Waste Separation 101

Recycling and Composting has been law in Nova Scotia since 1996! This means that recyclables, compost, paper and cardboard are banned from landfills. Reducing the amount of waste created and sorting properly helps to save precious landfill space. Everyday actions at home, school and work have a major impact! Here is how to sort your waste.



Blue bag materials are delivered to a processing facility where they are hand-separated according to material: glass, aluminum, tin, metal and plastic. It is important that these materials are clean because once they are sorted, they are baled and shipped to recycling markets where they will be made into new products. Dirty recyclables cannot be sold since they are considered contaminated -- this increases landfill costs for your municipality and the opportunity to reuse those materials have been lost. 

The following items belong in your blue bag, rinsed clean:



  • All Plastic bottles
  • All Plastic tubs (margarine, yogurt)
  • Shrink wrap
  • Bubble wrap
  • Detergent and shampoo bottles
  • Clear and film plastic
  • Plastic bottle caps
  • All Plastic bags (clean: shopping, frozen vegetables)
  • Metal cans
  • Pie plates
  • Aluminum foil
  • All Glass bottles and jars
  • Milk cartons
  • Juice cartons
  • Motor oil (lid on)


Plastic containers from your kitchen, bathroom and laundry room must be rinsed and recycled.


Compost material is banned from Nova Scotian landfills which means these items cannot go in a garbage bag for disposal.

Organics must be stored in a wheeled cart issued by your municipality. If you do not have a green cart, click here for more information about where to get one.

These items belong in your green cart:

COMPOST 4 Meat and Bones Pic COMPOST 6 Banner pictures 035


  • All Food scraps (including meat and bones)
  • Soiled
  • dairy products
  • Coffee filters and tea bags
  • Pizza boxes
  • Grass clippings
  • Leaves
  • Twigs and small branches (2 inches in diameter or less)

If you must line your green cart or mini compost bin, please use paper based products. Paper breaks down quickly in the Community Recycling Center's composting facility.

Plastic bags, biodegradable and oxy-biodegradable bags do not break down in our composting facility, causing widespread compost contamination. These types of bags get stuck in grinding equipment during the first stage of processing. They do not break down even after one year of composting. Large amounts of these bags are screened out by machinery after the compost has matured. The bags that are removed during screening must be landfilled. Small bag fragments sometimes remain visible. Please do not use them.

Examples of paper-based products that break down quickly during the composting process:

  • commerically sold kraft leaf and yard waste bags for your green cart and mini bin liners

      (available at grocery, hardware and department stores)

  • newspaper or paper towel to line mini bins and green bins
  • newspaper to wrap meat and bones (to deter flies)
  • cereal boxes to contain wet food wastes
  • kraft paper bags from purchsed goods (ie. liquor store and grocery bags) 
Paper Bag in Mini BinPicture1 MiniPicture3 Newspaper  
Picture4 wrapped newspaperPicture2 Cereal Box  


All dry paper is recyclable and shouldn't be placed in the garbage. These items belong in a plastic grocery bag or clear bag (colourless bag) for recycling:



  • Non-metallic wrapping paper
  • Office paper
  • Boxboard (cereal, tissue and cracker boxes)
  • Newspapers and flyers
  • Magazines (including glossy)
  • Junk mail
  • Envelopes 
  • All books (hard and soft cover)

Plastic does not have to be removed from envelopes or tissue boxes. 



Corrugated cardboard must be flattened, folded and tied into 3 foot x 2 foot x 2 foot bundles. If dimensions are larger than this, cardboard may not fit in the collection truck. Small pieces of cardboard may be placed in with your paper products for recycling. 



Garbage belongs in a clear bag (colourless). Blue bags cannot be used for garbage. Each household may place one tinted bag (black,green or white) curbside during each collection. 

The following goes in your garbage bag:




  • Candy wrappers
  • Chip bags
  • Metallic wrapping paper
  • Pringles™ type cannisters
  • Floor sweepings
  • Diapers, baby wipes and cotton swabs
  • Pet waste and litter
  • Styrofoam
  • Sanitary napkins
  • Clothing and footwear
  • Vacuum cleaner bags
  • Alkaline batteries 
  • All coffee cups and cold drink cups - paper and Styrofoam
  • Condiment packets
  • Straws and Plastic cutlery 
  • Blister pill packs

All Styrofoam is garbage. 



Any items that are sharp or have the potential to break during transport (old dishes, drinking glasses, knives, sawblades, burnt-out lightbulbs, or broken glass) should be placed in a taped box and labelled as "sharp" or "broken glass" and set out beside your garbage bag. This will reduce the risk of waste haulers and Recycling Center staff being injured.

Needles and blood-testing lancets must be placed in a sharps bucket. Pick up a free bucket at your local pharmacy and drop off filled buckets for free disposal. These cannot be placed in garbage bags or blue bags! Read more about the Safe Sharps program.

For more information on how to prepare waste for curbside collection, please click here

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The Lunenburg Regional Community Recycling Centre now has a Facebook page. Get updates about holiday waste collections, clean-ups, storm cancellations and other waste-related information.





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