Curbside Recycling - Frequently Asked Questions

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 mixed recycling to be left uncollected include

  • Foam containers and packaging (e.g. Styrofoam)
  • 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.
  • Other flexible plastic packaging, including chip bags, net bags for fruit/vegetables, stand up zipper lock pouches, bubble wrap etc.
  • Glass bottles and jars in mixed recycling
  • 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. Why can't I place plastic bags/overwrap, styrofoam or other flexible plastic packaging with my other curbside mixed recycling?

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. Keeping certain materials separate also allows them to be recycled to the highest possible use. 

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

Plastic bags and styrofoam can be dropped off at Recycling/Bottle Depots free of charge.  Other flexible plastic packaging is accepted at the Bottle Depots and London Drugs.  Glass bottles and jars may be recycled at the curb in a separate Grey Bin.

Q. What are all of the recyclables accepted?

A complete list of recyclables accepted in the curbside mixed recycling container can be found here.

Q. What can I put in the glass bin?

With the current curbside recycling system, curbside glass collection falls under the provincial recycling program administered by Recycle BC. Only glass packaging – bottles and jars – are 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. Does the City provide recycling containers?

Yes, the City delivered one 121L recycling container (Blue Bin) to residents on Chilliwack's Curbside Collection Program between July 23 and August 3, 2018.
New homes starting on the curbside program also receive a Blue Bin along with a Green Cart and Grey Bin.

Additional or replacement Blue Bins are available at City Hall for a fee ($24). 

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

Yes, flattened cardboard tied in stacks or bundles will still be collected when placed at the curb beside your recycling container (Blue Bin).

Q. What happens if my Blue Bin is damaged during collection?

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

Q. How can I keep my Blue Bin and lid from blowing away on windy days?

  • Avoid neighbourly mix-ups by writing your address on garbage/recycling cans and lids. Green Carts are already assigned to your home through serial numbers on the side. Please don’t mark-up Green Carts.
  • Place a piece of 2x4 on the underside of your lid. Install screws with washers through the top down into the 2x4. The added weight helps to keep it from blowing around. Please do not attach the lid to your container as it hinders servicing.
  • Consider building a can corral at the foot of your driveway. A simple corral consists of four posts and a set of horizontal rails that prevent cans/carts from blowing over, or a modified wagon that allows easy transport from the home. Containers will be serviced from and returned to a corral.

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 is accepted in a clear plastic bag placed beside 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. How frequently is glass collected at the curb?

Glass is 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, mixed recycling and compostables, performs the service. 

Glass and garbage can be collected at the same time, in trucks that have split compartments to separately store the materials or alternatively glass can be collected seperately in a truck only for glass. Through using a split body truck, it can help maximize efficiency, reduces the number of collection vehicles on residents' roads and keeps program fees as low as possible for residents.

Q. What kind of container can I use for glass recycling? 

The Grey Bin must be used for curbside glass collection; no other container styles are permitted to ensure materials are easily identified by the collection crews. Additional Grey Bins are available at City Hall for a fee ($4). 

Grey Bins will be delivered to new homes joining the curbside program, along with a Green Cart and Blue Bin.

Q. What happens if my Grey Bin is damaged during collection?

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

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

If, on occasion, you have more recycling than can fit in your Blue Bin, 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 121L in volume. Other containers require "We Recycle" stickers (free at City Hall). Additional Blue Bins are also available at City Hall for a fee ($21). Alternatively, extra recyclables can be taken to one of the Recycling/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 if I have more glass than can fit in a Grey Bin?

If residents have additional glass on a regular basis, additional Grey Bins are available at City Hall for a fee ($4).  Residents who occasionally have extra amounts of glass may take it to one of the Recycling/Bottle Depots.

Q. What if I don’t like the style of the Blue Bin provided?

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 121L (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. 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. Why were single use recycling bags (blue bags/clear bags) phased out in 2018?

The provincial recycling program, Recycle BC, required single use bags to be phased out in 2018 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 continue to be accepted for recycling at local Recycling/Bottle Depots.

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 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. 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 
Recycle BC's Materials List - Mixed Recycling 2021 2021-09-29 950KB