1. What is Markham's Clear Bag Program?
    Starting April 30, 2013 we are asking Markham residents to switch from dark garbage bags to clear garbage bags. You can set out as many clear bags of non-recyclable/non-compostable garbage as you need. Good News! There will be no more 3 bag limit or bag tags required.

  2. Do I have to use compostable bags in the Green Bin?
    No. Any bag – paper, plastic or compostable can be used in your Green Bin.

  3. When should I start using clear bags?
    The program takes effect April 30, 2013. This gives residents time to use up their dark bags. After April 30th your left over dark garbage bags can be used to line your green bin.

  4. What can I do with any extra dark bags I have left over after April 30, 2013?
    You can use your dark garbage bags to line your green bin, which is collected every week! Dark garbage bags can be donated to local charities and churches that have many uses to reuse them (clothing storage and shipping etc).

  5. Why is Markham changing from dark bags to clear bags?
    Black garbage bags can hide a multitude of materials that should not be in the garbage such as toxic items - paint, solvents, batteries as well as recyclables. Progressive municipalities audit what is in residents garbage bags to improve waste management practices. Recent audits and audits performed by the province indicate high amounts of textiles, paint, household hazardous waste, food, paper, recyclables and thousands of household batteries are being sent for disposal.

    Markham's garbage is transitioning from being landfilled to being processed and incinerated to make and supply energy. For air quality issues, we have a responsibility to ensure our garbage does not contain potentially toxic materials such as batteries, electronics and any household hazardous materials. Clean waste means clean fuel and air for everyone!

    Clear bags will aid our collectors to identify materials that are banned from disposal. Unfortunately, our collectors have been injured from hidden glass, nails, and other sharp items hidden in the dark bags. Using clear bags keeps our collectors safe from injuries.

  6. Will someone be looking through my garbage?
    No. Collectors will not be going through or opening your garbage bags.

  7. Will clear bags cost more and where can I buy clear garbage bags?
    No, clear garbage bags will be similar pricing as dark bags. Clear bags can also be used for your overflow organics. Clear bags can be purchased at any retail location that sells garbage bags starting spring 2013.

  8. What about my privacy?
    If you have security concerns, use small opaque bags (grocery bags) inside the clear bag or place your clear bag inside a garbage can. Reminder – items such as confidential papers/bills, tissues, soiled paper, feminine products go in your Green Bin which is collected weekly. Any bag – paper, plastic or compostable can be used in your Green Bin.

  9. What if I use solid colour bags under my sink or throughout my home (i.e. grocery bags), can I tie them up and throw them in?
    A limited number of small grocery bags are permitted within your clear bag. Your privacy is important to us; please remember that most bathroom waste (tissue, paper, feminine products) should be placed in your Green Bin.

  10. What happens if I don't use clear bags as of the April 30, 2013 effective date?
    Clear bags will help Markham identify residents who do not recycle or compost at all. After several reminders dark coloured garbage bags set out for collection may not be collected. Our priority is to encourage everyone to participate.

  11. Can I use a clear bag for my recyclables?
    No. Recyclables need to be loose in your Blue Box and not in plastic bags.

  12. Can I use just a garbage can instead of a clear plastic bag?
    No. Markham’s By-law, for health and safety purposes, has always required garbage to be contained in a bag and not loose in a garbage can. A garbage can (0.5 m x 0.9 m), less than 18 kg is acceptable. Starting April 30th, 2013 garbage must be contained in a clear bag not a dark coloured bag.

  13. Do other communities use clear garbage bags?
    Yes! The City of Guelph has had clear garbage bags for over 10 years! Other communities include: Dufferin Country, Grand Valley and the majority of communities in Nova Scotia and all of Prince Edward Island.

  14. Why does Markham keep changing collection rules?
    Waste management has had many changes over the years. Changes in collection services are a part of sustainable waste management system. Markham is now targeting 80% waste diversion by 2014, a target that if reached will position Markham residents as the best of the best in waste diversion.

    Markham has seen many collection changes!

    • Markham used to have garbage collection twice a week!
    • In the 80’s - Introduction of the Blue Box. But you had to sort! And the collector had to sort on the truck into 6 streams.
    • Then we had a weekly 3 bag limit – that’s 12 bags a month!
    • Several years ago Markham switched from plastic bags for yard waste to Kraft paper bags to make better compost.
    • In 2005 Markham residents received a Green Bin.
    • Garbage collection was reduced to every two weeks and 6 bags per month.