Recycling Changes

Because of recent changes in the  global recycling market some items no longer go in the blue recycle bags. 

Why do we have to make these changes?

Changes to the global recycling market means that some items no longer have a demand to be reused again. So, we have to ensure our blue bag items are of the highest quality, get recycled, and make it to market.

Global News Special Feature

What happens when the wrong items go in the blue bag?

Contaminants (items meant for garbage and organics) make it  nearly impossible for items to  get recycled, because it costs our processor extra time, money and resources to sort out non-recyclable material from our blue bags.

Continued contamination of blue bags can result in increased costs for Fort Saskatchewan’s recycling program. Proper sorting ensures that marketable materials get recycled.

Recycle Sorting List


Not Accepted

  • Boxboard (e.g. cereal and crackers)
  • Books (with hard and softcovers removed)
  • Bottle deposit containers 
  • Corrugated cardboard
  • Flattened milk jugs
  • Food cans & tins
  • Hard plastic tubs, bottles & containers (e.g. shampoo, ketchup, sour cream, etc.)
  • Magazines & phone books
  • Newspapers & flyers
  • Office paper, envelopes, craft paper
  • Paper egg cartons
  • Paper greeting cards and gift wrap (no tissue paper, foil, glitter or decorations)
  • All lids & caps
  • Plastic bags, wrappers & wrap
  • Styrofoam blocks, cups, packing peanuts & trays
  • Non-packaging plastic (e.g. laundry baskets, lawn chairs & toys)
  • Glass bottles, jars and containers (Accepted at the Transfer Station)
  • Single use cups (e.g. yogurt, pudding & sauces) and to-go cups (from coffee, fountain drinks & smoothies)
  • Shredded papers, napkins, tissues, paper towels & tissue paper (Accepted in your Green Organics cart)
  • Plastic clamshell packaging
  • Chip cans & spiral wound containers
  • Non-deposit Tetra Pak containers
  • Plastic dishware, ceramics & glassware
  • Coffee pods & drink pouches
  • Single use plastic straws & utensils
  • Scrap metal and construction & demolition materials
  • Electronics and hazardous waste
    (check out our Special Collection Events, also accepted at Transfer Station)
  1. Some key points to remember:
    • Keep plastic films and flexible plastics like grocery bags, bread bags, lids and caps out of the blue bags. These items go in the black waste cart.
    • Keep your blue bag clean. Wash all the food, liquid and dirt off of recyclable items before they go in the blue bag.
    • Keep Styrofoam and glass out of the blue bags. Styrofoam goes in the black waste cart, and glass can be dropped off at the Transfer Station (8609 – 11 St.)
  2. Why are some materials not accepted in the blue bags anymore?
    • Global changes mean that some items are no longer accepted by the processor, and this is a change everyone is adapting to. It’s very important we keep our blue bags contamination free (no plastic film and flexible plastics), so our paper and cardboard continue to be recycled.
    • If we allow the collection of non-recyclable materials, materials that could be getting recycled would go to landfill because of high contamination rates. It would take a lot of man power, time and money for the processor to sort out every bit of film plastic. The most efficient way to sort this material is at your house.
  3. Why are the numbers shown on the plastics not being used to sort the plastics? Doesn’t the recycle symbol mean the plastic is recyclable?
    • Originally this system was used to sort the plastics, but it is no longer reliable.
    • There are seven different types of plastics that are identified using the numbers and symbols. You can find these numbers on plastic containers, packaging and bottles.
    • To make it easy, we have sorted acceptable plastics by packaging type. Only hard plastic containers, bottles and tubs will be accepted.
    • As products advanced, manufacturers started using mixed materials making them harder to recycle. In these products, the number or symbol shows what it’s mostly made of.
      Example: The #1 plastics symbol is one of the most recyclable plastics and is found on hard plastics (e.g. salad dressing bottle) and film plastics (e.g. grocery bag). Although the items have the same number, the plastics are manufactured differently and cannot be combined. In this case, the salad dressing bottle would be recycled, but the plastic grocery bag would not be.
  4. Why can’t we send everything to the processor?
    • Sorting blue bag items at the processing facility takes a costly combination of manual labour and technology. A series of conveyer belts, magnets, optical sorters and people sort items into plastics, metal and paper. The belts move very fast and it can be hard even with all the people and technology to sort out contamination.
    • Right now if baled materials have a contamination rate higher than 0.5%, the entire shipment is rejected. If we send contaminants to the processor, it makes it extremely difficult to meet these tough restrictions. Without better sorting habits at home, our curbside recycling program would not be sustainable.
    • Even though the recycling market has always fluctuated, these changes are the new norm. It could take years for the industry to find new markets and find new technology to recycle unmarketable materials.
Photo Gallery: Recycle will appear here on the public site.

What goes where