New Recycling Changes FAQ

Recycling Changes FAQ

What is acceptable in the blue recycling bag?

Only blue bags with the correct items listed below will be collected. All items must be clean and free of food, liquids and dirt.

  • Paper, Magazines, newspaper, flyers and catalogues
  • Books with front and back covers removed
  • Cardboard, flattened (60 cm by 1 m or smaller)
  • Boxboard (e.g. cereal, cracker, cookies, tissue boxes)
  • Beverage containers eligible for deposit (no glass)
  • Rigid plastic containers (#1 & #2), tubs and bottles. No lids or caps. (e.g. detergent, condiment or shampoo bottles; margarine and large yogurt containers; ice cream pails)
  • Aluminum and tin food cans, pie plates and containers (clean and in original shape)
  • Office paper, envelopes, craft paper
  • Wrapping paper (no foil), greeting cards (decorations removed)

Refer to our detailed sorting list for more information.


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What is not acceptable in the blue recycling bag?

  • Plastic bags and wrap (e.g. grocery bag, food wrap, produce bags resealable bags)
  • Plastic clamshells (e.g. berries, salad, bakery items)
  • Small Single-serve plastic cups (e.g. yogurt, pudding)
  • Single use plastic items (e.g. cutlery, straws, coffee pods)
  • Plastic toys and other plastic household items
  • StyrofoamTM
  • Tetra paksTM without deposit (e.g. soups, broth, egg whites)
  • Small metal item (e.g. coat hanger, nails, broken household items)
  • Glass – including jars
  • To-go cups (e.g. coffee and drink cups, lids and straws)
  • Solo cups and iced cappuccino cups


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What can we do to reduce?

Before you recycle, try to reduce and reuse first. Here are some simple steps you can take to cut back on waste and your use of plastics:


  • Reduce your use of single-serve containers (e.g.: items such as plastic forks, straws and take-out containers)
  • Buy products with less packaging
  • Bring cloth bags with you when you shop for groceries
  • Plan out your meals


  • Take reusable lunch containers, coffee mugs and water bottles
  • Buy items second-hand
  • Fix what you can before replacing items
  • Donate items you no longer use to charity
  • Visit the Recycle Depot and participate in the Treasure Hunts prior to the Large Item Pick-Ups to take or leave something (ask attendant for details)


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Why are some materials being pulled from the blue recycling bag?

Processors are adapting to sudden global recycling changes. Certain materials cannot be collected or else we risk entire batches of good recycling material going to landfill because of contamination.


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How did these restrictions happen?

North America’s demand for convenient recycling programs has led to the mass marketing of low grade mixed paper and mixed plastics being sent overseas to be further processed and recycled. Convenience led to lower quality and contaminated materials.

In the past few years, international markets and China, in particular, have begun turning away entire barges of recyclables. Why? Contamination. Now, loads of paper and plastics are screened and many are being turned away.

In 2017, China essentially made a policy to demonstrate that they would no longer act as the world’s trash dump.


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Why is it important to continue to recycle?

The majority of recyclables still fall under the acceptable items category. It is important to place this material in your blue bag so that it can be recycled to prevent over-filling of our landfills and the use of unnecessary energy and resources to make new products.


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Now that you want me to place more materials in garbage, what if I don’t have enough space in my black cart?

USE YOUR GREEN CART: Did you know that 40% of what is still being thrown out in our black carts is organics? The bulk of this material is food waste (edible and inedible) and compostable paper products (e.g. napkins, tissues and paper towel). Try to maximize space in your black cart by ensuring everything that is organics or an acceptable blue bag item is placed in the right spot.

Donate materials and use the Devon Recycle Depot. Items like clothing and textiles can be placed in various bins across Devon.


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Plastic bags and film are no longer recyclable, yet you want us to continue to put everything in a blue bag? Wouldn’t it be better to use a blue cart?

Clear blue bags are see-through, so collectors can quickly scan the contents for contaminants and unacceptable materials.

Blue bags keep recycling contained, so it does not end up all over your street on windy days or if your recycling is accidentally dumped when being collected. They are easier for collectors to see and handle. They can easily spot the bags and easily toss them into the recycling truck versus the strain of dealing with a reusable container.

Clear blue bags allow for unlimited quantities of recycling to be placed out for collection. Blue carts limit the amount of recycling to the cart size, as well as requires additional storage of a third cart on the customers’ property.

Although the blue plastic bags have difficult markets right now, the benefit of using them for collection far outweighs not.


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Why do the caps and lids need to be removed from plastic containers, bottles and tubs?

Often caps and lids are not made with the same type of plastics as the container, bottle or tub. By leaving it on, it can cause the item to be unmarketable and contaminate the load.


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Will the Recycle Depot be changing what they accept?

YES. The acceptable item list applies to the Devon Recycle Depot as well.


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Is Devon working with other municipalities to coordinate changes?

Yes, Devon works closely with other municipalities as a member the Capital Region Waste Minimization Advisory Committee, the Recycling Council of Alberta, Alberta Urban Municipalities Association and Rural Municipalities of Alberta. The recycling industry challenges have been a topic of discussion amongst these organizations.

Many municipalities in Alberta are facing these same challenges and will be making changes to their programs.


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