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Blue Cart - Tips for preparing your recyclables

When you use your Blue Cart or a community recycling depot, you help us keep valuable recyclable materials out of City of Calgary landfills. Below, you will find tips for preparing your recyclable items so that we can make sure they are recycled properly, efficiently and safely at our recycling sorting facility.

1. Know all the materials you can recycle


2. Place items in loose

Don't put recyclables in garbage or blue recycling bags. The only exception is plastic bags and shredded paper

Plastic bags should be bundled together in one plastic bag and shredded paper placed inside a transparent plastic bag.


Remember: If you use bags to collect your recyclables, be sure to empty them loose into your blue cart.

Why can't I bag recyclables?

The recycling facility isn't set up to unbag recyclables and they need to be loose to be sorted by the machines. For the safety of workers, garbage bags are assumed to be garbage and are never opened.

Shredded paper and plastic bags are hand sorted for recycling; transparent bags make them easy to identify and grab.

3. Remove caps and lids from containers

Remove caps and lids from plastic, glass and metal food and storage jugs, bottles and containers.


4. Clean off food and other residue

Remove bits of food and other residue from the inside of food containers. Labels can be left on the containers.

Tip: If you wash dishes by hand, use the dirty dish water to clean off food residue from your recyclables.


5. Keep recyclables inside the cart

If you have extra recyclables that won't fit inside your cart:

  • Flatten boxes to create extra room in your cart.
  • Hang on to your extra recyclables for next week's collection.
  • Bring extra recyclables to a community recycling depot.

Why can't I put recyclables next to the cart?

Your blue cart protects recyclables from the rain, snow and wind. Your cart also helps keep our communities litter-free.

To learn more, watch our Make Your Recycling Count video.