Where Does It Go? Did You Know? Ask Me Anything! » Recycle BC - Making a difference together.

So, you’ve got questions about recycling?

We get plenty of messages every day from curious recyclers! Whether you’re not sure about which bin to use, or where your flattened box ends up, we’ve got more than a few answers for you!

Starting now, we’ll be posting new weekly programming to help with all your recycling riddles! Click the weekday below to jump its section on this page:

Mondays: Where Does It Go? #WDIG

Wednesdays: Did You Know? #DYK

Fridays: Ask Me Anything! #AMA

#RecycleBC

Where Does It Go?

You might be surprised about the journey key recycled materials take. From the blue bin, to processing, to new product – you’ll find out WHERE they end up, and HOW are they transformed.

Illustration of life cycle of plastic shampoo bottle in the recycling process

Hard plastic containers are one of the most common materials we recycle, and it gets recycled to be used in a number of ways! Your shampoo bottles, detergent jugs and food containers can eventually make a comeback as cleaning product containers, garden nursery pots and…more food containers! Cue *Circle of Life*.

#WDIG #RecycleBC

Graphic that reads Where does glass go?

Ever wonder what happens to glass after you recycle it? In BC, glass is recycled to make new bottles, sandblasting materials, and construction aggregate. FYI: singing “99 bottles” in any of our processing centres has been formally banned.

#WDIG #RecycleBC

That bundle of paper you just recycled might end up close to home or it might make a longer journey!

#WDIG #RecycleBC

Wonder where metal cans go? They’re recycled in North America into sheet metal that can be made into new products and packaging. Maybe the next time you’re at the hardware store, you’ll pass something you contributed to!

#WDIG #RecycleBC

One of the many uses for recycled plastics includes clothing manufacturers making new high-end fibres from them. You could be WEARING something you recycled in the past, you never know!

#WDIG #RecycleBC

Ah cardboard, it may seem like one of the more common recycled materials, but there’s no denying its mystique.

If you’ve ever thrown a flattened box into the bin and wondered where it eventually ended up, the answer might be obvious, but rest assured, cardboard has a few tricks up its sleeve. ….It’s made into more cardboard and kraft paper products! Pizza boxes, moving boxes, paper grocery bags – it’s all fair game!

#RecycleBC #WDIG

map of BC showing plastic containers with text reading 98 per cent of plastic Recycle BC collects stays in BC

Where in the world does the plastic packaging we collect from around BC end up? Well 98% of it stays right here in BC! A local company processes the plastic you put in your bins into pellets that can be made into new products or packaging!

#WDIG #RecycleBC

There are SO many types of milk cartons now (almond, soy, oat). Is there a difference between where they all end up? Nope! When you put a carton in the container bin, they end up going towards making new paper towels, tissues or napkins.

#RecycleBC #WDIG

Not many people know this, plastic shopping bags CAN be recycled! If you take them to your closest recycling depot or London Drugs store, they’ll be turned into plastic pellets right here in BC to be made into new packaging and products.

#RecycleBC #WDIG 

While there seems to be a little bit of confusion out there around coffee pods, here’s the tea: if they’re made of plastic or aluminum, they CAN be included in your blue box – remove the lid, empty grounds completely and toss in your bin! If your pods are clean, we can recycle the plastic and aluminum just like the other plastic and metal in our program!

#WDIG #RecycleBC

We accept wrapping paper! Even though our birthdays are virtual these days, people are still sending gifts and the waste definitely piles up! When you toss your gift wrap with your paper recycling, you’re ensuring that even more gifts can be given with new paper and boxes. You’re more thoughtful than you know!

#WDIG #RecycleBC

Did You Know?

Every time you recycle paper or packaging you are contributing to preserving the environment. Find out more about BC’s paper and packaging recycling program and how your participation is making a difference.

Woman and man sitting in car waving with text that reads Did You Know Wednesdays

The Recycle BC team is everywhere! Our collection partners regularly visit over 1.4 million households served through our curbside or multi-family collection services. So next time you see one of the team emptying your bin, give a wave and say hello!

#DYK #RecycleBC

So you have a plastic envelope – now what? For things like delivery packaging (plastic envelopes, plastic air padding, rigid foam), you can stop by a partner recycling depot or drop-off location, and we’ll take care of them!

#DYK #RecycleBC

Recycle BC has put in many pre-COVID-19 travel kms to visit where our materials end up to ensure they’re managed responsibly. So you can feel comfortable about what happens AFTER you put your materials in the bin.

#DYK #RecycleBC

Recycle BC serves the entire province! That’s why our list of recyclable materials is available in multiple languages! We want to provide access to the instructions for recycling at home.

#DYK #RecycleBC

Looking to up your recycling game? RecycleBC.ca is your ticket to helping out! Find out what is or isn’t recyclable, and where your closest depot is either using our Waste Wizard on the home page, or downloading the Recycle BC app.

#DYK #RecycleBC

We love when people recycle, and we also love when people get more use out of recyclables at home. Did you know you can reuse shipping packaging and wrapping for things you are sending? Another way to reduce waste, and save a little dough too!

#DYK #RecycleBC

Don’t let your recycling go to the animals! Another reason it’s important to clean your containers is that they can attract animals. BC has plenty of curious creatures that think with their stomachs, so do your part to make our blue bins less enticing to them!

#RecycleBC #DYK

Recycling can go even further than what you put in your bin. There’s plenty of other materials that you probably didn’t even know were recyclable, like plastic plant pots, coffee cups and lids, empty hairspray containers. Learn new ways you can lower your footprint by getting more familiar with the materials list!

#RecycleBC #DYK

We love that many businesses make recycling a priority! Did you know, you can drop off your flexible plastic packaging at London Drugs locations? In 2019, they collected roughly 46 tonnes! PHEW!

#RecycleBC #DYK

It pays to be organized! When you swing by one of our recycling depots, it’s always good to have your materials in order before you visit. Sort your foam, plastic bags and overwrap and other flexible plastic packaging (like crinkly wrappers and stand-up ziptop pouches) into separate bags or boxes before you go. This makes your stop quick and seamless.

#RecycleBC #DYK

Foam packaging can be recycled when you’re done with it! If you take your clean take-out containers or the protective foam packaging in boxes for small appliances or electronics, we’ll take care of it. They’ll go towards making things like picture frames and construction moulding.

#RecycleBC #DYK

Ask Me Anything?

We asked you for your most pressing recycling questions. This is knowledge we can all reuse!

Ask Me Anything Friday picturing an empty clean plastic clamshell container and a peanut butter jar that looks mostly full

Q: Do I have to clean my containers? Will they go to a landfill if I don’t? 

A: If you do your best to rinse out your containers, we’ll recycle them! They don’t have to be spotless, just make sure they aren’t still full of food.

A little cleaning up really helps us help the environment!

#AMA #RecycleBC

Q: What do I do with my glass jar lids?

A: Short answer: all lids go into the container bins – metal and plastic! This means separating lids from your glass containers – it’s best if only glass goes in the glass bin. It might seem like a little thing, but it’s better for the recycling process and easier for us to recycle glass (and the lids) when there aren’t any lids mixed in. (If you miss one, don’t sweat it, the glass will still be recycled.)

#AMA #RecycleBC

Q: Can I recycle batteries, propane canisters, or lighters in my blue bin? 

A: Absolutely not, hazardous materials like these can’t be put in your blue bin. They need to be dropped-off at an appropriate Recycling Council of BC return location to keep everyone safe. Some of these items can be recycled and doing this is MUCH better than throwing them in the garbage, so you can always make a difference with them!

#AMA #RecycleBC

Q: Do I have to take the labels off of containers before recycling them?

A: Nope! As long as you empty them and give a rinse, you’re good!

#AMA #RecycleBC

Q: Can I recycle the plastic wrap that comes around products like paper towels or cases of pop?

A: Not many people know this, but YES you can! It’s called overwrap, and it can be a BIG source of waste. Bring it to your nearest depot and spread the word that it can’t go in the blue bins. We’ll take care of all the overwrap you’ve saved!

#AMA #RecycleBC 

Q: Can I recycle 6-pack rings?

A: Flexible 6-pack rings (there has to be a catchier name) are made of photodegradable material that can’t be recycled! Hard ones like this can! Toss them in your blue box for recycling! BONUS: Most are already made from recycled plastic!

#AMA #RecycleBC

Q: Do the different “recycle” symbols, and numbers mean you have to put each item in a specific bin?

A: NOPE! The numbered symbols really just indicate the type of plastics used in each. When accepted materials get to our sorting facilities, we will sort them, using the latest sorting technology! The best way to sort is to check our materials list for the items we accept and where. 

#AMA #RecycleBC

Q: Who funds Recycle BC?

A: Recycle BC is 100% funded by the companies that produce the paper and plastic packaging we recycle! Altogether, these producers contribute $98 million annually to fund our program!

#RecycleBC #AMA

Q: Help! My recycling bin is full and it’s not collection day yet.

A: Compact containers, flatten and cut down cardboard, and keep out the items that shouldn’t be included.

#RecycleBC #AMA

Q: Hmm, should you ever pour paint down the drain? The short answer: NO, NEVER! 

A: The short answer: NO, NEVER! Though Recycle BC only recycles plastic and paper packaging, our friends at the Recycling Council of BC can direct you on the right way to dispose of your paint, paint cans, and other hazardous materials. Find out more on their website.

#AMA #RecycleBC