see all cities »


Recycling in Canada is “Simply” Cool

Being a born and raised Canadian, the idea of not being able to recycle is a sad world to imagine. And unfortunately, I actually saw a glimpse of this world last year.  We travelled to the East Coast, first stopping in Florida and then heading to Nova Scotia.  Besides the palm trees, marshy lands and gorgeous beaches, the greatest thing that stuck out to me in Florida was the fact that they do not offer a recycling program.  It felt just wrong and almost dirty to finish a can of pop and then chuck it in the garbage where it would eventually up in a landfill forever. With a recycling program, that can could have turned into a new can, paper clips, computer parts or even a part of a new airplane! This didn’t make any sense to me at all; I felt like I was in bizarro world!

For the people of Florida…you can still turn those pop cans into airplanes!

Then suddenly in Halifax, Nova Scotia I was transported to a new world where recycling was a priority on everyone’s list, even more so than the West Coast – if you can believe that!  They even had a recycling bin program where you can to sort all of your garbage into compost items, recyclable items and garbage.  And if you didn’t comply with this, the city would fine you!  It is the law to recycle there.  Supposedly this idea is being tossed around in Victoria right now which I am all for!

Being bounced between these two worlds got me thinking lately how fortunate I am to be living in a country where recycling is the norm and is also so acceptable. It also made me realize how simple recycling has become and how most items nowadays can be recycled easily. So I decided to give myself a little educational tutorial to find out all the different items you can now recycle and pass this info along to others in case they weren’t aware of how simple it is to recycle rather than trash our items.



I’ve had so much styrofoam stored in my basement I could easily make a couch out of it!

I’ve always hated this white beast. First because it’s usually not necessary in packaging and second because it is so messy and takes up so much space. But mostly I’ve hated it because I was under the impression it wasn’t recyclable and had to be thrown out. Turns out I was wrong! While it’s not accepted in our blue box programs, there are private recycling depots that will take it away to be recycled and then reused again for a small fee. Just check with your local recycling depot and they should be able to point to a local company that provides this service. And here’s a money saving tip: save up your Styrofoam and then break it down into small pieces and put in a large garbage bag because they usually charge a flat fee per garbage bag.

Old Mattresses

Doesn’t this just make you sad to see?

How many times have you seen someone put an old mattress out on the curb and thought “who in the world is actually going to take this after it’s been sitting outside in the dirt and rain for days?” I don’t know about you, but I like to sleep on a clean and mold-free bed at night. And so this poor thing ends up being carted to its final resting place at the landfill. But this doesn’t have to be its’ fate!

Before chucking that bed on the lawn, grab your computer and search to see if there is a mattress recycling program in your city. Turns out Sleep Country offers this in all their locations for a small “green fee” or if you are purchasing a new bed from them. And in Vancouver, they actually put a ban on dumping mattresses and started a local mattress pick up program. This means 90% of the material avoids the dump.  So cool!

Candy Wrappers

Now I can’t tell you that you won’t feel guilty after eating that Kit Kat bar but I can tell you that you can lessen your guilt by recycling the wrapper. Turns out there are recycle drop offs for candy wrappers at some movie theatres now and London Drugs also has drop off bins at most of their locations. And some of these wrappers will actually be upcycled into other products like laptop covers. Sweet huh?

What a sweet laptop cover!!

There are hundreds of other items that can be recycled.  And thanks to blog sites and forums like Pinterest, there are also hundreds of ways to upcycle items that can’t be recycled.  So regardless, it’s practically impossible not to recycle in Canada. If you know of any other cool items you can recycle, I’d love to hear them.

Community Coordinator at, blogger, social media junkie, proud mama, fabulously frugal, proud to be from our beautiful city!

8 Responses to “Recycling in Canada is “Simply” Cool”

Matt Harley

That’s great to hear that Vancouver has finally instituted some sort of recycling for mattresses. I remember talking to one of the workers at the transfer station and he mentioned that at any given time, the city estimated over 20,000 mats/boxsprings were left abandoned throughout the GVRD. For the purpose of recycling, mats/box’s can be cut open, with the steel springs scraped for metal and the “stuffing” reused as underlay for the commercial application of carpet. Our company Save-Alot-Hauling can safely remove and recycle all these items and many more for a modest fee. Our ad is in the junk removal/cleaning section in “top ads”. Thanks, and happy recycling!


Darrell hanley

my old job was recycling old lightbulbs and the lamps they came in…….in regina we even recycle street lamps….ballasts…..and the the fixing to make the light work……we even recycle 4 and 8 foot bulbs. Canada definitly has itgoing on when it comes to recycling



Great info! Thanks 🙂


Carly Russell

Awesome. Thanks so much for the info Matt. So glad there are places in Victoria where you can recycle your mattresses. It’s a pet peeve of mine to see them sitting on the side of the road never to be given a new home! Will definitely contact you guys next time my mattress is ready to be retired.


Carly Russell

Thanks Lara. Happy recycling!



I too am west coast…BC… and my small town has no green recycle program (yet)…it pains me to see all the raw, wet greens not sitting in my compost bins… My worms are always hungry and who can’t use a good bucket of awesome (free) composted soil. I live on a rocky mountain hillside with hardly any soil and have let the composting make me five pretty nice gardens.


[…] how most items nowadays can be recycled easily. So I decided to give myself a little educational tutorial to find out all the different items you can now recycle and pass this info along to others in case […]


Carly Russell-huntley

Betty, that is so great you are composting. Hopefully if more people get on board in your community it will bring in a recycling program. Good luck and happy recycling.


Leave a Reply