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Toronto Teams Up with Jack Armstrong to Remind Residents to Recycle Right

The City of Toronto continues to see a significant amount of garbage and other non-recyclable materials in the Blue Bin recycling program. When residents put a Blue Bin out for collection that contains too many non-recyclable items, the materials cannot be sorted and can ruin other perfectly good recycling sending it to landfill. Contaminated recycling is currently costing the City millions annually.

To remind residents about the importance of recycling right, the City recently launched a series of videos featuring Jack Armstrong, the colour commentator for the Toronto Raptors, and his signature catch phrase, “Get that garbage outta here.” The videos feature items that are garbage and should never be put in recycling – a garden hose, slippers (textiles) and coffee cups.

The videos are available on the City’s YouTube channel (click for link).

For more information and to learn what goes where, visit

Green Bins in Toronto Parks

 The City started a Green Bin pilot program in 20 parks to test the collection of organic waste, including dog poop, in Dog Off-Leash Areas.

The goal of the pilot is to test the use of Green Bins in parks to divert organic waste from landfill and reduce the amount of contamination (items that do not belong) in park Blue Bins.

Dog owners and dog walkers should note that dog waste, including bags may be placed in the Green Bins. Plastic bags will be separated out of the organics stream at the processing facility. If there is no Green Bin in your park, please put dog waste in the Garbage Bin or bring it home to add to your organic waste.

When and How to Put Your Bins Out on Collection Day

Place bins/items at curbside before 7 a.m. ensuring they are as close to the street as possible, clearly visible and accessible. Ensure 0.5 metres (2 feet) between bins and leave space around all bins and items so the collection trucks’ automated arms can grab and lift bins. When put out for collection, waste bins should never be overflowing. Bin lids must be properly closed to prevent materials from blowing. The way you set your Green Bin out for collection is especially important. Make sure the dial is in the locked position and set the bin out with the arrows on the lid facing the street.

What to do with Excess Garbage, Recycling and Organics

Garbage beyond what fits in your bin with the lid closed is considered excess and requires a City of Toronto Garbage Tag, which can be purchased online and at Toronto Shoppers Drug Mart and Canadian Tire stores. A regular garbage bag should be used with the Garbage Tag attached and clearly visible. Excess garbage is different than oversized items, which would never fit in your Garbage Bin and are picked up on your scheduled garbage day. Excess recycling should be put in a large clear bag and placed 0.5 metres (2 feet) away for the Blue Bin. Extra cardboard should be cut into small pieces, flattened and bundled with string or twine. If you frequently have overflow recycling, please up-size your Recycling Bin. If you often have organics beyond what can fit in your Green Bin, please request an additional bin.

Recycle Even More! Starting June 1, 2015, Put Plastic Film in the Blue Bin

Toronto’s Blue Bin recycling program, one of North America’s largest residential curbside recycling programs, will soon become even bigger and better with the addition of new types of soft plastic. The timing is perfect. The City uses the services of a state-of-the-art recycling processing facility located here in Toronto that is able to process these types of plastic. Another key factor is a stable market for selling soft plastic film is now established.

New acceptable items include:

  • milk bags and outer bags;new recycling
  • select types of bread bags (non-foil);
  • sandwich bags (e.g. re-sealable type bags);
  • bulk food bags (used for fruit, vegetables, nuts);
  • dry cleaning bags;
  • newspaper/flyer bags;
  • fresh or frozen produce bags;
  • over-wrap from toilet paper, napkins, paper towels, feminine hygiene products, water/soft drink packaging, etc.

Please empty and rinse these plastic items to remove residue before placing in the Blue Bin.

This leaves only a few types of soft plastic material that cannot be recycled:

  • All biodegradable plastic film materials
  • Black plastic film
  • Laminated plastic film (e.g. stand-up re-sealable pouch bags)

For more details, visit and to confirm where items go, check the Waste Wizard

If you need more room for your recyclables, upsize your Blue Bin for free. Make a Service Request online at the City of Toronto website or phone 311.

When we each do our part to recycle as much as we can, we help increase our waste diversion rate and save valuable landfill space. We can also take pride in knowing that the extra plastic we are recycling will be made into other items such as plastic bags and plastic wood products. It’s a win-win all the way around.

New Items for Recycling

You can now recycle items such as:

  • Clamshell containers (hinged, clear plastic containers used for food items such as berries and take-out)
  • Clear fruit and vegetable containers
  • Clear take-out food containers
  • Moulded bakery item trays
  • Plastic plates and glasses
  • Egg cartons
  • Cold beverage cups/lids
  • Compact disk cases (empty)


For more details visit the City’s website.

Read about how local children from Jackman Public School helped make that happen.

Want to be a 3Rs Ambassador in Your Apartment or Condominium?

The City has a long-term goal to have one or a few 3Rs Ambassador Volunteers in each building. With approval from the building manager along with free resources and support from City staff, the 3Rs Ambassador Volunteer will do education and outreach campaigns.

The type of campaigns can vary to accommodate the building, as well as the volunteer. It can be as simple as putting up information posters in common areas or do bigger campaigns, such as organizing a clothing drive or a waste-free building event.

You can find out more here (ambassadors) and here (volunteers).

 Waste Wizard

While Waste Wizard focuses on solutions for residents receiving curbside collection, the basic sorting information is also applicable to those without curbside service, who should continue to follow their established building’s set out protocol.wastewizardbanner_medium

Remember, solutions may exist outside of City-run programs. Donation is one example. Should the item you need to dispose of be in suitable condition to donate for reuse, please consult the City’s online.

You can find the waste wizard online.


Check Out What Happens To Your Recycling

Ever wondered where the recycling you give the City goes and what happens to it? Here’s your chance to go behind the scenes at one of Toronto’s recycling facilities where all your items are sorted and prepared to go to market.

The money the City receives from selling recyclables helps pay for all your waste diversion programs and services. The City partnered with Rogers TV to film this recycling story aired in the first episode of the new Rogers show “City Insider”.


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Suite C45, Second Floor
Toronto, ON M5H 2N2
Phone: 416-392-4032
Fax: 416-392-4123