Use Reusable Bags When You Can

Even though residential plastic bags are recyclable at depots across British Columbia, when not returned they can end up in the wrong places, making them difficult to recycle and harming our land, water and air. According to the Ellen McArthur Foundation and The New Plastics Economy initiative, at this rate, there will be more plastic in our oceans than the weight of fish by 2050.

Reusable bags will last you longer than a single trip to the grocery store, and will help reduce the amount of plastic bags ending up in landfills. Check with stores to find out their current health and safety policies to see if you can bring reusable bags.

If you do have plastic bags, take them to a depot near you

Residential plastic bags should be brought to a depot — they do not belong in your recycling bin. When plastic bags and overwrap are collected with other materials, pieces of the other recyclables mix with the plastic film. Once these materials are mixed together, it is difficult to completely separate the other recyclables from the plastic film to meet the standards of North American recycling markets. Plastic bags can also get caught up in machinery at recycling facilities, causing operations to have to stop and workers to manually remove the stuck material before resuming operations. Click here to learn more about how to recycle residential plastic bags and the types of plastic bags and overwrap that are accepted at depots.

Retailers can be leaders when it comes to single-use bag reduction

Retail stores can be the leaders in reducing single-use items like plastic and paper bags. Recycle BC and the Retail Council of Canada have jointly developed a resource guide to help support these efforts. Click here for more information.