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What can you recycle?

We're doing a great job and recycling more than ever. But, it's also important that we recycle the right things in our Blue Carts and community recycling depots, and properly prepare our materials.

When you put in items that don't belong, it can cause injuries to workers and shutdowns at our recycling sorting facility.

Bundle these items for your blue cart

Acceptable items for recycling 

All stretchy plastic bags need to be bundled into a single plastic bag and tied closed before recycling. Acceptable bags include:

  • Grocery bags
  • Shopping bags
  • Sandwich/lunch bags
  • ​Resealable/Ziploc bags
  • Freezer bags
  • Bread bags
  • Dry cleaner bags
  • Plastic film wrap
  • Bubble wrap

Recycling Tip:
If plastic stretches (like a grocery bag) it's recyclable; if it crinkles (like a cereal box liner), it's not recyclable.


Shredded paper should be placed inside a transparent plastic bag

Place loosely in your blue cart or community recycling depot

Paper and cardboard

Paper and Cardboard Recyclables
  • Cardboard boxes (cereal boxes, pizza boxes, tissue boxes, paper towel tubes and toilet paper tubes)
  • Catalogues and magazines
  • Newspapers and flyers
  • paper
  • letters
  • envelopes (remove the plastic window first)
  • greeting cards
  • brochures
  • non-foil gift wrap
  • paper bags
  • Telephone books and paperback books
  • Soup and beverage cartons (for example: Tetra Pak® packages)

Paper cups

Paper cup
  • Paper coffee cups and paper sleeves
  • Paper fountain pop and soft drinks cups

Make sure to remove the plastic lid, empty the contents and give the paper cup a rinse before recycling.

Learn more at

Plastic jugs, bottles, packaging and food containers

Plastic Food Containers
  • Clean plastic jugs, bottles, packaging and food containers with the recycling symbol 1-7 (please note: cups, food containers or packaging made of foam cannot be recycled)

Are all plastic container lids accepted?
If a plastic container lid has a recycling symbol and is larger than 3 inches in diameter (for example, larger than the palm of your hand), put it in your blue cart. If it's too small/light it can't be properly sorted at the recycling facility.

Plastic coffee cup lids are not accepted for recycling and should be thrown away.

Metal food cans and foil

Metal food cans lids and foil  
  • Food cans
  • Metal lids
  • Clean aluminum foil, aluminum foil plates and containers

Glass bottles and jars

Glass bottles and jars  
  • Clean glass jars and bottles

Beverage containers

Refundable beverage containers  
  • Refundable beverage containers

They can also be returned to bottle depots for refunds. For more information, visit

Recycling 101 with Breakfast Television Calgary

Learn more about what common household items are not acceptable for recycling - things like straws, stir sticks and coffee cup lids.

Also, watch what to do with mixed material items such as cardboard and plastic toy packages or food wrapping like chip bags and coffee tins.

Waste & Recycling Breakfast Television Recycling Video

Video note: At the 2:00 minute mark, the host incorrectly refers to window envelopes as a 'no' item. Envelopes are a paper item and are ok to recycle.

If you are looking for more information on how the Blue Cart program works, see our frequently asked recycling questions.

What if my blue cart is full?

If you have more recycling than will fit in your blue cart, try flattening cardboard boxes to make some extra room, or save these materials until the following week's collection. You can also take your recyclables to a community recycling depot.

Exposure to rain, snow and wind can reduce the quality of recyclables, and creates a problem with litter in the community. For this reason, we only collect recyclables that fit inside the Blue Cart or community recycling depot bins. Any materials left outside of the collection containers will be picked up as garbage.​