Blue recycling carts are collected each week on the same day as the green organics cart. Please follow the curbside collection guidelines when setting out your cart.
How to use the Blue Recycling Cart
The items you put in your blue cart matter, and it is also important how you put them in.
- Do not place recyclables in bags. They go into the blue cart loose.
- Flatten out all cardboard.
- Paper is accepted only if it is not food-soiled or otherwise unclean.
- Recyclables must be clean. If an item such as a peanut butter or honey jar cannot be rinsed out, it is better to put it in the brown trash cart.
- Remove all lids from glass bottle and jars and put in the brown trash cart. Plastic caps may remain on plastic bottles.
- Never use your blue cart as overflow for trash.
Blue carts are available in 96 gallon and 48 gallon sizes. To request a different size or report a lost or damaged cart, call 3-1-1 or 210-207-6000.
Items should be loose and never in bags.
- Cardboard (flattened)
- Dry goods packaging & drink boxes
- Newspaper & magazines
- Office paper & junk mail
- Kitchen & bath bottles & jugs
- Water & drink bottles (with caps on)
- Yogurt cups
- Aerosol cans (empty, no nozzles)
- Aluminum drink cans
- Metal food cans & lids
- Beverage bottles
- Food jars (lids removed)
- Aluminum foil
- Clothes hangers
- Clothing & shoes
- Garden hoses
- Hard plastic
- Household hazardous waste
- Napkins & paper towels
- Needles & medical waste
- Pizza & take-out boxes
- Shredded paper
- Styrofoam® packing
- Wood & brush/yard waste
Watch for Tricky Items
- Styrofoam® - All Styrofoam must go in the brown trash cart. This material breaks apart in the recycling machinery during the process.
- Diapers - Diapers, including adult diapers and pet pads, are trash. They must be picked out of the conveyor by hand which is dangerous and a health hazard. The City incurs a fee from the recycling facility for diapers.
- Certain Types of Paper - Anything that is foiled, glittered or varnished is not accepted.
- Tanglers - Examples of tanglers include hoses, cords, ropes, ribbons, string, and yarn. Tanglers are not accepted as they can get caught in gears at the recycling facility.
- Single-use plastic bags Starting August 1, 2024, plastic bags will not be accepted in the blue cart. Plastic bags have never been acceptable in the green cart.
- We recommend you shop with reusable bags
- If you must use disposable bags, return the used bags to the retail store where you got them
- Clean plastic bag bundles may still be placed in the blue cart until July 31st. Place loose bags into one bag, and use the handles to tie it securely. Loose bags have never been accepted.
Avoid a Violation Fee
Unaccepted items in a cart is called contamination. Customers will incur a fee when their cart is contaminated. Visit our Contamination page to see why it is a big problem.
Although an item may have a recycle symbol on it, it may not be accepted in our program. Recyclable items are limited by the contracted recycling company. If there is any doubt about whether an item can be recycled, put it in the brown trash cart.