You just finished your to-go coffee and you’re standing in front of a Blue Bin, Green Bin and Black Bin. Which vessel do you choose to deposit your empty cup? Does it even matter? Do the bins all end up in the same place? Of course it matters, and no they don’t all end up in the same place! Throwing your trash into the wrong bin causes damage to equipment, leads to workplace injuries at the recycling facility, ruins otherwise perfectly good recyclables, and worst of all, hurts the planet. The planet is our friend, folks. And by knowing where to toss our waste, we can do our part to protect our friend.
The following article will teach you how to get your bins in a row so you can bin and win. Is that enough puns to keeping you reading? Soon you’ll be saying “bin there, done that.” Last one, we promise!
Blue, Green or Black Bin? Here’s the Full Meaning
It happens – you’re all set to recycle and suddenly forget what goes where. Here’s everything you need to know to never forget again.
The Blue Bin
A.K.A The Recycling Bin
We’ll start with the brilliant Blue Bin because it is the most crucial. And it’s the bin where things usually go awry. You see, contaminated recycling is currently costing the City millions annually. One third of what is put in the Blue Bin doesn’t belong there! Be warned that the City is taking this matter seriously—they’re inspecting Blue Bins and tagging those who are recycling incorrectly. Thankfully, after reading this, you’ll be a disposal hero that keeps your bag free from the tag.
Rule 1: No food
Empty and rinse food containers before tossing them into your Blue Bin. When you don’t, the residue from items get soaked up by paper and can ruin large batches of perfectly fine recyclables.
Rule 2: No hot beverage cups
Most hot cups are lined with plastic, which makes them difficult to sort mechanically at the recycling facility. The colour in the paper also makes it difficult to turn cups into other paper-based products. Your disposable cups fair better in the garbage (Black Bin).
Rule 3: No VHS tapes, chains, hoses or electrical cords
These items get tangled, cause damage and make a huge mess. Donate them or toss them in the garbage!
Rule 4: No black plastic
Black plastic of any kind, such as take-out containers and black garbage bags aren’t accepted in the City’s recycling program. Always remember: never put black and blue together, whether you’re picking an outfit or or recycling.
Rule 5: No coffee pods
Unfortunately, many coffee pods cannot be recycled. In fact, the inventor of the coffee pod, John Sylvan, wishes he never created such a wasteful item. Check with your coffee pod dealer to see if your pods can be recycled through a postage program.
Rule 6: No clothing or textiles
One man’s trash is another man’s treasure. Old clothes, shoes, blankets, and curtains don’t belong in the Blue Bin. Rather, find a place for them in donation boxes around the city. But if the quality of your faded Modrobes from the early 90s are gnarly, feel free to put them in the garbage.
Blue Bin Recycling Tips
- Remove food, liquids or other contents and rinse clean before recycling
- Put items in loose and not bagged. Use a clear plastic bag only if necessary
- Put shredded paper in a clear plastic bag
- Separate plastic bags/over-wrap from newspapers, flyers, magazines, water/soft drink cases; recycle separately
Items Accepted in the Blue Bin
- Plastic bags (soft and stretchy)
- Plastic bottles, plates and cups
- Aluminum cans, pie plates, trays, and roasting pans (cleaned)
- Foam polystyrene meat trays (liners are garbage)
- Plastic food containers and cutlery (black and compostable plastic is garbage)
- Bottles and jars (lids on)
- Paper bags, newspaper, flyers, cardboard, and cartons
The Green Bin
A.K.A The Food and Organic Waste Bin
Food scraps like apple cores, eggshells or expired leftovers belong in your glorious Green Bin. So does anything compostable like animal waste, diapers, and coffee grinds. It sometimes helps to think about what sort of waste could help a garden grow. Be sure to line your green bin with a biodegradable plastic bag.
Items Accepted in the Green Bin
- Fruits, vegetables
- Meat, poultry and fish products (including bones)
- Pasta, bread, cereals and rice
- Dairy products, eggs, and shells
- Cake, cookies, candy, and nuts
- Animal waste, bedding, and cat litter
- House plants, including soil
- Coffee grounds/filters, tea bags
- Diapers, sanitary products
- Soiled paper such as food packaging, ice cream containers, popcorn, flour, and sugar bags
- Soiled tissues, napkins and paper towels (unless they have been used with chemicals/cleaning supplies)
The Black Bin
A.K.A The Garbage Bin
Think of the bold Black Bin as the black hole. A place for all the other ‘stuff.’ The Black Bin is a free-for-all for all the candy wrappers, drink pouches, broken mugs and black plastics to mingle. Toss out anything that really screams “trash,” including your ex.
Items Accepted in the Black Bin
- Liner bags (cereal, cookies, crackers)
- Black plastic food containers, cutlery and lids
- Hot drink cups (recycle non-black lids and sleeves)
- Cold drink cups and straws (recycle lids)
- Plastic bubble wrap
- Laminated plastic film (stand-up pouches, snack food bags)
- Dryer and disposable mop sheets, baby wipes, make-up pads, cotton tipped swabs, and dental floss
- Plastic or foil wrappers and aluminum foil
- Drink pouches and straws
- Popsicle sticks, toothpicks, wood chips, and pencil shavings
- Hair, pet hair, feathers, nail clippings, dryer lint, candles and wax, cigarette butts and ashes
- Gum packages and blister packs
- Light bulbs (not CFLs), dishes and drinking glasses
- Metallic gift wrap and bows
- Wooden fruit crates
- Broken mugs and dishes
- Hot drink cups
- Plastic food wrap (stretchy)
- Aluminum foil wrap
- Chopsticks, popsicle sticks and toothpicks
- Dryer sheets, baby wipes, make-up pads, dental floss, cotton tipped swabs, and cotton balls
- Hair, pet fur, feathers, wax, gum, cigarette butts, wine corks, vacuum bags/contents, fireplace and BBQ ashes
- Medical waste: cloth and plastic bandages, gauze, intravenous, catheter/colostomy bags and tubes
- Pieces of wood