garbage HOW we will accommodate the actual GREEN part – that would require replacing the current 2 bins for ‘recycle’ (blue plastic bag items) and garbage, which includes everything that does not go in the recycle bin -this includes food/compostable waste. It will require a new 3 bin system which will cost condo owners money to implement. Will it be up to the boards to decide or will there be a town mandate to force a new 3 bin system for those using private pick up?

Jason Beatty
10 May 2019 9:17 am

Thanks John for the info.

Old Sailor
10 May 2019 9:10 am

As I recall the waste and recycling calendar used to be mailed to residents along with the bulk waste voucher. To save money the waste voucher was cancelled and to save even more money the calendar is now distributed via Northumberland News. Judging by all the yard waste that has been sitting on the curb of our street for weeks, the majority of homeowners do not receive Northumberland News.

I went to Victoria Hall to pick up a copy of the calendar and was that told they ran out of calendars two weeks after it was published. Much to the dismay of many frustrated residents who also left Victoria Hall empty handed. Someone at Northumberland County, perhaps in the budgeting department, has cut back a valuable resource residents rely upon. Hopefully the county will change the distribution method of the calendar for 2020.

Reply to  Old Sailor
10 May 2019 9:13 am

The calendar is available online.

Reply to  Old Sailor
10 May 2019 9:31 am

I, along with many others, did not receive the WR calendar because we don’t get the Northumberland News! I had to go to the county office, which is located on the north side of Elgin, just west of Burnham Street. I think they still may have lots there at the counter?
My concern is that this very important document, should be mailed to all house holds! I grabbed a few in March and distributed them amongst my neighbours!
My other ‘beef’ is that I wish the county would have a ‘yard waist-leaf pick-up’, for area 2, in April! I have about 20 bags, ready to go, for next weeks pick-up, that I am keeping dry in my garage so as to keep them dry and not make my neighbourhood look like a garbage dump!
Just a thought.

Reply to  Ken
10 May 2019 11:31 am

Ken, why not mow and mulch your leaves, and leave on lawn…
Great for your lawn or environment. Or at least mulch and bag and won’t take up that much bag space. Just an idea.

Reply to  Pierre
10 May 2019 6:34 pm

Pierre is correct. The amount of leaf bags I see on the side of the road just makes me shake my head. They are a natural fertilizer. If you’re worried about them matting down your lawn then just run over them and will become your lawns best friend as mulch, returning nutrients to the soil naturally. Also great in flower beds. Birds and bugs depend on all the goodies they contain also. There is no reason to be putting them at the curb.

Walter Luedtke
Reply to  Pierre
11 May 2019 9:29 am

Shredded leaves are perhaps the best mulch ever for your garden!
In the fall, rake all the leaves on your property into a large pile and water it heavily. If you have warm weather through winter, water the pile occasionally. Once spring arrives, dig down into the pile and discover rotted leaf mold. Spread the rotted leaf mold on your garden beds.