Blue Bag Recycling

    Blue recycle bag changes

Due to global recycling changes, what can be collected in your blue recycle bag has changed. Specifically, the following items are no longer accepted in your blue recycle bag and MUST be placed in your black waste cart:

  • Soft/flexible plastics, such as plastic clamshell containers
  • Single use plastic cups
  • Plastic bags, film and wrap

Starting Feb. 1, 2019, blue recycle bags that contain any unacceptable items will not be collected. Learn how you can recycle right by reviewing the list below and sorting your waste appropriately. If you’re not sure where something goes, use the online Trim Your Trash tool to search for a waste item and sort with success.

Blue bags of household recyclables are collected every week on your regular collection day. There is no limit on the number of blue recycle bags that you can put out. Residents who do not have curbside collection can take recyclables to the Eco Centre at no charge. For more information, review the frequently asked questions, call 780-962-7584 or e-mail us  .

Sort with Success

Not sure if an item can go in your blue recycle bag? Search for it here and learn if it can be recycled or if it has to go in your waste or green organics cart instead.

Recycle Right

The following items CAN be placed in your blue recycle bag for collection.

  •  Hard/rigid plastic containers, tubs and bottles, but no lids or caps (e.g. detergent, condiment or shampoo bottles; margarine and yogurt containers; ice cream pails)
  •  Tin food cans (clean and in original shape)
  •  Magazines, newspaper, flyers and catalogues
  •  Office paper, envelopes, craft paper
  •  Books with front and back covers removed
  •  Wrapping paper (no foil), greeting cards (decorations removed)
  •  Boxboard (e.g. cereal, cracker, cookies, tissue boxes)
  •  Cardboard, flattened (60 cm by 1 m or smaller)

The following items CANNOT be placed in your blue recycle bag.

  •  Soft/flexible plastics, such as plastic clamshell containers (e.g. berries, salads, bakery items)
  •  Single use plastic cups (e.g. pudding, applesauce, yogurt)
  •  Plastic bags, film and wrap (e.g. grocery bag, food wrap, re-sealable bags)
  •  Glass, including jars
  •  Tetra Paks without deposit (e.g. soups, broth, liquid egg)
  •  Styrofoam (e.g. packaging material, meat tray, take-out containers)
  •  Small metal item (e.g. coat hanger, nails, broken household items)
  •  Plastic packaging from toys, food and household items (e.g. fruit and vegetable bags, cereal box liners, pet food bags, plant pots)
  •  Single use plastic items (e.g. cutlery, straws, coffee pods)
  •  To-go cups (e.g. drink cups, lids and straws – most paper coffee cups can go in the green organics cart)

Frequently Asked Questions about Recycling 

The following items can be placed in your blue recycle bag for collection. All items must be clean and free of food, liquids and dirt.

  • Hard/rigid plastic containers, tubs and bottles, but no lids or caps (e.g. detergent, condiment or shampoo bottles; margarine and yogurt containers; ice cream pails)
  • Tin food cans (clean and in original shape)
  • Magazines, newspaper, flyers and catalogues
  • Office paper, envelopes, craft paper
  • Books with front and back covers removed
  • Wrapping paper (no foil), greeting cards (decorations removed)
  • Boxboard (e.g. cereal, cracker, cookies, tissue boxes)
  • Cardboard, flattened (60 cm by 1 m or smaller)

The following items can NOT be placed in your blue recycle bag.

  • Soft/flexible plastics, such as plastic clamshell containers (e.g. berries, salads, bakery items)
  • Single use plastic cups (e.g. pudding, applesauce, yogurt)
  • Plastic bags, film and wrap (e.g. grocery bag, food wrap, re-sealable bags)
  • Glass, including jars
  • Tetra Paks without deposit (e.g. soups, broth, liquid egg)
  • Styrofoam (e.g. packaging material, meat tray, take-out containers)
  • Small metal item (e.g. coat hanger, nails, broken household items)
  • Plastic packaging from toys, food and household items (e.g. fruit and vegetable bags, cereal box liners, pet food bags, plant pots)
  • Single use plastic items (e.g. cutlery, straws, coffee pods)
  • To-go cups (e.g. drink cups, lids and straws – most paper coffee cups can go in the green organics cart)

Please place these items in your green organics cart:

  • Shredded paper (place in a compostable bag or box)
  • Paper coffee cups

Due to global recycling changes, it’s more important than ever that only acceptable items are placed in blue recycle bags. There simply isn’t an international market for certain materials (like glass, for example), and putting them in your blue bag causes contamination, which can result in the entire bag going to landfill. The best way to ensure we maximize the amount of materials that are recycled is to only put acceptable items in blue bags.

Due to global recycling changes, there is simply no international market for processing glass. It can also be extremely hazardous in the blue bags, as glass jars or containers will often break and recyclables are hand sorted at various stages. For these reasons, the company that processes our recycling will not accept glass, which means the City can no longer accept glass jars or containers as part of our curbside recycling program. However, residents can bring clean glass containers to the City’s Eco Centre. Labels on jars are acceptable and any lids can go in the metal bin also located at the Eco Centre. Broken glass containers are not accepted at the Eco Centre. If residents don’t want to take their glass to the Eco Centre, they are encouraged to find ways to reuse glass in their households or, if glass must be disposed of, it needs to be placed in the black waste cart.

Like glass, there is no market to properly process plastic bags and film, so the City’s processor will not accept them. Plastic bags are a low grade plastic, which makes it difficult to turn them into a new product. Also, given their light weight, they often get mixed in with other items during the sorting process. This can result in contamination, which then goes to landfill.

Residents are encouraged to shop with reusable bags to help reduce the amount of plastic bags they use. There are also some businesses that will accept plastic bags. But if plastic bags need to be disposed of, they have to go in the black waste cart.

To ensure acceptable items reach end markets and are, in fact, turned in to new products, it is important to ensure that they are clean. This means that materials should be free of food chunks, liquid materials, or wiped clean from grease and dirt.

The acceptable item list applies to all of the City’s collection programs, whether it’s at the curb or through the Eco Centre (50 Diamond Ave.), with the exception of glass containers. Glass jars and bottles are not accepted in blue recycle bags, but clean glass containers can be brought to the Eco Centre.

Use the City’s online Trim Your Trash tool to help you sort with success! Simply search for an item and find out if it belongs in your blue recycle bag, green organics cart or black waste cart.

There are a number of reasons why other communities may be able to collect different materials in their blue recycle bags:

  • They may be using a different material recovery facility that has different technology or processes for separating materials.
  • Contractual obligations.
  • They may be choosing to stockpile materials in hopes that they can find a market for them.

A great start is to rethink how you purchase, use and dispose of various products. Did you know the three R’s of recycling (reduce, reuse and recycle) are in order of priority? Before you recycle, try to reduce and reuse first. Here are some simple steps you can take to cut back on waste and your use of plastics:

Reduce

  • Reduce your use of single use plastic items (e.g.: items such as plastic forks, straws and take-out containers)
  • Buy products with less packaging
  • Bring cloth bags with you when you shop for groceries
  • Plan out your meals

Reuse

  • Take reusable lunch containers, coffee mugs and water bottles
  • Buy items second-hand
  • Fix what you can before replacing items
  • Donate items you no longer use to charity

Recycle

  • Keep recycling to ensure valuable materials are being collected
  • Follow the most current recycling guidelines to ensure raw materials are going to the right place and being processed into something new

There are seven different numbers found within triangles on various plastic bottles, containers and packaging. These symbols were originally created to help identify the type of plastics being used in the product; however, over time and with product advancements, these numbers are no longer reliable.

For easy understanding, we have categorized the acceptable plastics into the type of packaging. Only hard/rigid plastic containers, tubs and bottles will be accepted your blue recycle bag as the majority of these have markets. Soft/flexible plastics, like clamshell containers and single serve plastic cups, must go in your black waste cart.

Often caps and lids are not made with the same type of plastics as the container, bottle or tub. By leaving it on, it can cause the item to be unmarketable and contaminate the blue bag.

The majority (up to 80% by weight) of recyclables still fall under the acceptable items category. It is important to continue placing this material in your blue recycle bag so that it can be recycled, and energy and resources saved instead of using virgin materials for new products.

Through recent waste audits, we know that approximately 80% of blue recycle bag materials are still recyclable. The majority of what needs to be pulled out of the blue recycle bag is film and flexible packaging, which is light weight and easily compactable.

We also know there is room for improvement. Approximately 36% of what is still being thrown out in our black waste carts is organic materials. The bulk of this material is yard or food waste and compostable paper products (e.g. napkins, tissues and paper towel). This can all be placed in your green organics cart instead of your black waste cart.

Try to maximize space in your black waste cart by ensuring everything that is an organic material or an acceptable blue recycle bag item is placed in the right spot.

No – there is a limit of one black waste cart per household. We encourage you to take some time to understand what can and can’t be placed in your blue recycle bag and the true impact it will have on the available space in your black waste cart.

Clear blue recycle bags are see-through, so collectors can quickly scan the contents for contaminants and unacceptable materials and they also keep recycling contained, so it does not end up all over your street on windy days or if your recycling is accidentally dumped when being collected. Blue recycle bags allow for unlimited quantities of recycling to be placed out for collection, while blue carts limit the amount of recycling to the cart size and also require additional storage of a third cart. Although the blue plastic bags have difficult markets right now, the benefit of using them for collection far outweighs not using them.

Contact

To report a broken or damaged cart, or missed collection, please call 780-962-7584.