Ask the Waste Wizard to find out where and how to properly dispose of an item.
Bad things happen when the wrong items are placed in the Blue Bin. How Bad? Bad enough that it can damage equipment, cause workplace injuries at the recycling facility and ruin otherwise perfectly good recyclables. Contaminated recycling is currently costing the City millions annually. Approximately 30 per cent of what is put in the Blue Bin doesn’t belong there. To remind people to recycle right and make the right call, the City has teamed up with Jack “The Coach” Armstrong.
The City is inspecting Blue Bins and those that are found to have a significant amount of non-recyclable material are being tagged and not collected. Homeowners with tagged bins are being given a Recycling Guide and notice indicating why the bin was not collected and instructing them to remove the contamination before the next recycling collection day.
In the future, to help offset the costs associated with contaminated recycling, the City may require a cost-recovery payment from those homeowners who set out contaminated recycling bins.
The City does not accept coffee pods in its Blue Bin recycling program. All coffee pods, including those that are labelled or marketed as recyclable, must be disposed of in the garbage or returned to retailers/manufacturers who have take-back programs.
The City commissioned research related to disposal of single-serve coffee and tea pods. The findings include feedback from Toronto residents about use, attitudes and disposal behaviours.
The City does not accept the following items marketed or labelled as compostable or biodegradable in its Blue Bin recycling program:
These items, which may be made of or lined with a bio-based plastic, must be disposed of in the garbage. Alternatively, products can be returned to retailers/manufacturers who have take-back programs.
Compostable and biodegradable plastics are not recyclable, as they are made of materials that are meant to break down versus materials that can be made into something new. Once recyclables are collected and sorted, they are baled and sold to partially offset the cost of collecting and separating recycling. At the recycling facility, compostable and biodegradable plastics get mixed with conventional plastics. When this happens, it lowers the quality of the plastic bales making them less valuable and more difficult to sell.
Food scraps like apple cores, eggshells or expired leftovers belong in your Green Bin. When you mistakenly toss food scraps in your Blue Bin, food residue and particles get soaked up by paper and can ruin large batches of otherwise good recyclables.
Please empty and rinse food containers before tossing them in your Blue Bin. When you don’t, the residue from items like jars and take-out containers get soaked up by paper and can ruin large batches of otherwise good recyclables. Put any food scraps in your Green Bin.
Old clothes, shoes, blankets, and curtains don’t belong in the Blue Bin. They can get caught in sorting machines, damage equipment and cause workplace injuries at the recycling facility. Instead, donate items that are in good condition to not-for-profit agencies or drop them off for reuse at Community Environment Days. If your items can’t be donated, put them in the garbage.
Most disposable hot beverage cups are made of paper, but lined with plastic, which makes them difficult to sort mechanically at the recycling facility. Conventional paper mills do not want coffee cups because of their low-quality paper and inner liner, which does not pulp easily and causes clogging in the pulping process. The dyes in the paper can also affect the quality of the end paper product and make it difficult for paper mills to turn cups into other paper-based products. As a result, the City has not been able to find a stable market (i.e. buyers) for coffee cups. Please place coffee cups in the garbage. Non-black plastic lids and paper sleeves should be removed and placed in the Blue Bin.
Black plastic of any kind, such as take-out containers and black garbage bags aren’t accepted in the City’s recycling program. There are two main reasons for this:
Please dispose of all black plastic in the garbage.
These do not go in your Blue Bin. They can get tangled in sorting machines, damage equipment and cause workplace injuries at the recycling facility. Donate unwanted VHS tapes or see if your local electronics store’s has a recycling program. Throw unwanted cords, hoses and cables in your garbage.
Note: black plastic items cannot be recycled (put in garbage).
Note: remove product before recycling.
Note: black foam items cannot be recycled (put in garbage).