Reduce and reuse plastic bags before disposing of them in the garbage

Plastic bags are not accepted in the City’s Blue Box Recycling Program and with the Christmas shopping season upon us the City reminds residents that plastic bags, even biodegradable plastic bags, should be reused or brought back to Ottawa’s Take it Back! partners.

The City expanded the Blue Box Recycling Program in June of this year to include all household plastic containers. Plastic bags are not accepted in the City’s Green Bin Program for organic waste and are also not accepted in the Blue Box as they contaminate other recyclable material. While new technologies have been developed to facilitate the recycling of additional plastic containers, there are limited and/or inconsistent markets for plastic bags. However, many retail outlets in Ottawa are part of our Take it Back! Program and we recommend residents return their plastic bags to these retailers.

Information about acceptable items for the expanded Blue Box Recycling Program and about all of the City’s waste management, recycling programs and Take it Back! retailers can be found at The City’s website also features a searchable database, the Waste Explorer, where residents can enter the name of an item to find out how to properly recycle or dispose of it.

New additions to the Blue Box

- All food and household plastics containers #1 to #7, including takeout containers, bakery and produce containers (clam shells)
- Plastic pails (remove metal handle)
- Plastic planting trays
- Plastic flower pots
- Single-serve yogurt containers
- Clear plastic egg cartons

Acceptable Blue Box Items

- Glass (bottles and jars), Cartons (milk and juice), Tetra Pak (drink, soup and milk boxes) and Plastic (bottles, jars and jugs / tubs and tub lids (yogurt, sour cream, hand cleaner, margarine containers).
- Metal (soft drink cans / aluminum containers / aluminum foil, empty paint cans with lids removed / aerosol cans (empty hairspray, paint, whipping cream), spiral-wound canisters with metal ends (frozen concentrate cans, potato chip tube).

Residents may also call 3-1-1 (TTY: 613-580-2401) for more information.