Flexible Plastics - Recycle BC

There have been some changes at your local Recycle BC depot.

We’ve combined all flexible plastics into one collection category for recycling! No more sorting plastic bags and overwrap from other flexible plastic packaging (crinkly wrappers, stand-up zipper-lock pouches, etc.). You can now collect and store all Flexible Plastics in one bag or container for your depot trip and drop it off in one convenient collection bin on site.

With this change, squishy cushion packaging (polyethylene foam) can now also be included with this collection category as it is compatible with the same recycling process. 

Research and Development Timeline:

2017 – Planning starts for Other Flexible Plastic Packaging research and development project with Merlin Plastics.

2018 – Soft launch of research and development project with select depots.

2019 – All Recycle BC depots begin collecting Other Flexible Plastic Packaging.

2019 to 2022 – Amass enough clean and correctly sorted Other Flexible Plastic Packaging for Merlin Plastics to do tests; conduct research and development on material recyclability.

2021 – Partner with University of Victoria to test reuse of Other Flexible Plastic Packaging.

2022 – Merlin Plastics is successful in recycling Other Flexible Plastic Packaging. Recycle BC confirms comingling of Plastic Bags and Overwrap and Other Flexible Plastic Packaging categories

2023 – Launch new Flexible Plastics material category at Recycle BC depots and London Drugs. Ongoing partnership with the University of Victoria to test reuse of Flexible Plastics.

For more information, see the frequently asked questions below.


In June 2018, Recycle BC began collecting a new material category as part of a research and development (R&D) project: Other Flexible Plastic Packaging (OFPP). The key objective of the R&D project was to determine how Recycle BC can best manage the material to recycle this complex plastic packaging.

We are now able to combine Plastic Bags and Overwrap and Other Flexible Plastic Packaging into one collection category because the end fate of these two material categories is now the same. Previously, Plastic Bags and Overwrap was recycled, and Other Flexible Plastic Packaging was used for research and development to determine how best to recycle this material at scale, and what wasn’t used for research and development was recovered into engineered fuel. Because of the research, all of this material is now managed through the same recycling process, so it can be collected together.

Our plastics end market is now making a recycled plastic pellet from the Other Flexible Plastic Packaging collected. This is a step up the Pollution Prevention Hierarchy above engineered fuel, moving the end fate from recovery to recycling, consistent with the end fate of plastic bags and overwrap. This pellet is a commodity made of a combination of higher and lower quality plastics that turn it into a usable feedstock for new product manufacturing.

Other Flexible Plastic Packaging Pilot (2018-2022)

The Other Flexible Plastic Packaging (OFPP) collection pilot began in June 2018 and collected the material at Recycle BC depots and London Drugs.

The material was collected to best determine how to manage and recycle the material. During that time, material unable to be recycled was recovered and produced into engineered fuel, an energy product engineered to exact specifications to produce a fuel that is a direct replacement for traditional, non-renewable energy resources, such as coal.

Yes, Other Flexible Plastic Packaging materials are still collected at Recycle BC depot and London Drugs locations but are now comingled with plastic bags and plastic overwrap in a new material category, Flexible Plastics.

Flexible Plastics and Accepted Materials

  • Plastic shopping bags
  • Plastic bags for bread, produce, dry cleaning, newspapers/flyers
  • Bags for water softener, salt, garden products, etc.
  • Plastic overwrap on diapers, paper towel, feminine hygiene products, flats of canned beverages
  • Plastic overwrap on mattresses and electronics
  • Plastic food storage, sandwich, freezer, and vacuum seal bags
  • Plastic shrink wrap
  • Flexible plastic gift bags and boxes
  • Transparent single-use recycling bags
  • Reusable plastic curbside recycling bags (e.g., yellow bags for Paper)
  • Reusable plastic-only carry-out bags (provided with purchase or purchased)
  • Plastic drop sheet or covering
  • Squishy cushion packaging (polyethylene foam)
  • Plastic bubble wrap
  • Zipper lock pouches for frozen foods (e.g., berries, vegetables, prawns)
  • Zipper lock and tear-open pouches for cannabis product
  • Stand-up pouches for dried fruit and nuts, quinoa, grated cheese, etc.
  • Potato chip bags
  • Crinkly plastic bags for candy, cereal
  • Plastic wrappers for candy, cheese slices, granola bars, etc.
  • Crinkly plastic packaging for dry pasta, pre-packaged deli meats, etc.
  • Flexible plastic packaging with plastic seal (e.g., deli and cheese packaging)
  • Plastic net bags for fruit, onions, avocados, etc.
  • Woven plastic bags for rice
  • Non-food protective packaging (e.g., all-plastic shipping envelopes, air packets, etc.

Plastic-lined paper or paper-lined plastic, plastic strapping, flexible/soft 6-pack rings, plastics labeled biodegradable, compostable, or oxo-degradable.