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Using your blue cart

When you use your Blue Cart or a community recycling depot, you help keep valuable recyclable materials out of City landfills.

Find tips for preparing your recyclables the right way so we can make sure they are recycled properly and safely at our recycling sorting facility.

Not sure where to put an item? Visit What Goes Where.

Put recyclables in your blue cart the right way

Bundle your stretchy bags and wrap

Bag all your stretchy plastic bags into a single bag and securely tie closed.

This includes the following:

  • Grocery bags
  • Produce bags
  • Ziploc bags
  • Bread bags
Blue Cart Bundle Stretchy Plastic in a Bag  

Bag your shredded paper

Shredded paper is one of the few items sorted by hand at the recycling facility.

By bagging your shredded paper in a see-through bag, staff can easily identify it as shredded paper and separate from the other recyclables.

Bag Shredded Paper in a Plastic Bag  

Keep the rest of your recyclables loose

Put the rest of your recycling loose into your blue cart.

Make sure your recyclables are not packed in too tightly or they will not fall out of the cart during pickup.

Keep Recyclables Loose in Blue Cart  

Why can't I bag recyclables?

Don't put recyclables in black garbage or blue recycling bags.

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 marked as garbage and are not opened.

No Bagged Recycleables  

Clean and prepare your recyclables

Empty your recyclables:

  • Pour out excess liquids
  • Scrape out food bits to compost
  • Separate caps and lids from all containers
Empty Out Your Recyclables  

Clean your recyclables

  • Rinse out all food containers
  • Remove bits of food, sauce and other residue.
  • Labels can be left on the containers

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

Clean Your Recyclables  

Dry your recyclables

  • Put all recyclables inside the blue cart to keep dry
  • Keep lid closed and clear snow off your blue cart lid

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
Dry Your Recyclables  

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. In the winter months, clear snow off of your blue cart lid to keep recyclables dry. Learn how the recycling facility works.

How Recyclables Are Sorted