Recycling

Blue boxes and recycling are picked up every week. Your recycling must be placed at the curb in front of your property between 7 pm on the evening before and 7 am on the morning of your scheduled pick up day.

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Waste Tip: Why sorting your recycling is important

Waste Tips: Recycling paper and cardboard

Waste Tips: Recycling Bottles, Cans, cartons & Jars

Two Stream Recycling

You can put out as many blue boxes as you need, but since Hamilton has a two stream recycling system you will need at least 2 blue recycling boxes for proper sorting. Put all your bottles, cans, cartons and jars into one blue box and put all your paper and cardboard into a different blue box. Throw the items loosely into the blue box and don't bag it!

Learn more about what can be recycled

To avoid getting an Oops! sticker

  • Flatten your cardboard and tie it in bundles no bigger than 76 cm x 76 cm x 20 cm (or 30 in x 30 in x 8 in).
  • Make sure each blue box doesn't weigh more than 13 kg (or 30 lbs).
  • Put all your paper and cardboard into one blue box, and put all your bottles, cans, cartons and jars into a different blue box.

Yellow oops sticker This is Too Heavy - Does your blue box weigh more than 13 kg or 30 lbs? Something isn't quite right - Did you put your papers and containers in the same box?

Paper that has food on it doesn't go in your blue box – it goes in your green bin:

  • Brown paper bags
  • Facial tissues
  • Paper coffee cups and cups
  • Paper towels
  • Waxed paper
  • Waxed paper coffee cups and cups

These go in your garbage:

  • Carbon paper
  • Construction paper (with tape, glue or staples)
  • Diapers
  • Hard covers from books (The pages go in your papers blue box.)

You will get an Oops! sticker if you put any of these things in your blue box with your bottles, cans, cartons and jars:

  • Batteries
  • Broken glass
  • Bubble wrap
  • Candy wrappers
  • CDs (compact discs)
  • Cereal box bags
  • Chip bags
  • Cling wrap
  • Cracker box bags
  • Drink pouches
  • Glass drinking cups
  • Light bulbs
  • Mirrors
  • Motor oil bottles
  • Needles
  • Pails
  • Syringes
  • Toys
  • Windows

Some containers that contained hazardous waste liquids and oils are not recyclable. Empty containers from motor oil, anti-freeze fluid and transmission fluid go in your garbage.

Recycling tips

Ensure that you separate your recycling accordingly. Hamilton has a two stream recycling system; this means that papers and cardboard go into one blue box and containers go into a separate blue box. 

Paper and cardboard


  • Flatten your cardboard and tie it in bundles no bigger than 76 cm x 76 cm x 20 cm (or 30 in x 30 in x 8 in).
  • Stack a heavier blue box on top of a lighter blue box so your recycling doesn't blow away.
  • Stand paper and cardboard up-and-down instead of laying them flat so they don't blow away.
  • Paper and cardboard will only be picked up if they are in a blue recycling box from the City of Hamilton, a plastic container that is the same size and shape as a blue box from the City of Hamilton or a clear plastic bag that is tied at the top.

Paper products that don't go in the paper and cardboard stream:

  • Paper coffee cups, paper plates and paper towels go in your green bin, not in your blue box.
  • If the paper product is difficult to rip, or if there is visible plastic or metallic lining, it is garbage.
  • Milk and juice cartons and juice boxes go in your blue box with glass, plastic, cans, cartons and containers.

Glass, Plastic, Cans, Cartons and Containers


  • All of your bottles, cans, cartons and jars must be empty before you put them in your blue box.
  • Give your bottles, cans, cartons and jars a quick rinse before you put them in your blue box.
  • Throw all your metal lids into your blue box.
  • Plastic bags and plastic product outer wraps (must be bagged together and double tied)
  • Make sure each blue box does not weigh more than 13 kg (or 30 lbs).
  • Bottles, cans, cartons and jars will only be picked up if they are in:
    • a blue recycling box from the City of Hamilton,
    • a plastic container that is the same size and shape as a blue box from The City, or
    • a clear plastic bag that is tied at the top.


If you see a bright orange “oops! sticker” on your blue box after the recycling truck has come by, it means there are items in your blue box that don’t belong. 

Plastic Bags​

  • Bag all of your stretchy plastic bags and plastic product outer wrap together, double tie the bag, and put it in your containers blue box.
  • Plastic bags and product wrap – like bread, grocery, milk and produce bags, and product wrap used on paper towels, diapers, bathroom tissue and water bottles are recyclable.
  • You may also be able to return clean, dry, empty plastic bags and product wrap to a retail store, or bring them to a Community Recycling Centre.

Bulky, rigid, hard plastic items

The City of Hamilton will take bulky, rigid, hard plastic items that are not accepted in the blue box free of charge. Please bring them to a Community Recycling Centre.

Learn about the recycling process at our recycling facility