Recycling Changes

Bi-weekly recycling starts March 1, 2021. More information about the change to bi-weekly blue bag collection is being mailed with the January utility bill, but if you have immediate questions please call our Waste Hotline: 780-992-6218.

Bi-weekly Blue Bag Collection FAQ

1. Why did the City decide to switch to every other week blue bag collection?

  • Since the cart program was implemented in 2018, city staff and the collection contractor recorded a lot of households not putting their blue bags out every week. In some neighbourhoods, the collection truck would be driving around and have nothing to collect. Reducing collection frequency prevents wasted resources.
  • Reducing the service level decreases costs. These cost savings are passed down directly to utility rate payers.

2. How do I know what weeks my blue bag is getting collected?

  • Bi-weekly blue bag collection begins on March 1, 2021.
  • Blue bags will be collected on the same weeks as your black garbage cart.
  • Collection schedules for the year can also be found anytime on the Fort Sask Waste app. You can also download your collection schedule here.
  • Residents can contact the Waste Hotline at any time to request a hard copy of the schedule be mailed to them.

3. I have a full blue bag every week, how am I going to last two weeks?

  • Households that actively recycle are encouraged to continue doing so! Blue bags that are full prior to collection day should be stored and set out alongside the black garbage cart.
  • Recyclables that are fully enclosed in a sealed blue bag can be stored outside (such as at the side of the house) if indoor or garage storage space isn’t feasible.
  • Unlimited amounts of recyclable materials can still be placed out for collection on collection day.
  • Households are encouraged to properly package their recyclable material to maximize space:
    • Cardboard and boxboard boxes should be broken down and flattened. Small boxes (such as a cereal box, shoe box, small to medium Amazon box, etc.) should be flattened and placed in the blue bag. Larger boxes (such as a TV box or other larger, thicker packaging) can be flattened and placed underneath the blue box for collection on collection day.
    • Flattened boxes should not exceed 100 centimetres in length or width. They should be cut prior to set out if they exceed the allowable dimensions.
  • No odorous items are accepted in the recyclable stream (such as diapers, food waste, food-soiled packaging, etc.), and all materials placed into a blue bag should be thoroughly rinsed first. Foul odours should not arise as a result from storing blue bags for two weeks.

4. Won’t this lower the City’s waste diversion rate?

  • Households can still place unlimited amounts of recyclables out for collection on collection day. For example, rather than placing one bag of recyclables out weekly, residents can place two bags out every other week. The same materials and the same quantities can still be recycled under this service level change.
  • If you are currently putting non-recyclable items in your blue bags on a regular basis, your blue bags may not get collected. Following the City’s sorting list may cause a reduction in your overall blue bag materials if you currently “wish-cycle” but this is a positive step towards ensuring all blue bag items are actually (and can actually) be recycled at the sorting and recovery facility.
  • View a comprehensive list of recyclable items

5. How can I get a hard copy of the updated collection schedule?

  • Updated collection schedules will be distributed in the local newspaper by the end of February.
  • Residents can contact the Waste Hotline at any time to request a hard copy of the schedule be mailed to them.
  • Collection schedules for the year can also be found anytime on the Fort Sask Waste app. You can also download your collection schedule here.

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