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 - We recommend:
- Do not use them at all. Shop with reusable bags.
- Take them back to the retail store where you got them.
- Never put them loose in the blue recycling cart.
- It is better to place them in the brown trash cart.
- They are accepted but only if several are bundled together into a ball. That bundle then goes into one single bag which should be tied, and the single bundle can go into the blue cart.
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.