recycling in Calgary

Recycling in Calgary: Do you know what goes in the blue bin and what does not?

When I was approached by The City of Calgary to talk about recycling in our city, I was super excited. I learned a lot along the way. Recycling is close to my heart, but it’s important to do it the right way. 

Putting the right items in the bin keeps the driver and recycling facility staff safe since the wrong items can injure someone and damage equipment. The right items can then be recycled into new products and don’t have to end up in the landfill.

Right items: What goes in the blue bin?

Let’s talk about what are the right items for recycling in Calgary. You can put these in the blue bin. 

  • Plastic containers: 

These can be milk jugs, yogurt tubs, pop bottles, takeout containers, laundry detergent containers, body lotion containers (no tubes), juice bottles, mouthwash bottles, shampoo and conditioner bottles (no handpumps), etc. Plastic lids must be larger than 7.5 cm (3 in) in diameter. If the lid is about the size of the palm of your hand, it’s ok to recycle. Please note that all coffee cup lids belong in the garbage. They are too light to be sorted properly at the recycling facility.

  • Glass food jars and bottles: 

Metal lids must be larger than 5 cm (2 in) in diameter to be recycled. If the lid is smaller than the palm of your hand, it belongs in the garbage.

recycling in Calgary


  • Bundled stretchy plastic bags and cling film: 

Put all stretchy plastic bags into a single plastic bag and tie closed before recycling. Acceptable bags include:  Grocery bags, shopping bags, sandwich/lunch bags, resealable/Ziploc bags, freezer bags, bread bags, dry cleaner bags, plastic overwrap (wrapping on toilet or paper towel, water bottle cases), plastic film wrap (saran wrap), bubble wrap etc.

If a plastic bag does not stretch, is crinkly or tears (like a chip bag or cellophane), it’s not recyclable and belongs in the garbage.

  • Paper and cardboard:

These include cardboard boxes (cereal, pizza, tissue boxes, etc.), toilet and paper towel tubes, catalogues, magazines, telephone books, newspapers, flyers, brochures, letters and envelopes (remove plastic window), paper coffee cups,  fountain pop cups (no lid), greeting cards, on-foil paper gift wrap, paper bags, soup and beverage cartons (e.g.Tetra Pak® packages), milk carton, juice boxes, shredded paper (in a see-through bag and tied closed), paperback and hardcover books (separate hardcovers from pages).

  • Tin cans and tin foil:

Crumple aluminum foil into a ball. 

For more details, read this link about recycling in Calgary.

Recycling in Calgary: How to do it right 

It’s important to prepare and store your recyclables at home correctly. 

  • Bag your bags:

We have set up a space under our sink to store stretchy plastic bags that can be recycled by hanging a hook. Plastic bags can’t be recycled if you put them individually in the blue bin. Loose bags jam up the equipment at the recycling facility and get stuck in other recyclables. Once the bag is full, we close the tie and put in the blue bin.

  • Empty, clean and dry:

Remember these three words for recyclables: empty, clean and dry! Remember to empty and wash out food residue. Food goes in the green cart! 

 Separate different materials from each other such as a metal lid from a glass jar.

Let containers dry out when you rinse them.

Make sure your blue cart lid stays closed to keep it safe from the elements.

Below is everything that went in the blue bin from our house this week.

recycling in Calgary

Check out this link for details on how to prepare your items for recycling. 

Also this link is a great one to confirm what goes where.

I really hope these tips helped you learn more about recycling in Calgary. I did not personally know that aluminum foil can be crumpled and recycled! What was that one thing you learned that could be recycled?

How about you play a game as a family and try to guess which items go in the blue bin?

I involve my children in the storage and sorting of recyclables because this is valuable knowledge they need to have.

Would love to hear from you also! Who is responsible for recycling in your house?

Disclaimer: This blog post is sponsored by The City of Calgary. All opinions are my own.

4 thoughts on “Recycling in Calgary: Do you know what goes in the blue bin and what does not?

  1. This was really helpful! I had to visualize objects when you gave measurements to get a better idea! Thanks for sharing!

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