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How recycling works in Calgary

When your items are picked up from your Blue Cart or Community Recycling Depot they go to a recycling sorting facility in Calgary.

People and machines sort all the mixed recyclables into different types of materials, bale them and ship them to markets where they will be made into new products. About 70% of the sorting process is automated with the remaining 30% of processing completed by employees by hand.

Every month, about 300 truckloads of recyclables are sent to companies who turn them into something useful.

MURF Recycling Facility Drop-off MURF Recycling Facility Compactor

How does the recycling sorting facility work?

Want a first-hand look at the recycling facility?

To schedule a public tour, please call 311. For information on school tours of the recycling facility or our landfills, please visit our Waste & Recycling Education Resources page.

Keeping the recycling sorting facility efficient and safe

The biggest challenge for the recycling facility is when incorrect items are put into the blue carts or community recycling depots.

Unfortunately, these items must be removed from the conveyors by hand, which slows down the process, can pose serious safety risks to staff and can clog or damage the machines.

That's why it's important to know: What can you recycle?

Where do my recyclables end up and what do they get turned into?

Recyclables from The City's recycling programs go to markets all over North America and around the world. Manufacturers take these materials and turn them into new items for consumers and businesses to purchase.


Recyclable material What it can become Where does it go?

Paper and cardboard

  • Newspaper
  • Cardboard boxes
  • Egg cartons
  • Paper towel and toilet paper tubes
  • Eastern Canada
  • United States
  • Southeast Asia

Plastic jugs, bottles and food containers

  • Carpet
  • Fleece jackets
  • Plastic pipes
  • Plastic lumber used to make park benches and outdoor patio furniture

Metal food cans and foil

  • Food cans
  • Bicycle and machine parts
  • Appliances (e.g. washer/dryer)
  • Sheet aluminum
  • Steel pipes

Eastern Canada

Glass bottles and jars
  • Road aggregate
  • Blasting abrasive (e.g. for removing paint)

Western Canada