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Garbage Collection



Curbside garbage collection takes place weekly, usually on the same day every week (check your Waste Collection Calendar for holiday exceptions).

What Time of Day? By 7 am
Place garbage at the curb after 4 pm on the day previous to collection, or before 7 am on the day of collection. It is important to make sure garbage is at the curb on time, as collection schedules can vary.

Two Garbage Items

What Can/Can't I Put Out?
Waste collection staff will pick up two non-tagged items. A third item of garbage will be collected if it has a garbage item tag attached. The maximum weight per item is 18kg/40 lbs. An item is a separate bag or garbage can.

  • Maximum volume of can: 135 litres
  • Maximum height of can: 81 cm (32 inches) without the lid
  • Maximum combined weight of can & contents: 18 kg (40 lbs.)

A garbage can may contain several bags. Do not put out liquid waste, medical sharps (needles and lancets) or construction waste.

How Do I Put Garbage Out?
Garbage should be in securely closed garbage bags, or in cans containing bags of garbage. Please use durable plastic/metal garbage cans with handles and secure lids (not tied to can), or 1.5mm thick black or green garbage bags, securely closed. Cardboard boxes may not be used for waste. Make sure to wrap broken glass or sharp objects for safety. Please wrap, double-bag and seal animal waste. Place garbage at ground level at the end of your driveway (not on snowbanks).


In keeping with recommendations of the Solid Waste Management Strategy, and best practices in Ontario, garbage collection in Thunder Bay has changed to a two-item limit. 

Two-Item Limit Bag TagA third item of garbage will be collected only if tagged with a $2 Garbage Item Tag. Only one tagged item is allowed per collection day.

One Free Bag Dates

On the first collection date after New Year’s Day, Victoria Day and Labour Day, residents can put out a third item with no tag. 

Buying Garbage Item Tags
Tags will be sold in groups of five for $10 at the following Thunder Bay locations:

  • City Hall (front desk)
  • Victoriaville Civic Centre Cashiers
  • EcoSuperior
  • All branches of the Thunder Bay Public Library 

Using Garbage Item Tags
The Garbage Item Tag should be wrapped around the neck of the garbage bag, or around the neck of the top item in the garbage can. Make sure the tag and its serial number are easily visible to waste collection staff. More details below.

Tips for Reducing Waste
See our Recycling Collection webpage for waste-reduction tips. You may place an unlimited number of recycling items out for curbside collection.


1. Tie your garbage bag with a knot or twist-tie.
2. Peel the garbage tag off the sheet. Place the tag around the neck of the garbage bag, ensuring the ends are pressed together. Do not use the garbage tag as a twist-tie.
3. If using a can, place the garbage tag around the neck of the top bag of garbage, so it is easily visible to waste collection staff. The tag may also be applied flat to the top bag of garbage.

Garbage Item Tag on Bag NeckGarbage Item Tag on Top BagWhite Bags In Garbage Can with Garbage Tag


Can I tag several items to put out in addition to my two-item limit?
No - only one additional item (your third item), with a garbage item tag affixed, will be accepted for collection.

If there are several smaller bags inside my garbage can, is the garbage can still considered one item?
Yes - a garbage can containing bags is considered one item. Make sure it conforms to the weight restrictions noted above.

Is it OK to put garbage on snowbanks when there is no choice?
Waste collection staff cannot collect waste from the top of snowbanks for safety reasons. If you are running out of room, use a shovel to dig a hollow in the snowbank in which to place your garbage for collection.


Certain Thunder Bay households may need to set out more than the weekly garbage item limit due to medical circumstances. If you receive or are eligible to receive residential curbside waste collection services, you may apply to increase the limit of waste to a maximum of four (4) items per collection day on the basis of medial circumstances and will be required to affix the additional items of garbage with approved item tags. Approved applicants may be provided up to a maximum of 52 item tags covering a period of no longer than 12 months. To be eligible for the exemption, complete and return the Application for Medical Exception - Solid Waste below.

For more waste collection and recycling information, call Infrastructure & Operations Dispatch at 625-2195.