What Can Go in the Blue Box?
New to the Blue Box:
Spiral Wound Containers
This includes frozen juice containers, coffee cans, chip
cylinders and dough containers.
Contact your local municipality for curb-side set out requirements.
Download the What's Accepted and Not Accepted PDF poster.
For more on what can go in the Blue Box, check out The Bin-dicator waste tool.
To view some of our advertising campaigns click here.
Learn more about the Region's recycling program and what happens to your Blue Box recyclables at the Region's Waste Management Centre by viewing our video (10:35).
What Can't Go in the Blue Box?
Download the What's Accepted and Not Accepted PDF poster.
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Please note the following requirement for your Blue Box materials:
- Plastic sleeves must be removed from your newspapers. Plastic sleeves do not go in the Blue Box. These can either be reused or disposed as garbage.
- Plastic wrap must be removed from cardboard containers, such as pop can cases and water bottle cases before placing in the Blue Box. Plastic wrap can be disposed as garbage.
- No plastic bags of any kind are accepted in the Blue Box. Therefore, bagged recyclables are not accepted. Recyclables must be placed loose in your Blue Box.
- Not all plastic items can go in the Blue Box. Plastic cups, plates, toys, accessories, etc. do not go in the Blue Box. Please click on The Bin-dicator for alternative options. Only rigid plastic food containers and household cleaning containers can go in the Blue Box (see image above).
- Bagged garbage does not belong in your Blue Box. Please set out with your garbage on your designated collection day.
- Dishes, metal pots and pans and utensils do not belong in the Blue Box. If in good condition these can be donated for reuse at a Community Environmental Centre.
- Please do not place recyclables inside cardboard boxes or any recyclables inside another recyclable. This makes it more difficult for the materials to be separated and sorted properly.
- Please flatten and bundle your cardboard. Check with your local municipality for maximum size requirements.
- Please do not place oversized containers in your Blue Box. Items larger than 23 cm (9 inch) diameter are not accepted. (Examples include large pails, water cooler bottles, and oversized cardboard boxes not broken down).
- Please do not place hazardous materials or electronics in your Blue Box. Examples include propane cylinders, batteries and cell phones. These can be delivered free of charge to a York Region Household Hazardous Waste depot.
Plastic bags, wrap and film are not accepted in the Blue Box recycling program. Examples of plastic bags and film include clear plastic bags containing recyclables; grocery bags; plastic sleeves containing newspapers; and plastic wrap found on water bottle cases.
Why are plastic bags, wrap and film not accepted?
York Region offers a co-mingled blue box system allowing residents to set their Blue Box recyclables at the curb unsorted, saving time and reducing collection costs for local municipalities. The mixed Blue Box materials are then processed through the Region's automated sorting equipment at the recycling facility. Plastic bags, wrap and film get caught in our equipment, resulting in the equipment shutting down and the possible risk of fire. Plastic wrap is also a source of contamination in the final sorted products.
Plastic bags caught in sorting screens for corrugated cardboard
What can you do:
- Do not place recyclables in plastic bags. Set out your recyclables at the curb in your Blue Box. For additional Blue Boxes please contact your local municipality.
- Remove the plastic sleeve from newspapers before recycling. Place newspapers in the blue box and plastic sleeves in the garbage or see if your paper delivery person can reuse them.
- Remove the plastic wrapping from water bottle and pop can cases. Place the case in the Blue Box and the plastic wrapping in the garbage.
- Grocery bags are returnable to many retailers in York Region. Click here to learn more about York Regions Plastic Bag Take-Back Program.
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Why is shredded paper not accepted in the Blue Box program?
Shredded paper, either loose or in plastic bags, is very difficult for York Region's recycling facility to manage. This facility is designed to sort the Region's recyclables mechanically by using specialized equipment that separates the materials by size, shape and weight. Shredded paper is too small and light. Due to its light weight nature and physical shape, shredded paper ends up passing through the mechanical screens and contaminates the mixed broken glass.
|Pile of mixed broken glass contaminated with shredded paper. |
What you can do:
- Only a small portion of documents need to be shredded. For example, bills and bank statements - only the name, address and account number needs to be shredded, not the entire page.
- To reduce shredding, tear off your personal information for shredding and place the rest of the page in your Blue Box.
Recycle shredded paper at our Community Environmental Centres
Shredded paper can be dropped off for recycling at the following depots:
- Elgin Mills CEC
- McCleary Court CEC
The nine local municipalities in York Region are responsible for the curbside collection of your Blue Box items. For details regarding your municipal collection program, contact your local municipality:
Watch our Waste Management Centre video to learn more.
- Collection trucks empty the materials onto the tipping floor, where they are pushed onto a conveyor belt, which takes them to the first of three sorting rooms.
- Materials are then sorted manually (by hand) and also by mechanical equipment such as magnets, star screens and eddy current separators. The result is separated paper fibres, glass, steel, plastic and aluminum containers and waste.
- The majority of separated materials are then baled (made into cubes to make it easier to transport).
- The materials are then stored awaiting shipment to various recycling markets.
- From this point, the recycled materials leave the Waste Management Centre to become new products for consumers.
Click here for more blue box information.
- You can save enough energy to light a 100 watt light bulb for four hours by recycling one glass bottle back into a new bottle.
- Recycled plastic can be used to make plastic lumber, which is said to hold nails and screws better than wood. This durable material can last for approximately 20 years and is maintenance free. Please check with your local building department before purchasing these recycled building materials.
- The amount of energy saved from using one tonne of recycled aluminum instead of new materials can be used to power the average home for about two years.
- The Canadian Pulp and Paper Association states that approximately 71% of the fibre used in making Canadian pulp and paper now comes from recycled fibres that used to go into landfills.
- A glass bottle that is not recycled and instead sent to a landfill would take about 1 million years to break down.
- Approximately 95% of Blue Box materials go on to be recycled into new products. The reason why about 5% of the items put into the Blue Box are not recycled is because the materials are usually too contaminated with non-recyclable materials. This shows how important it is to make sure your materials are clean and recyclable in the Region before placing them into the Blue Box.
For more information, please e-mail us at: EnvironmentalServices@york.ca or call the Region at 1-877-449-9675 ext. 3000 for waste management information.