Consider yourself a recycler extraordinaire? Make sure you are not committing some of the most common blue bin sins. (Note: many tips are specific to Metro Vancouver)

Items accepted in your blue box or blue bag recycling program varies greatly city to city. Always check with your specific recycling hotline or your city's website (see the links listed at the bottom of this page).


  • Rinse all containers well — like plastic milk jugs and yogurt containers.
  • Flatten paperboard as much as possible — like cereal or cracker boxes.
  • Keep the lid of metal cans attached, folding them inside the can — like cans of tomato sauce.
  • Throw out small lids from plastic bottles — the City of Toronto prefers lids on (PDF file)
  • Recycle most commonly accepted plastics — like tubs, bottles, and jugs numbered one, two, four, or five.
  • Recycle aluminum foil, trays and pie plates


  • Plastic shopping bags should be taken back to the store — note: the City of Toronto accepts them (PDF file)
  • Plastics numbered three, six, and seven are rarely accepted by municipalities, but double check!
  • Paper milk (soy and rice) cartons are not accepted in some cities (e.g., Metro Vancouver). Find out about take-back programs? that exist for your city or in-stores.

If in doubt, don't take my word for it, visit your city's website today and learn how you can be a recycling champion!

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