As Edmontonians finish cleaning up after Christmas, workers at the city’s recycling facility are gearing up to deal with more recyclables at once, than they’ve had all year.

However, the city said this is also the time when the number of items that shouldn’t be put in a blue bag or bin also grows – and officials are reminding residents of what recyclables should be put out for waste collection, and what should end up in an Eco Station.

On Thursday, officials estimated the facility received about 400 tonnes of material – double what they would see on a normal day.

“It’s Christmas, so we get a lot of wrapping, a lot of cardboard boxes from the TVs and stuff that they bought,” Plant manager Riccardo Francese said.

However, officials said only about 90 percent of all of the materials received can be recycled.

“At this time of year we do see Christmas lights and small appliances, those types of things really don’t belong in a blue bag,” Connie Boyce, Director of Community Relations with the City of Edmonton’s Waste Management Services said.

Ribbons, bows and shredded paper also shouldn’t be recycled in a blue bag, as is an unusual, but common item workers often deal with.

“We usually end up seeing a lot of Christmas trees at this time,” Francese said. “We don’t like it, ends up injuring our employees sometimes because they’re having to pick it up off the lines.”

Many of the items, such as Christmas lights and trees, extension cords, small appliances and scrap metal should be recycled at Eco Stations, because it can cause problems and delays at the city’s Materials Recovery Facility – even temporarily shut it down.

“A shut down here for about an hour, costs us about $800,” Francese said.

According to the city, Edmonton has one of the highest rates of voluntary recycling on the continent, with about 93 percent of all single-family households participating in the blue bag program.

A full list of materials that can be recycled through the blue bag or blue bin program, and what must go to an Eco Station, can be found on the City of Edmonton website, or by calling 311.

With files from Breanna Karstens-Smith