Frequently Asked Recycling Questions
When was the Capital Region’s recycling program established?
The region’s original Blue Box program was established in March 1989. At that time, only glass bottles, tin and aluminum cans and newspapers were collected. The program initially serviced only Oak Bay, Saanich, Victoria and Esquimalt.
Who is eligible to participate now?
The program is available to Capital Region residents living in single family dwellings of up to four units – a total of 113,000 homes. The program does not provide curbside service to:
- the Southern Gulf Islands and Salt Spring Island, which continue to be serviced by depots operated by the local recycling society under contract to the CRD
- Port Renfrew, which operates a transfer station for garbage and recyclables
Who collects the materials for recycling?
All materials are collected by International Paper Industries Ltd. using 16 trucks. The CRD pays International Paper Industries on a per-household basis.
Who processes the collected materials?
All materials are processed by Metro Waste Paper Recovery Inc. through its new state-of-the-art Victoria facility. Payment is on a per-tonne basis.
How is the program funded?
All solid waste diversion programs are funded through tipping fee revenues from Hartland landfill and from the sale of recyclable materials. No funding is drawn from the municipal tax system.
Why do I need to use a CRD Blue Box or Blue Bag?
A CRD Blue Box (for containers) or a CRD Blue Bag (for paper) must be placed in a visible location at the curb to clearly identify the materials as recyclables for collection. The CRD standard size promotes efficient, safe lifting and limits items that are too heavy and too large. This makes a difference to the recycling truck driver, who carries and empties over 2,000 boxes and bags every collection day.
Where can I get replacement CRD Blue Boxes & Blue Bags?
Blue Bags can be purchased at retailers throughout the region for 50 cents each. Blue boxes are available at the same locations for $4 each.
We recommend that you write your address with a waterproof pen on your Blue Boxes and bags so they can be returned to you if they blow away during inclement weather.
Do CRD Blue Boxes & Blue Bags contain recycled materials?
All boxes and bags contain a minimum 20% post-consumer recycled content or more.
What happens if my recyclables are not picked up on my designated day?
If your recycling is still out by 4pm on your collection day, leave your materials at the curb and call International Paper Industries Ltd. (IPI) at 250.385.4399 by 11am the following day to ensure your recyclables are picked-up.
Is the same schedule in effect on holidays?
Yes. Collection days are unaffected by holidays (except for Christmas Day and New Year’s Day). Please refer to your schedule or our on-line schedule information for holiday changes.
Who can I contact if I have any additional recycling questions?
Please contact the CRD Hotline
What materials are accepted in the CRD’s Blue Box Program?
The program accepts a variety of materials. Please separate them as follows:
- Effective May 1, 2012 - Polycoated containers (milk and milk substitute cartons, drink/soup/juice boxes, gable top containers)
- Rigid plastic packaging from consumer goods (e.g. electronics, tools), food (e.g. salads, baked goods), empty CD/DVD/VHS protective cases
- Rigid plastic containers, including milk jugs, yogurt and margarine containers, shampoo/liquid soap bottles, cleaning product containers, pill/vitamin bottles, clean plant pots
- Plastic and metal lids (including coffee and beverage lids)
- Glass bottles and jars
- Aluminum and tin cans
- Foil and foil plates (no food residue)
- No plastic bags or Styrofoam
- Newspapers and inserts
- Mixed paper products, including stationery, computer paper, file folders, envelopes, newsletters, flyers, magazines, catalogues, cereal boxes, detergent boxes, paper towel rolls, toilet paper rolls, greeting cards, paper egg cartons, paper sleeves, gift wrap
- No drink or milk cartons in the bag - place in your blue box starting May 1, 2012
- Bundle together with string and place next to your blue box on pick-up day
What materials are not accepted in the Blue Box Program?
- plastic bags and wrap
- coffee and beverage cups that are not exclusively paper or plastic
- polystyrene (Styrofoam)
- materials contaminated with food waste (grease spots on pizza boxes are acceptable)
- containers which have held hazardous materials, like solvent or motor oil
- window glass
- light bulbs
- drinking glasses, dishes or ceramics
- plastic ribbons and bows, foil gift wrap
Where can I recycle plastic bags?
Plastic bags are not accepted in the Blue Box Program. Many grocery and retail stores will accept plastic bags for recycling. Better yet, purchase cloth bags to reuse each time you shop.
Where can I recycle styrofoam?
Styrofoam is not accepted in the Blue Box Program. Please check the CRD on-line recycling directory for local recycling options.
Where can I recycle juice boxes?
Effective May 1 2012, juice boxes will be accepted in the Blue Box Program. They are subject to the BC Recycling Regulation and are therefore part of the industry beverage container stewardship program which uses a deposit/refund system to collect and fund the recycling of beverage containers. You can also return your juice boxes to your retailer or a bottle depot for a refund and recycling.
Where can I recycle milk cartons?
Effective May 1 2012, milk and milk substitute paper cartons will be accepted in the Blue Box Program. Unlike juice boxes they are not subject to the BC Recycling Regulation. However, the BC Dairy Council launched a voluntary used milk container recycling program in the fall of 2006. You can also return all used milk and milk substitute containers to selected local depots. Since no deposit is paid on these containers, no payment will be made for returned milk containers.
Please check the CRD on-line recycling directory for local recycling options of milk and milk substitute containers.
What is rigid plastic packaging?
Rigid plastic packaging has become a very commonly used material. It encases many everyday products – from foods like take-out sushi and grocery store muffins, to consumer goods like tools and electronics. Rigid plastic takes a number of forms, from the material found wrapped around toys and other new items, to that used to make video cassette and CD jewel cases.
Some common examples include:
- consumer goods packaging for electronics, tools and household items
- food packaging, including deli trays and take-out containers for salads, sandwiches, sushi and baked goods
- CD and DVD jewel cases
- VHS and audio cassette exterior cases
Rigid plastic packaging can be recycled in the Blue Box Program.
Why do containers need to be clean?
There are several reasons we need to ensure that containers are clean when placed at the curb, such as:
- health risks to drivers and processing plant staff from pathogens and moulds that can become airborne
- safety risks if a container has bleach residue or other potentially dangerous substances in it
- dirty containers smell and may attract animals, rodents and insects (including wasps and bees)
- contaminated items that can not be recycled may end up being sent to landfill
- dirt and debris can damage recycling equipment and other manufacturing equipment
How should pizza boxes be prepared for recycling?
To prepare pizza boxes for recycling, empty them of all food scraps, liners and inserts. Tear off the lids or turn the boxes inside out. Then recycle them with your cardboard.
How should rigid plastic packaging be prepared for recycling?
To prepare rigid plastic packaging, remove all non-plastic attachments. Then add the plastic to your Blue Box. Place lightweight rigid plastics under heavier items to prevent them from blowing away.
How should my materials be organized for collection?
The Blue Bag is meant for clean newspapers, inserts and mixed paper. Place all paper loosely in the bag.
The Blue Box is meant for clean metal, glass and plastic containers, as well as lids and rigid plastic packaging. Remove labels from cans. Labels may be left on glass bottles and jars. Remove all lids and place them loosely in your Blue Box with your other containers. Flatten plastic and metal containers whenever possible. Place lighter items in the bottom of the box so they won’t blow away. Do not include any container larger than 10 litre size.
Cardboard should be flattened. Then bundle it, together with your pizza boxes, with twine or string (no tape or wire, please), and place it next to your Blue Box. Bundles should be no larger than 90 cm x 45 cm x 20 cm (36” x 18” x 8”). Cut or fold oversized pieces down to size and tie large quantities of cardboard into several separate bundles.
How can I prepare sensitive papers for recycling?
Simply remove any personal information from magazines and shred sensitive paperwork. Place shredded paper into a closed paper bag or a non-corrugated box (e.g., a cereal box), then put it inside your Blue Bag. Check out our website for more about scavenging and identity theft.
What should I do if I notice or suspect scavenging?
Immediately call the CRD Hotline at 360-3030 if you observe scavenging or suspect it has taken place. Do not engage with the scavenger. All reports will be investigated. Check out our website for more about scavenging and identity theft.
What do I need to do on my collection day?
Just ensure that your recyclables are at the curb by 7:30am on your collection day. Please note that the collection time may vary.
What if I have more materials than will fit in my Blue Box or Blue Bag?
Place excess Blue Box materials in a second Blue Box or in a container of similar size. For excess newspaper and mixed paper, use another Blue Bag. There is no limit to the amount of material you may place at the curb.
Can apartment tote bags be used in the curbside program?
If you've moved from an apartment and have an apartment tote bag please return it to the apartment management. Apartment tote bags are not accepted in the curbside program.
Will recycling these additional materials really make a difference?
Yes, you are making a difference. Since the beginning of the Blue Box recycling program, over 200,000 tonnes of material have been collected and processed through the CRD’s Blue Box Curbside Recycling program!
What happens to the recyclable materials?
It’s amazing what can be made with used materials. Corrugated cardboard reappears as cereal boxes. Mixed paper is made into new boxboard products. Plastic can be recycled into shampoo bottles or plastic lumber.