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Recycling and Blue Box

Recyclable materials like cans, bottles and paper products go into the blue box.  Local municipalities manage curbside collection of blue box materials, which are delivered to the York Region Material Recovery Facility to be sorted and shipped to markets internationally and made into new products.

To see if a specific item can be recycled in the blue box, please use Bindicator.

What Happens to my Blue Box Recyclables?

Watch our video to learn what happens to your blue box recyclables.


What is Accepted

Here are some items that are accepted in the blue box. To see if a specific item can be recycled in the blue box, use Bindicator.

  • Aerosol cans (empty, lids separate)
  • Aluminum foil, trays and plates
  • Boxboard (cereal, cracker, tissue boxes)
  • Cardboard boxes
  • Egg cartons
  • Glass bottles and jars (lids separate)
  • Metal food and beverage cans
  • Metal paint cans (empty, lids separate)
  • Milk and juice cartons, juice boxes
  • Newspaper, household paper and envelopes
  • 100% paper cups
  • Paper-based cans (frozen juice and dough containers, coffee cans, chip cylinders – lids separate)
  • Plastic bottles, drink containers (no straws), jars and jugs (used for beverage, food, cleaners)
  • Plastic clear fruit and vegetable containers
  • Plastic clear molded bakery containers
  • Plastic food tubs (yogurt, margarine, sour cream, cottage cheese, ice cream)
  • Plastic clear take-out containers

NOTE: All containers must be empty and rinsed. Cardboard and boxboard must be flattened and bundled.


What is Not Accepted

Items not accepted in the blue box include:

  • Black plastic (including black plastic take-out containers)
  • Coat hangers, mirrors, window glass and light bulbs
  • Drinking glasses, cups, dishes, pots, pans and utensils
  • Facial tissue, paper towels, cookie bags and potato chip bags
  • Flat take-out cup lids
  • Foam packaging, protective packaging and foam take-out containers (place in garbage or take large clean packaging styrofoam to a Community Environmental Centre)
  • Household hazardous waste like paint, motor oil, needles, cleaners, compact fluorescent light bulbs and batteries (take to a Household Hazardous Waste Depot)
  • Lawn furniture, garden hose and rope
  • Motor oil containers
  • Paper Cups (coffee and soft drink cups)
  • Plastic bread, produce and frozen vegetable bags
  • Plastic food wrap, wax paper and other plastic film
  • Plastic grocery bags (take to a Plastic Bag Take-Back retailer)
  • Plastic packaging for toys or electronics
  • Plastic straws
  • Plastic toys (take reusable items to a reuse donation centre)
  • Propane tanks or cylinders (take to a  Household Hazardous Waste Depot)
  • Shoes, clothing, linens and towels (take reusable items to a reuse donation centre)
  • Shredded paper (take it to a Community Environmental Centre or place it in the green bin)
  • Take-out cups (coffee and pop cups)

Drop-Off Locations

Residents can drop off blue box recyclables for no charge at:

  • East Gwillimbury Household Hazardous Waste and Recycling Depot
  • Elgin Mills Community Environmental Centre
  • Georgina Transfer Station, Hazardous Waste and Recycling Depot
  • McCleary Court Community Environmental Centre

Frequently Asked Questions and Tips

My blue box was missed for collection, who do I contact?

Curbside collection, including the blue box is managed by local municipalities. Please visit local municipal websites or your waste collection calendar for more information on your blue box collection schedule.

Why can’t plastic bags, wrap and film go in the blue box?

York Region’s blue box system allows residents to set their blue box recyclables at the curb unsorted, saving time and reducing collection costs for local municipalities. Blue box materials are then processed at the Region's Material Recovery 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.

Reuse your plastic bags or take them to one of the local participating retailers in the plastic bag take back program to be recycled. 

Why can’t shredded paper go in the blue box?

Shredded paper, either loose or in plastic bags, is very difficult to manage at the Material Recovery Facility. This facility sorts recyclables manually and mechanically by using equipment that separates the materials by size, shape and weight. Shredded paper is too small and light, so it ends up passing through the mechanical screens and contaminating the glass stream.

To reduce the amount of shredded paper that you produce, consider shredding only the small portion of the document that contains personal or sensitive information.

Shredded paper can also be placed in backyard composters, in your green bin (in small amounts) or it can be dropped off in clear plastic bags (at no charge) at the Elgin Mills Community Environmental Centre or the McCleary Court Community Environmental Centre.

Why is foam packaging not accepted in York Region’s Blue Box program?

Foam packaging used for take-out foods for example, is difficult for curbside collection. It is a low-density, high volume material that quickly fills up collection vehicles resulting in higher shipping costs. Additionally, processing foam packaging at the Material Recovery Facility (MRF) with other Blue Box recyclables can be challenging as it tends to get broken or can develop a static charge. This makes sorting difficult and can result in cross-contamination of other recyclables.

There are limited available end markets for recycling foam packaging at this time. York Region staff continues to monitor market conditions.

Are there any depots in York Region that accept foam packaging for recycling?

Yes, large, clean foam packaging typically used to package TVs and large electronics is accepted for recycling at the following depots:

  • Elgin Mills Community Environmental Centre
  • Georgina Transfer Station, Household Hazardous Waste and Recycling Depot
  • McCleary Court Community Environmental Centre




Related Resources

 


recycling,garbage,blue bin,plastic,bottles,cans,paper,blue box The Regional Municipality of York en-US Recycling and Blue Box Recycling and Blue Box Recyclable material like cans, bottles and paper products go into the blue recycling bins. Your local municipality will pick up your recyclables and York Region will use them to make new products.

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