City of Windsor Bans Plastic Bags from Recycling Pick-Ups

March 04, 2024
City of Windsor Bans Plastic Bags from Recycling Pick-Ups
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Even though plastic bags have never been recyclable in Windsor-Essex, people are still adding bags to their recycling. In a response to an overwhelming amount of plastic bags making their way into the recycling steam starting this summer any curbside bins containing them will now be rejected at pickup.

The Essex-Windsor Solid Waste Authority this month introduced a campaign aimed at reducing the amount of plastic bags found in the recycling stream.

Starting June 1, recycling collectors will leave behind any blue or red bins containing plastic bags.

Not only has Windsor never offered plastic bag recycling, but one of the major reasons for the outright ban is that plastic bags are a major cause of downtime at recycling facilities as they can become wrapped around recycling machinery.

The banned list of plastic bags provided by the Windsor Solid Waste Authority below shows that they will not accept any bags at all. Even if the bags themselves, claim to be recyclable or used for recycling other items, they will not be accepted.

You can read more from the Windsor-Essex Solid Waste Authority Below

No Plastic Bags Ban Questions Answered

No Plastic Bags Ban Resource Flyer

So what are the Alternatives?

Reuse them, throw them in the garbage or take them back.

Some items that cannot be recycled by the municipality, can be recycled if returned to their source or the manufacturer. The rest, simply need to be thrown into the garbage, or used if possible.


Some places such as grocery stores do have programs to accept the return of shopping bags to be recycled.

In the City of Windsor you can bring your shopping bags back to Walmart, Metro, Zehrs, and Sobeys to name a few. Just ask at the customer service desks.


Yes, additionally you can “recycle” packaging peanuts by returning them to your local UPS store instead of throwing them in the garbage. The UPS store reuses the peanuts.

What is Wish-cycling?

While were on the topic of what can and can’t be recycled. Have you heard of the term “wish-cycling”?

Most of us at some point in time are probably guilty of it. It’s when you throw you Tim Hortons coffee cup into the recycling because it’s paper, or that greasy pizza box, or a CFL light bulb. These items like many, look like they should be recyclable right? Paper, cardboard and glass.

Wish-cycling might start with the best of intentions, but it’s one of the biggest issues facing waste management today.

These items all contain, contaminants that actually make the recycling process cost more, less effective, and produce more waste as result.

Often, people do it because they think they’re cutting back their waste. Sadly, the opposite happens. Wish-cycling contributes in a big way to contamination, which is when an incorrect item or material is added to a specific waste stream, in this case the recycling stream.

When a batch of recyclables is contaminated, there’s a good chance it’ll be rejected and end up in the landfill.

In other words, because of that one problematic thing you tried to recycle, tons of properly recycled items get landfilled.

I think you’ll agree that this is a tragedy, and it runs completely counter to what recycling is all about.

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