Effective Management of Residential Plastic Recycling in BC

Recycle BC is a leader in residential plastic recycling and is committed to effective plastic management. BC residents can have confidence that the residential recycling system for plastic packaging in their province is world class. 

Recycle BC operates a full extended producer responsibility (EPR) program. It was the first program of this kind to launch in North America in 2014, and it continues to lead the way in packaging and paper recycling and improved environmental outcomes.  

A video recently posted on social media was a short segment of a four-year-old CBC Marketplace story, which overtly misrepresented recycling in BC, specifically the residential packaging and paper recycling system. We are deeply concerned this video has resurfaced, with no context, as it is not a credible source or representation of BC’s current residential recycling system. The video misrepresents commercial transactions as a proxy for the sophisticated system of checks and balances that exist within BC’s residential recycling system. We responded to the original story when it aired in 2019 

In commercial plastics recycling arrangements and in residential arrangements in many parts of the world, plastics material is not managed in the same way as in BC. We are fortunate that in BC we have an advanced system for the handling and management of our residential recycling materials.   

Recycle BC records the movement of material from collection through to its final destination at a recycling facility where it is to be made into a new commodity. These movements undergo a third-party assurance audit, which is how residents can ensure the numbers we report are reflective of our program’s performance.  

Advancing Plastic Recycling page one of Recycle BC Plastics Progress report

In the last four years, further progress has been made in the management of residential plastic recycling in BC. In 2022, our primary plastic end market confirmed a recycling solution for flexible plastics, which were previously being managed by recovery and produced into an engineered fuel product. Advancing the recycling of flexible plastics allows us to manage more plastic packaging by recycling than ever before. 

In fact, in 2022, 98% of plastic collected was sent to recycling end markets. And of the plastic managed by recycling, almost all of it (98%) is recycled by Metro Vancouver plastics recycler Merlin Plastics. It is made into plastic pellets to be used for new products and packaging, such as new plastic containers, pipes and planter pots.  

Since its program launch, Recycle BC has made significant improvements to residential plastic recycling in BC by advancing the collection, management and circularity of plastic packaging. This past year, we published a detailed summary of plastic recycling in BC as a reliable source of information for residents showcasing Recycle BC’s plastic recycling process and its continued, consistent improvement since the launch of the program to today. See the steps of the recycling process and information specific to end markets.

Learn More 

Our commitment to transparency is evident in our annual reports, which are audited by third parties to ensure the accuracy of the information contained therein and can be found on our website. In each report we provide the end fate of all of our materials, according to the pollution prevention hierarchy. 

Recycle BC is a leading example for the responsible management of residential recycling and we believe that the facts speak for themselves. We know that there is always more work to be done and we are committed to continuously improving.  

British Columbians can feel secure that when they put accepted plastic packaging into their residential recycling bins or take them to the depot, we will manage it properly.