Calgary, AB,

City brews up recycling for paper coffee cups

Paper coffee cups are now accepted for recycling in City Blue Carts

Calgarians can now look forward to a takeout cup of coffee – and be able to recycle their paper coffee cup afterward. “We are pleased to start accepting paper coffee cups for recycling in the Blue Cart program and at community recycling depots,” says Waste & Recycling Services, Leader of Program Management, Sharon Howland. “Residents have been asking us about coffee cup recycling for some time and we’re happy that we are now able to divert paper coffee cups from landfills to recycle them instead.”

The disposable paper cups must have the plastic lid removed and be completely empty before recycling. Paper sleeves are also acceptable. “Plastic lids may have recycling symbols on them, but that does not mean they are compatible with the Blue Cart program. The lids are too small and light for the recycling facility to properly sort them. They should be thrown in the garbage along with liquids, stir sticks, and straws,” explains Howland.

Paper coffee cups accepted in the program include the disposable cups Calgarians will find at most coffee shops and chains. Soft drink cups at fast food and food court restaurants are also accepted (with the lid removed).

While many people appreciate the convenience of using paper coffee cups, The City also wants to encourage people to prevent waste wherever possible. “Using a reusable coffee cup is even better for the environment as it will prevent waste and save energy and resources. It will also keep your coffee much warmer for longer so you can enjoy it that much more,” says Howland.

For more information about coffee cup recycling, visit

Use our checklist for quick reference of what can or can’t be recycled in the blue cart.

YES - Put in your blue cart for recycling (must be empty and clean):

  • Paper coffee cups
  • Paper sleeves
  • Paper soft drink and fountain pop cups
  • Paper slushie cups
  • Paper frozen yogurt cups

NO – Throw away in the garbage

  • Plastic drink lids
  • Plastic dome lids
  • Fountain pop/soft drink lids
  • Straws
  • Liquids/ice
  • Spoons
  • Stir sticks
  • Tea bags (can be composted)
  • Foam cups
  • Foam sleeves
  • Waxed cups