3 Streams FAQ

What is the 3-Stream Separation System?
In South-East New Brunswick, the 3-Stream Separation System is used to reduce the amount of waste going into the landfill. The sorting program is a way to separate household waste into three categories- blue bags for recyclable material, green bags for compostable material and clear bag for garbage.


How do I separate my waste?
BLUE waste consists of recyclable materials. This includes items such as metals, paper, cardboard, hard plastics (numbered 1, 2,3,4,5, and 7), grocery bags, Styrofoam, electronics and milk cartons. Items should be cleaned of debris by rinsing, wiping or shaking before placing them in your bag.


GREEN waste consists of compostable materials. This includes food scraps, yard waste, napkins, paper towels, tissues and tobacco.

CLEAR waste consists of garbage. This includes non-recyclable and non-compostable household, bathroom and kitchen waste (i.e. glass, meat tray liners, chip bags, sanitary pads, fabric, soft plastics etc.)  

HOUSEHOLD HAZARDOUS WASTE (HHW) is not accepted in the blue, green or clear bags and has its own collection and disposal procedures. These materials may be corrosive, flammable, poisonous, or consists of sharp objects. Examples include propane tanks, syringes, batteries, nail polish remover and CFL light bulbs.

Why do we have the alternating collection schedule?
Most of the garbage trucks used to collect waste in our region are split trucks, i.e. they have two compartments for separation of bags. To upgrade trucks or to add additional trucks on the roads would result in significant costs to our tax payers. After thorough analysis, we decided to go with an alternating collection schedule, this is also something that has been successfully applied in many regions across Canada.


Do I have to hold on to diapers and pet waste for two weeks?
We do prefer all your pet waste and diapers in the clear bags but you can put these items in the green bags on the off weeks, we just ask that you not include any grocery bags or other extra plastics. When possible, please put these items in your clear bag.


Why is glass not recyclable?
Unfortunately, there is only a market for broken window and clear container glass that has been sorted by colour and type, and been cleaned. At our facility, we do not have the capacity to do this type of sorting and cleaning and broken glass in the system is very difficult to recover. All glass we receive through the waste system is broken by the time it gets to us, either when placed on the curb, in the compacting trucks, or when dumped on our tipping floor. It is then mixed with ceramic, small pieces of metal, paper, etc. and quite dirty. We certainly encourage residents to bring your beverage glass to a redemption center for recycling and reuse and your non-beverage glass to a local recycler. You can also reuse your non-beverage glass or donate it to a reuse organization for someone else to use.


Do I still need to wrap or box up broken glass in the clear bag?
Continue to protect your broken glass in an empty box or another container in the clear bag. This practice keeps you safe and the collection staff. It also ensures that your bags won't rip during collection and when you put them out to the curb.


How do I know what plastics are considered recyclable?
Soft plastics such as saran wrap, cling wrap, cellophane, cereal bags etc. are garbage and go in the clear bag, while hard plastics such as plastic containers, plastic bottles etc. are recyclable and go in the blue bag. If you want to do more, here are 2 other tips to help:
• On the bottom of most hard-plastic containers (anything that can open and close and has a rigid shape), there is a recycling triangle and in the middle of the triangle, there is a number.  The plastic cannot be recycled if it is a number 6 and should be placed in the clear bag.  If the number is between 1 to 5 or 7, then it is recyclable and should be placed in the blue bag.
• For soft-plastics, we can recycle grocery and retail bags, bread bags, and sandwich bags. We prefer these bags be placed in a single bag and tied, and then placed in a blue bag.  By placing them in a tied single bag, it helps to prevent them from getting caught up in the equipment.


Do I have to use transparent Blue, Green and Clear garbage bags?
To participate in the 3-Stream Separation System you must use transparent blue, green and clear garbage bags. The transparency of these bags addresses one major concern - the safety of residents, garbage collectors and the staff who sort the waste because potential hazards inside the bags can be easily identified.
Furthermore, the blue, green and clear transparent bags have proven to be the key to successful waste diversion in other areas. The colors provide important visual reminders when discarding your waste and the transparency ensures lower levels of waste stream contamination. In the home, at the curb, and at all related sorting facilities, there is no confusion about the bag contents.

Download New 3 Stream Guide and Sorting Lists