New Waste Programs Finally Operational

If you live in a house in Cobourg and not certain Condos, you will now be using the new Blue Box, Grey box and Green bin program as well as continuing with garbage bags.  It’s just as well that it does not apply to Condos like the one I live in because we don’t have anywhere to put multiple boxes – friends with a house and connected garage don’t have this problem.  Our garbage gets sorted by recyclable or not then gets taken by a contractor to Lindsay!  (I don’t know what other Condos do).  It seems that Northumberland is moving the work of sorting garbage to the taxpayer instead of it being paid for by taxes.  And some recent glitches have complicated matters – the start of the program was delayed and now lids for bins have become an issue.

A news release by the County on Wednesday said that lids for recycling containers have sold out.  They add that more are on order and will be available by January and that the use of lids is not mandatory.  They explain:

In most cases, wind and rain should not affect recycling, particularly where Blue Boxes are stacked on top of Grey Boxes. This measure will prevent paper materials from getting wet or carried away by the wind. There is no problem with container material in the Blue Box getting wet.

Waste Bins
Waste Bins

Many people wanted to pay the $3 for lids for blue and grey boxes anyway but now they must wait.

The green bin for food waste is obviously a magnet for raccoons and other “pests” so a “pest lock” for the green bin is available at no charge. You can also:

  • Exchange a bin.  If your delivered Blue and Grey Boxes are too tall, you can exchange them for shorter boxes. No charge.
  • Purchase additional bins
    Additional blue and grey boxes, and green bins, are available for purchase
    Blue or grey box – $6 each  Green bin -$15 each

You can get these by visiting the Grafton recycling centre or in Cobourg go to their office at the County Building on Courthouse road – or as the person answering the Garbage hotline said: “at the corner of Burnham and Elgin”.  Hours are 8:30 to 4:30 Monday to Friday.  The Grafton recycling centre is at 280 Edwardson Road, Grafton – map here or just go North from Grafton on County Road 23 then take first left after crossing 401.

You can use the hotline yourself by calling: 1-866-293-8379.  More info on how to use the new system is on their web site here or you can get a summary in the Cobourg News Blog article when this was announced here and then when it was postponed.

To keep up with what’s happening (e.g. to find out when the lids are once again available), here is what they recommend:

  • Follow On Facebook: @NorthumberlandCountyWasteDepartment
  • Follow On Twitter: @NorthRecycles
  • Subscribe to news releases:

These currently have no news beyond what’s in this article but in January they will tell you when lids are in stock.

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23 February 2020 6:47 pm

Not to leave a solution, I liked it better before.I dislike the changes for weaker people, aging people, people who lost their spouse. The boxes are heavy, only one has wheels. Expensive maladaptation to people who didn’t need all that finicky sorting. Big country BOY thinking.

27 December 2019 8:43 am

Noted in Toronto – all bins have lids, many people found to be putting garbage in recycling bins, racoons having feasts from green bins, lockable lids – lids chewed, rat problem in Toronto now.

Apartment dwellers here in Cobourg are treated to the sight of surrounding community illegally dumping in their bins to avoid garbage charges.

Wonder how it will go here in Cobourg with further breakdown of garbage disposal.

Reply to  Observer
27 December 2019 5:34 pm

Good thing we are not in Toronto

Just Wondering
20 December 2019 5:48 am

Has anyone found a compostable bag to properly fit the green bin? The 49L bag from Glad is not wide enough to fit over the sides of the bin. The county has so far been unable to advise me of a specific brand, suggested I just try different brands sold by various retailers.

Reply to  Just Wondering
20 December 2019 1:12 pm

You’re right! The Glad Tall 49L compostable bag is way too small for the 49L “green” cart supplied by the County.

The sample bag and info they sent out to all of us states that the Glad units are approved for for use in this community (both small and large sizes)

Good luck finding a bag that will fit. The Glad bag dimensions are 24″ x 31″, and is the largest compostable bag I have seen after doing some “Google” searches for larger sizes.

Ken Strauss
Reply to  jimq
20 December 2019 3:31 pm

I don’t know if they are approved by the county but Amazon has 30×39 compostable bags ( They are $1.25/bag + HST and probably significantly more if you cab even find a local source.

Reply to  Ken Strauss
20 December 2019 4:41 pm

Good eye Ken.

Yes, those would be approved because each bag has the “BPI Compostable in Municipal Facilities” stamped on them as required.

Just Wondering
Reply to  Ken Strauss
21 December 2019 4:24 pm
Reply to  Just Wondering
21 December 2019 7:09 pm

There you go! Those too have the required stamp on each bag so they will be picked up with no problem. That’s a great local source as well!

The key to getting a good fit for these “49L” green cans they have issued is the proper diameter. 30″ will fit perfectly.

Just Wondering
Reply to  Just Wondering
3 January 2020 3:20 pm

Finally received these after ordering them from Home Hardware. They fit the new green bins with lots to spare.

Reply to  Just Wondering
21 December 2019 1:51 pm

be done with this B/S after 30 yr.s of recycling everything GOES IN A GREEN BAG!

16 December 2019 4:08 pm

Got my new Waste & Recycling Calendar last week. Ugly pictures this year.
I miss seeing that cute little fox already.

16 December 2019 5:39 am

Where I used to live, in a condo, there were large bins (on wheels) for recycling and kitchen waste. The handyman put them out one day and back in the next. The were kept along a wall in the parking garage.

I’ve always wondered something about kitchen waste having to be separate. Since it’s organic, wouldn’t it decompose in a landfill anyway?

Reply to  Phunkeemum
16 December 2019 7:33 am

Yes organics do decompose in a landfill but occupy expensive landfill space. Imagine if, twenty five years we had had the foresight to compost those organics and extend the life of the County landfills, just how much money we would have saved – not to mention extending the life of the landfill site. But a very short sighted County Council of the day led by the Lord of Hope Twp. decided to cancel plans for a composting plant, already designed and ready to go at the MRF.

We have paid dearly for that penny-foolish decision.

Ken Strauss
Reply to  ben
20 December 2019 11:34 am

Ben, you mentioned that we would have saved by starting composting 25 years ago. Could you please share your financial analysis? Did you include the costs for resident labour to separate their compostables, different trucks to keep the organic waste separate, additional cost to collect the organics, cost to build and operate the composting plant, etc?

Reply to  Ken Strauss
21 December 2019 8:04 am

No Ken none of the above but a calculation based on a commodity more valuable than krytonite – landfill space. It takes almost a decade and millions of Dollars, to get new landfill space approved and built, due to strict environmental evaluations, NIMBY objections and the demand for immaculate design.

It is common sense, something that many beancounters are missing and failing to realise that if you reduce the amount of garbage by 40% for the first year and maintain that infill for the life of the dump, than your investment in the space and the need for new ones is both enhanced and reduced.

If you want to bang your head against the wall and try to invest in new landfills – good luck, When was the last landfill approved in Ontario? Toronto trucks its garbage to Michigan. We have a literal goldmine due to “mining” the old cells and new cell design. We can extend the life for decades by composting organics, and should have done it when first proposed in the 90s.

Miriam Mutton
Reply to  ben
21 December 2019 9:05 am

In conversation with a former neighbour who now lives in Nova Scotia, they remarked to me that in their experience Ontario is at least 25 years behind in dealing with recycling waste compared to NS.

Deborah O'Connor
Reply to  Ken Strauss
22 December 2019 4:54 pm

Are you aware, Mr. Strauss, that Ben was a municipal Cobourg Councillor, in charge of establishing our recycling blue box program in the late 80s and early 90s, and Town Reeve, making him our representative at County Council when all these programs were begun? He just might know what he’s talking about, leftie or not!

Ken Strauss
Reply to  Deborah O'Connor
22 December 2019 7:05 pm

I am certainly aware of Ben’s background which is why I asked him for any economic analysis of the benefits of a green box program. Unfortunately Ben didn’t give any quantitative analysis of the benefits. Can you provide further details or a rebuttal to his points? If not then I don’t understand the reason for your comment.

Deborah O'Connor
Reply to  Ken Strauss
22 December 2019 10:13 pm

I have my own theory about why he isn’t giving you what you want but he can speak for himself if he so chooses.

Reply to  Phunkeemum
16 December 2019 7:58 am

The dirt is compacted in a landfill so it air does not get to organic materials to decompose it. Also gases from landfills is not great

Merry Mary
15 December 2019 10:26 am

If a separate County truck is picking up the compostables, it would be wonderful if condo owners, who are required to hire private companies, would be allowed to have a separate designated space for their compostables in order to be included in this highly responsible venture.

15 December 2019 10:19 am

Great review of the new program John. I just exchanged my blue box for a small, bin with a handle and my grey bin for a small one.. Great options if you have to carry garbage through your house to the curb. Unfortunately they currently only have one size of green bin. Delighted the green bin program is here though!

Maggie's Mom
15 December 2019 8:51 am

The new green bin accepts a lot of stuff such as bones, wet paper towels, etc. I am certainly willing to sort and happy to have a small garbage bag once every three months. I just wonder how long it will be before we are charged for this: right now our only cost is any garbage we put out, since there is no specific extra added for garbage/recycling pick up. So, this expense is coming out of general county funds, right?

Ken Strauss
Reply to  Maggie's Mom
15 December 2019 9:58 am

We’ll all benefit from the free pickup as an increase in the county component of our property tax bills.

Constance Mealing
15 December 2019 8:25 am

I am very happy with the new system as I could not compost without attracting mice. I have very little garbage now as does my daughter. I was able to get lids for us on the day they were offered at the yard on Veronica St.

Patricia Sinnott
15 December 2019 8:13 am

The whole point of green bins is to reduce what goes to landfill; if Markham can divert 80% of their waste, let’s hope Northumberland can better the current 50%!

Just Wondering
14 December 2019 2:08 pm

Watched our garbage being picked up this past week. Contents of grey bin, blue bin, garbage bag and clear plastic bag of plastic wrap were all dumped into the same compartment on the truck. I presume the garbage bags and clear plastic bags will be sorted at the recycling centre, but what is point of homeowners sorting recyclables into the grey and blue boxes? On a positive note, the green bin was collected by a separate truck.

Ken Strauss
Reply to  Just Wondering
14 December 2019 3:15 pm

I presume the garbage bags and clear plastic bags will be sorted at the recycling centre, but what is point of homeowners sorting recyclables into the grey and blue boxes?

Is there any evidence that everything will be resorted?

George Taylor
Reply to  Ken Strauss
15 December 2019 8:09 am

it appears to me that now we are doing all the sorting that some people will lose there jobs at the Grafton recycling plant?

George Taylor
Reply to  George Taylor
16 December 2019 8:28 am

I DON’T UNDERSTAND WHY I WOULD GET A THUMBS DOWN? you don’t have to be very intelligent to see that if we are doing the recycling, SOMEONE WILL BE OUT OF A JOB!
i NEVER mentioned the green bins as i see them as being excellent! i am lucky to live in the country & have my own compost pile which provides Great soil.

Ken Strauss
Reply to  George Taylor
16 December 2019 9:40 am

You don’t have to be very intelligent to see that if we are doing the recycling, SOMEONE WILL BE OUT OF A JOB!

SOMEONE will be out of a job but there will probably be a net increase in workers required. Consider that workers had to produce the new bins and more trucks to pickup from more bins and more diesel fuel to power more trucks and… Collecting multiple bins will take longer and require more workers and more drivers and… It is part of the coming green economy. If we care about the children we all need to work harder to make it happen.

Reply to  Just Wondering
15 December 2019 8:45 am

According to the county: when the new trucks are in place late next year they will be divided into two sections. Blue/grey. Until then the old trucks are single stream…everything recyclable goes into one main section and is taken for sorting. Their webcast on Facebook mentions being able to use clear bags for recycling until that is in place but I’ve heard that clear plastic/blue bags are being left at the curb side.

Miriam Mutton
Reply to  Are_n
15 December 2019 9:38 am

The Facebook post seems confusing. I understand that recycling bags (clear/blue) can be used if your area of the County has yet to receive their bins.

Nicole Corbeil
Reply to  Just Wondering
16 December 2019 5:20 pm

What I saw was one garbage truck picking up the grey box (paper) and throwing that in one half of the truck; then the blue bin contents was thrown in the other half of the truck along with the large black garbage bags. The green bins appeared to have been picked up by another truck but I did not see it.