Recycle Blue Bin

What Goes in Recycle Blue Bin: All You Need to Know

You might think that recycling is a new concept due to the greater public’s recent awareness and media coverage across the world. However, recycling has been around for years.

The blue recycling bin system was first introduced as a way of collecting and sorting household waste in a more efficient way. Since then, the system has been modified and adopted across the globe, and it remains active to this very day.

Today, blue recycle bins accept paper, most glass containers, plastic packaging, steel cans, and aluminum cans.

History of Recycling 

Recycling is a very important part of our lives, but do any of us actually know the history of recycling? The concept of reusing certain materials has been around for many years. The first evidence of recycling was recorded in 1031 A.D. when the Japanese shredded their old records and documents and made them into new sheets of paper!

Our current idea of waste is a lot different than the one they had before the industrial revolution.

At that time, waste not only included food waste, textiles, ash, wood, and organics. Furniture, pottery, broken tools, and fabrics were also repurposed and repaired as many times as it was possible. Items always had an alternate use for them.

For instance, pottery that was broken could’ve been remade into new pottery in a similar way, like a mosaic, and clothing that was tattered could be remade into rags. Nowadays, our consumer society has resulted in us thinking that if something is broken it’s garbage and we should throw it away.

Non-compostable waste was either brought to a dumpsite where it was thrown away, covered in soil once the dump was full, thrown onto the street where it was left to pile up, or it was burned. However, in the Middle Ages, it was proven that throwing trash in the streets didn’t work anymore and that it was a hazard. Rats were attracted to the trash that was thrown in the streets, which helped spread the bubonic plague that ended up killing millions of people!

It was King Edward III who hired people to remove trash from the streets every week, and later bring it to the Thames River in order to get rid of it. However, a few years later, the disposal of waste in public ditches and waterways was outlawed in Britain. During this period, the disposal of waste was more about lowering the risks that it posed on public health than it was about being sustainable.

One of the first Material Recovery Facilities opened up in New York City in 1897, where materials that were valuable were taken from the trash and brought to these facilities for the public to reuse them.

In the middle of the 20th century, the view on recycling began to change from saving money to maximizing the lifetime of material and reducing waste. The first recycling program was mandated by the city of Kitchener-Waterloo in 1983, and then in 1986, Mississauga decided to follow their lead.

What Goes in Recycle Blue Bin

What Is Allowed in the Blue Recycling Bin

What is accepted in the blue recycle bin usually differs from city to city. In order to help you, we’ve laid out what materials are generally accepted in the blue recycle bin in different cities.

Usually, it is only accepted when items are placed directly in the blue recycling bin. In other words, don’t use a separate bag for your recycling. Typically, it is advised to do the following:

  • Empty bottles of any liquid
  • Put loose metal lids inside the tin
  • Food cans should be rinsed
  • Ensure cardboard and paper are clean and not dirty or stained with dirt, paint, grease, and food
  • Put the caps and lids back on plastic bottles, glass bottles, and jars
  • Put egg boxes, greetings cards without glitter (make sure that you remove any batteries and badges), cardboard envelopes and online delivery boxes (remove packing tape, polystyrene, and plastic inserts), corrugated cardboard, cardboard boxes, such as dishwasher tablet boxes and cereal boxes
  • When it comes to metal, you can pop tin lids inside the tin, including tops and lids, food tins, and drinks cans. Rinse and empty the items, since leftover liquids and foods can contaminate other recyclables
  • For glass, you can recycle non-food bottles such as face creams, aftershave and perfume, jars such as baby food, jam, and sauces, and bottles of any color such as spirits, beer, and wine. Don’t forget to keep the tops and lids on
  • When it comes to plastic bottles, you can recycle soap and detergent bottles (make sure you remove the pump from the bottle), skincare product bottles, cleaning product bottles such as bleach and bathroom cleaners, non-fizzy and fizzy drinks and water bottles, pesticides, and plant food bottles, and milk bottles. During the recycling process, the labels will be removed, so you can keep them on while recycling the items. Don’t squash the bottles and empty and rinse the items before you throw them out. The sorting equipment won’t recognize squashed bottles as buttles, while residue and liquids can contaminate other materials which might mean they won’t get recycled.

When it comes to the blue recycle bin, you usually aren’t allowed to put the following:

  • Shredded paper, decoration and wallpaper paper, non-paper gift wrap such as shiny or foil-based gift wrapping, sticky papers such as paper tape, sticky labels, and post-it notes, make up pads and cotton wool, tissues, used paper towels, sanitary or hygiene products such as sanitary towels, wipes, or nappies, the paper that is dirty or stained with paint, foodstuffs, dirt, or grease. During the recycling process, paper with grease cannot be recycled because the fibers can’t be separated from the oils
  • General kitchenware such as pans, post, and cutlery, metal containers for chemicals like paints and white spirits, candy wrappers, laminated foil-like coffee pouches, and pet food aluminum tubes such as tomato puree, aluminum foil trays like take-away trays, aluminum for covering or baking food, aerosols, and chocolate or biscuit tins and their lids. You should also avoid light bulbs or tubes, glass cookware, vases, ceramics, drinking glasses, mirrors, microwave plates, and nail varnish bottles
  • Paint pots, plastic bottles containing chemicals, toothpaste tubes, plastic toys, film lids from trays, tubs, or pots, expanded polystyrene, medicine packs, black plastic, plastic wrapping film or carrier bags, and brown plant pots

Also, it’s a good idea to check the disposal instructions for bottles that contain chemicals and are poisonous, such as antifreeze. This is because they can damage recycling equipment and can be hazardous to the recycling staff.

Benefits of Recycling

Apart from reducing the amount of trash we throw out, what are the benefits of recycling?

Blue Bin

Protect Wildlife and Ecosystems

Recycling reduces the need to harvest, grow, and extract new raw materials from the Earth. That results in less damage and disruption done to the natural world. There are fewer wild animals displaced or harmed, rivers diverted, forests cut down, and less pollution of air, soil, and water.

When waste isn’t properly recycled, it can be washed or blown into seas and rivers and even end up thousands and thousands of miles away. This can cause pollution in the waterways and coastlines and become a problem for many populations around the globe.

Global Warming

Of course, everyone is aware of the burning issue in our world known as global warming. One of the factors contributing to global warming and climate change is the continuous greenhouse gas emissions. Global warming can be minimized with recycling.

The improper disposal of waste emits different gases such as sulfur, nitrogen, and carbon dioxide, which all contribute to global warming. With recycling, there’s less emission of greenhouse gasses since the process of recycling involves minimal disposal of waste, and most chemicals are reused.

Conserve Natural Resources

Used rubber tires, junk mail, old bottles, and scrap cards are becoming common features of our landfills. Even though landfills might seem like they are endless, the resources that are required to make them are in fact quickly finishing off.

On the other hand, resources don’t have to be exploited with recycling, since recycling allows all of these items to be used over and over again. Recycling conserves natural resources such as timber, oil, gas, coil, minerals, and water.

Opportunities for Employment

Recycling is a huge industry. After your trash is sorted out and deposited for recycling, it has to be shipped to the right places and sorted out again.

This is done by the help of thousands of newly employed workers. Of course, one of the biggest benefits of recycling is that it provides stable jobs for people from the community. There are six to seven jobs created by throwing trash away, while recycling creates about thirty jobs.

Save Money

Some unexpected benefits of recycling are the effects that it has on the economy. An economy that’s efficient is an economy that’s strong.

Recycling definitely benefits the economy since the country doesn’t have to purchase fossil fuels from other countries, mine iron ore, or plant more forests. Not to mention, the economy gets a boost whenever the number of jobs increases.  

Bring People Together

One of the most overlooked benefits of recycling is the fact that it brings people and communities together. Whether you’re collecting waste materials to raise money for school or you’re picking up trash from the road, recycling can truly make a community grow stronger and create connections between the people in the community. 

The collective efforts of the people that recycle make towns happier and cleaner, and the sense of accomplishment they get is amazing.


An important part of any community is recycling. Even though it’s a common practice to use different colored bins to differentiate between glass, cardboard, metals, and plastic, not all communities do so. Besides being organized by color, bins should also include labels that indicate the type of materials that can be put into the bin.

The symbol for recycling is a common symbol that can be seen on trash cans, dump trucks and garbage bags. We all know that recycling is a simple way in which every person can make a contribution to making a better world for the many generations that come after us.

When it comes to what goes in a recycle blue bin, make sure that you check the symbol on the bin to confirm the use that your blue bin is intended for, or you can consult with your local waste management organization if you have any further questions.

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