Curbside Recycling - Frequently Asked Questions

Phasing Out Single Use Recycling Bags FAQs

Q. Why are single use recycling bags (blue bags/clear bags) being phased out?

The provincial recycling program, Recycle BC, requires single use bags to be phased out because reusable containers are more environmentally friendly (create less waste) and single use bags negatively impact the recycling process by getting tangled in the sorting equipment.

*Note: single use bags refers to blue bags and clear bags used to contain recycling when placed at the curb. It does not refer to grocery/shopping bags, which will continue to be accepted for recycling at local Recycling/Bottle Depots.

Q. Will the City be providing recycling containers?

Yes, the City delivered one 120L recycling container at no additional cost to residents on Chilliwack's Curbside Collection Program between July 23 and August 3, 2018. This container was provided as a one time courtesy to assist with the phase out of blue bags. Moving forward, residents will need to provide their own recycling containers, which meet the requirements listed in the response to the question below.

New homes starting on the curbside program will receive a recycling container along with a Green Cart.  Residents may also request a replacement if their recycling container is damaged during collection.

Q. What if I don’t like the style of container selected?

Residents are able to use a different container if there is another style or size that they prefer. All containers must have a tight-fitting lid and two handles for lifting, with a maximum volume of 120L (32 gal.). The lid must be removable and not hinged or permanently attached to the container since the container will be emptied manually by the collection crew. Other containers require "We Recycle" stickers (free at City Hall).

Q. When will the containers be provided and single use bags phased out?

Containers have already been delivered to residents between July 23 and August 3. Single use bags were phased out at the end of August 2018, and enforcement began in September. 

Q. What if I have more recycling on occasion that won’t fit in the container provided? I do not have space to store additional containers.

If, on occasion, you have more recycling than can fit in your recycling container, you will be able to place the extra material in any other container as long as it has a removable (not hinged) tight-fitting lid, is clearly labeled as recycling and is not more than 120L in volume. Other containers require "We Recycle" stickers (free at City Hall). Alternatively, extra recyclables can be taken to one of the municipal Recycling Depots or Bottle Depots.

Tip: Some recyclables can be bulky and take up a lot of space. If you flatten boxes, milk jugs, cartons, etc. prior to placing them in the container you'll be able to fit a lot more material inside. 

Q. What happens if my container is damaged during collection?

If there is reason to believe that the container was damaged during collection, the container may be replaced at no cost to you.

Q. Who is responsible for cleaning litter created by curbside materials?

If litter is created by the container tipping over, wildlife or wind prior to collection, it is the resident’s responsibility to ensure that the material is cleaned up. If litter is created during collection, it is the collection contractor’s responsibility to clean up the spill.

Q. How can I prepare shredded paper for recycling?

Shredded paper will still be accepted in a clear plastic bag in the recycling container. The volume of plastic bags with shredded paper is so minimal that the crews will be able to separate them at the recycling facility.

Q. Will flattened cardboard still be collected even if it is not in a container?

Yes, flattened cardboard in stacks or bundles will still be collected when placed at the curb.

Curbside Glass Recycling FAQ

Q. When will curbside glass collection start?

Curbside glass collection is estimated to begin in the spring or summer of 2019. Details about curbside glass collection will be confirmed and provided to residents well in advance of the program start. Curbside glass collection will form part of the existing curbside collection service and will be provided to all residents on the program.

Q. How frequently will glass be collected at the curb?

Glass will be collected bi-weekly on the same day as your garbage pickup in order to reduce collection costs. Emterra Environmental, the same contractor that picks up garbage, recycling and compostables, will perform the service.

Q. Will a container be provided by the City or will I need to use my own? 

The City will provide a container for glass collection, which must be used for the curbside glass collection service. The exact size, style, and colour of the bin will be determined through a procurement process. Most curbside glass bins in other communities are 25-30L in size, unlidded, box style, and are grey or black.

Q. How much will curbside glass collection cost?

Curbside glass collection will cost approximately an additional $24.00 a year ($2.00 a month) for households with one account. This cost will be included in the billing for curbside service on residents’ utility bills.

Q. What can I put in the glass bin?

As with the current curbside recycling system, curbside glass collection will fall under the provincial recycling program administered by Recycle BC. Only glass packaging – bottles and jars – will be accepted in the glass bin (e.g. Pasta sauce/pickle jars). Dishware, aquariums, window panes, vases and other similar glass products are not part of the Recycle BC program and cannot be placed into the glass bin. These items can be donated for re-use, or put into the garbage if they are damaged.

Q. Will lightbulbs be accepted in the glass bin?

No. Lightbulbs are part of the LightRecycle program and must be taken to a depot for recycling (i.e. either of the bottle depots in Chilliwack). To find recycling depot locations near you, use our Waste Wizard tool or download the Chilliwack Curbside Collection App on your smart phone.

Q. Why did our curbside recycling program change in 2017?

Chilliwack joined the new provincial stewardship program for packaging and printed paper on March 1, 2017. This brought some changes to our curbside recycling program.

The stewardship program helps shift the responsibility for recycling packaging and printed paper to the businesses that produce those materials. The program is administered by RecycleBC (formerly Multi-Material BC), who collects funds from the producers and offers financial incentives for curbside collection programs. Joining the program has helped keep Chilliwack's curbside fees low.

Q. What are the main differences with the new program?

Most items that were already accepted in our recycling program before March 1st, 2017, continue to be collected under the new program.

As of March 1st, 2017, you are able to recycle these new items at curbside:

  • Aerosol and spray cans for materials such as air freshener, hair spray, and food (eg. cooking spray)
  • Cardboard and metal wound containers for chips, frozen juice and nut containers
  • Dairy cartons
  • Frozen dessert containers
  • Un-numbered rigid plastic packaging (eg. for batteries, toothbrushes)

The following materials are not allowed mixed in with your curbside recycling:

  • Plastic bags for groceries, bread and produce etc.
  • Plastic overwrap from furniture, outer bags and wrap for diapers, feminine hygiene products, paper towels, tissues and soft drink can flats etc.
  • Glass jars and bottles
  • Styrofoam containers and packaging (styrofoam was also not accepted in curbside recycling prior to March 1st, 2017)

These materials can be recycled free of charge at recycling depots.

Q. Why can't I recycle glass, plastic bags or styrofoam with my other curbside recyclables?

Recycle BC requires these materials to be separated from the other curbside recyclables to increase processing efficiency because they can break easily, get tangled in machinery, and are more difficult to sort. RecycleBC wants glass kept separate because of safety risks posed to collectors and processing plant workers, and because it ensures a higher quality product, which allows it to be recycled to the highest possible use. Styrofoam was not accepted in curbside recycling prior to March 1st, 2017, so it is not a new requirement.

The City may incur financial penalties through RecycleBC if these materials are found to be mixed in with curbside recyclables.

Plastic bags, glass jars/containers, and styrofoam can be dropped off at recycling depots free of charge.

Q. What are all of the recyclables accepted?

A complete list of recyclables accepted under the new program can be found here.

Q. Why was my recycling not collected?

Look for an information tag on your container/bags. The City has instructed our curbside collection contractor to place an information tag if curbside recyclables contain non-compliant materials.   

Some common items that may cause your material to be left uncollected include

  • Styrofoam containers and packaging
  • Plastic bags for groceries, bread and produce etc.
  • Plastic overwrap from furniture, outer bags and wrap for diapers, feminine hygiene products, paper towels, tissues and soft drink can flats etc.
  • Glass jars and bottles
  • Other garbage or contamination

If you did not receive an information tag and your material was uncollected, please contact the Emterra Environmental office at 604.795.7795 for assistance.

Q. Can I still use plastic grocery bags to line my kitchen/bathroom garbage containers?

Yes, residents can still use grocery bags for some bathroom and kitchen waste (the non-compostable portion).  Compostable waste (food waste, food-soiled paper, facial tissue and yard waste) destined for the green cart cannot be placed in plastic bags.  For more information about the compostable waste program click here.   

Please bring extra grocery bags that are not of use to one of the four depots for recycling; many grocery stores also accept grocery bags for recycling.  In addition to grocery bags, the depots accept items like bread bags and overwrap from furniture, outer bags and wrap for diapers, feminine hygiene products, paper towels, tissues and soft drink can flats for recycling.   

Q. What type of container do I use for recycling?

Recyclables must be placed at the curb as follows:

  • In a container no larger than 120L in size with a detachable tight fitting lid.

The City provides free “We Recycle” decals, which should be placed on the container you will use for recycling. 

Q. Do I need to remove the labels from tin cans before I recycle them? What about flattening the cans?

There is no need to remove any labels from your recyclable cans. If you want to remove them, they can be placed in the same container to be recycled as paper fibre. Cans do not need to be crushed or flattened, just give them a quick rinse and toss them in.

Q. I don't want to waste water washing the containers, how clean do they need to be?

There is no need to thoroughly wash containers, but they have to be relatively free of food or other waste materials.  This is not a new requirement; the same applied to our previous recycling program.

Recycle BC recommends emptying the containers and giving them a quick rinse in leftover dishwater before adding them to recycling. This helps minimize any food residue spoiling the recyclability of materials.


Description Date File Size
Plastics Recycling Guide 2018-03-27 532KB