What goes in your blue box

Important Blue Box Reminders:

  • All recyclables must be placed loose in an approved City of Ottawa blue box to help with sorting at the recycling facility.
  • Plastic bags should not be used to package recyclables. Our automated sorting process cannot break open sealed bags. Plastic bags, wrap and film can also get caught in our equipment.
  • Clear/blue/biodegradable plastic bags are not accepted. These or any other clean plastic grocery bags should be reused or brought to Ottawa's Take it Back! partners.
  • Your blue box should not weigh more than 15 kg when full.
  • Have a specific item? Check the Waste Explorer.

Recyclable materials


  • Bottles and jars


  • Metal cans
  • Soft drink cans
  • Jar lids
  • Aluminum containers (clean or food soiled)
  • Aluminum foil (clean or food soiled)
  • 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)


  • All food and household plastics containers # 1 to 7
  • Take-out containers, bakery and produce containers (clam shells)
  • Pails (remove metal handle)
  • Planting trays
  • Flower pots
  • Single serve yogurt containers
  • Clear plastic egg cartons
  • Plastic bottles, jars and jugs
  • Tubs and tub lids (yogurt, sour cream, ice cream, hand cleaner, margarine containers)


  • Milk and juice cartons
  • Drink boxes
  • Soup boxes

Empty Alcohol Containers

Empty wine, beer and spirit containers greater than 100 ml purchased in Ontario must be returned, for refund at the Beer Store. Find your local return location at bagitback.ca.

Non-recyclable materials

Place these items in your regular garbage.


  • Ceramics such as dishes, cups and pottery
  • Other glass such as drinking glasses, window glass, light bulbs, and mirrors
  • CFL bulbs (compact fluorescent) can be returned to a Take it Back! partner.


  • Metal clothes hangers
  • Scrap metal
  • Chip bags


  • Styrofoam containers
  • Styrofoam packaging
  • All plastic bags
  • Hard plastics such as dishes, cups, toys, make-up jars, laundry baskets
  • Motor oil containers

Find out what happens to the stuff in your blue and black box.

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