Community Home & Garden


By Pam Dillon

At the last Fifty-Five Plus Lifestyle Show, one of the attendees, Jane Boardman, made an editorial request, following it up with an email: “I suggested that an article on all the in’s and out’s of recycling would be very useful,” she recapped.

Jane’s right. As we dive into spring cleaning after a season of cocooning and stockpiling, it’s time to revisit the blue bin and black bin rules to make sure we’re doing things correctly. Please note: The information below is based on the recycling program in the City of Ottawa. Check your municipality’s website for the details about its specific program.
It’s also worth noting that the blue box program in Ontario is shifting to a new system, whereby collected materials are returned to the producers of the products/packaging for re-use. The new system is run by a national not-for-profit called Circular Materials,, and by the end of 2026, every community in the province will be able to recycle the same items.

What goes IN the blue bin?


  • Empty bottles and jars


  • Cans
  • Soft drink cans
  • Jar lids
  • Aluminum containers (clean or food soiled)
  • Aluminum foil (clean or food soiled)
  • Empty paint cans with lids removed
  • Empty aerosol cans
  • Canisters with metal ends (potato chip canisters, frozen juice concentrate cans)


  • Food and household containers (excluding Styrofoam)
  • Clam shells, produce and takeout containers
  • Pails (remove metal)
  • Planting trays
  • Yogurt cups
  • Clear plastic egg cartons
  • Plastic jars, jugs and bottles
  • Ice cream, margarine and yogurt containers and lids


  • Milk and juice cartons
  • Drink and soup boxes
  • Frozen food trays and takeout containers

Keep it OUT:

  • Alcohol containers. Take them to The Beer Store


  • Ceramics
  • Household glass, including windowpanes, drinking glasses, mirrors and light bulbs
  • Compact fluorescent bulbs. Take them to a Household Hazardous Waste Depot or a Take it Back! partner


  • Chip bags
  • Clothes hangers
  • Scrap metal


  • Polystyrene, including foam meat trays and clam shells, plus Styrofoam packaging
  • All plastic bags
  • Hard plastics, including laundry baskets, makeup jars, toys, cups and dishes.
  • Motor oil containers


What goes IN the black bin?

  • Flyers and newspapers
  • Magazines and catalogues
  • Cardboard
  • Phone books
  • Cereal and cracker boxes (remove liners)
  • Shoe and laundry detergent boxes
  • Writing and computer paper
  • Paper egg cartons, toilet paper rolls and paper towel rolls
  • Wrapping paper and greeting cards
  • Paper shopping bags and packaging
  • Frozen dinner boxes
  • Clean pizza boxes

Put it IN your green bin:

  • Waxed paper
  • pizza boxes stained with food
  • soiled paper products
  • Tissues and paper towels
  • Wax-lined paper coffee cups


For details, see