Focus on Materials: Plastic Container Packaging

Many types of plastic container packaging are accepted in the Recycle BC packaging and paper product recycling program, including several containers that you might not think to include. (Note, while the references below are to lids, you can also recycle caps, tops, pumps, and spray nozzles.)

Plastic cold drink cups and lids: These containers are used for take-out iced beverages.
Remember to: Empty and rinse containers and remove straws.

Plastic jugs and lids: The containers are often used for milk and milk substitutes.
Remember to: Empty and rinse containers and flatten before adding to your recycling.

Plastic tubs and lids: Dairy products, margarine, and tobacco often come in these containers.
Remember to: Empty and rinse containers and stack packaging that contained the same product to save space in your recycling.

Plastic jars and lids: Sandwich spreads and nuts are typically sold in these wide-mouth containers, but smaller medicine and vitamin bottles are also included in this category.
Remember to: Empty and rinse containers and remove scoops.

Plastic bottles and lids: Ketchup, honey, and personal care products such as shampoo or lotions are commonly sold in plastic bottles.
Remember to: Empty and rinse containers.

Plastic trays, lids and clamshells: Bakery items, vegetable platters and berries are frequently sold in plastic trays with domed or hinged lids.
Remember to: Empty and rinse containers.

Remember, compostable and biodegradable packaging is not accepted in the Recycle BC packaging and paper product recycling program.

At the sorting facility, the plastic containers are separated according to the grade of plastic: including polyethylene terephthalate, or PET (packaging for cosmetics, dish soaps, etc.); high density polyethylene, or HDPE (squeeze bottles, vitamin bottles, etc.); polypropylene, or PP (plastic tubs, etc.); and polystyrene, or PS (yogurt pots, plastic clamshells, plastic trays). The sorted containers are then baled (squished into compact cubes for transportation) and marketed to companies for the production of new plastic products, including new packaging, fleece clothing, rope, brush bristles, household furnishing, decking, and picnic benches.

For a full list of materials that are accepted in Recycle BC’s packaging and paper product recycling program, click here.