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Blue Box Recycling

Curbside Blue Box Recycling

More than 200,000 units in Durham Region participate in the Region's curbside Blue Box recycling program. This includes single family homes or apartment buildings with less than six units (in Whitby and Oshawa 12 units and under), or small businesses receiving municipal garbage collection.

Please check your residential waste collection calendar for recycling collection dates in your area.

Materials Collected

Place these items in your blue box

The Region of Durham has a two-stream recycling program currently in place (containers and paper fibres) which must be separated with two recycling containers. Materials set-out at the curb for collection will be delivered to the Region's Material Recovery Facility (MRF) for processing.

Empty, rinse and place these "containers" loose in one Blue Box:

  • All plastic bottles with a twist-off top (lids left on), up to 20-litres in size.
  • Plastic tubs and lids (yogurt and ice cream type containers), up to 20-litres in size.
  • Metal food and beverage containers.
  • Glass bottles and jars (metal lids removed and placed in blue box separately).
  • Paper milk and juice cartons.
  • Empty aerosol cans with lids removed.
  • Empty paint cans with lids removed.
  • Clear plastic fruit and vegetable containers.
  • Clear molded bakery item trays.
  • Clear cold drink cups and lids.
  • Clear egg cartons.
  • Plastic takeout food containers.

Place these "papers" loose in a second Blue Box:

  • Junk mail and envelopes.
  • Catalogues, magazines, paperback books and phone books.
  • Newspapers, office paper and computer paper.
  • Shredded paper should be placed inside a smaller box, such as a cereal box.

Cardboard and Boxboard

  • Fold boxes flat, then tie and bundle the same size as your blue box. Place next to or on top of your blue boxes.

Not sure where it goes? Know before you throw.

Materials Not Collected

Do not place these items in your blue box
  • Oversized 20-litre jugs.
  • Styrofoam© or paper coffee cups.
  • Styrofoam© egg cartons go into the residual waste stream. Fiber cartons go in your green bin.
  • Plastic grocery bags.
  • Nursery plant pots and trays. (Check with your local nursery if they take back nursery plant pots and trays for reuse or recycling.)
  • Styrofoam© meat trays.
  • Ridged plastic clothes hangers, plastic plates and utensils.
  • Plastic watering cans and gas canisters.
  • Plastic children's toys.
  • Clothing and shoes.
  • Pots, pans, metal coat hangers and scrap metal.
  • Furnace air filters.

Note: Recyclable bottles and jars with food or liquid remaining cause sorting difficulties at the recycling facility. Please empty and rinse out these items before putting them in the blue box.

Bag it Back Program

The Ontario Deposit Return Program has one simple goal: to help protect the environment. While the Blue Box has been and continues to be an effective method of recovering recyclable material, the Ontario Deposit Return program boosts recovery rates to an even higher level. All you have to do is bring your empty eligible wine, beer and spirit containers to The Beer Store (or other designated Bulk Return Locations) to claim a full refund of your deposit. Visit for details.

Additional Blue Boxes

Residents are encouraged to use two or more blue boxes to separate their recyclable material: one for papers and newspapers and the second one for containers. Additional 16-gallon blue boxes are available for sale at a cost of $6 each from the following locations:

Replacement Blue Boxes

With proper care, your blue box should last for many years. If your blue box cracks or breaks from regular wear and tear, bring it to 4600 Garrard Rd. (Hours of Operation Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.) in Whitby, and you will receive another one.

Some municipal locations may offer exchanges for broken blue boxes. Please contact your municipal location for details.

Blue Box Recycling Tips

  • All blue box recyclables must be set out at the curb before 7 a.m. on your collection day.
  • Do not overload recycling boxes. Purchase additional boxes if needed, or use rigid open-top containers similar in size to a blue box. 
  • Flatten small cardboard boxes, and place securely in your blue box, or place large, flattened and tied cardboard bundles securely on top or between your blue box.
  • Fold all aluminium trays.
  • On windy days, put your recycling out for collection in the morning, rather than the night before.
  • Stack recycling boxes to prevent paper from blowing away.
  • During winter months, please set out blue boxes on cleared portions of your driveway and not on top of snow banks or icy patches.
  • Rinse all containers and ensure they are clean and free of grease, liquid or food.

Please use an approved size blue box 83 litres (22 gallons) or less. Large oversized containers (some with wheels) are frequently over the weight limit of 20 kilograms (44 pounds) and pose a health and safety risk to our contractors

Blue Box Collection Concerns

Residents with concerns regarding the Blue Box program should call the Region of Durham at 905-579-5264 or 1-800-667-5671.