Recycling Myths, Debunked » Recycle BC - Making a difference together.

Your recycling has an impact. By reducing and recycling, you’re helping our oceans and our environment. Here are some facts about our packaging and paper recycling program so you can be confident your actions are making a difference.

We process over 200,000 tonnes of material each year. That’s the weight of 33,000 orca whales. So make sure you’re recycling all you can, because it matters.

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OVER 90% OF COLLECTED MATERIAL IS MANAGED BY RECYCLING

Despite high standards for recycling markets, we have been able to ensure most of plastic packaging, paper products, glass, and metal containers collected through our program are recycled due to our concentrated effort to reduce contamination. After materials are sorted and baled, they are sold to end markets as a commodity. We prioritize achieving a positive environmental outcome and manage our materials in accordance with the Pollution Prevention Hierarchy. In 2020, 90% of collected material was managed by recycling, 4% was managed by recovery and produced into engineered fuel, and the remaining material – contamination that isn’t accepted in the recycling stream –  was managed by disposal. Learn more about our recycling process.

RECYCLING MORE HELPS KEEP WASTE OUT OF OUR OCEANS

Responsible plastic management provides social, economic and environmental benefits, allowing plastics to be used to make new products and packaging, contributing to a circular economy. Together with our partner, Canadian Stewardship Services Alliance, we endorse the New Plastics Economy Global Commitment’s common vision of a circular economy for plastics, where plastics never become waste.

ALMOST ALL OF THE PLASTIC WE COLLECT IS PROCESSED IN BC

We work primarily with a local BC recycling end market, who process the rigid plastic containers and soft plastic packaging we collect. They receive sorted plastic grades and convert them into raw materials to be sold to customers who use them to manufacture new packaging and products. What can’t be recycled, such as other flexible plastic packaging, they turn into engineered fuel, an engineered energy product that is a direct replacement for traditional non-renewable resources, such as coal, in industrial settings. We work together with our post-collection partners to manage all collected plastic responsibly.

SOFT PLASTICS SHOULD BE TAKEN TO THE DEPOT

While we’re still big fans of reusable bags, plastic bags can be recycled! They are collected at depots and London Drugs stores to keep them from mixing with other materials in curbside collection so they meet recycling remanufacturers’ specifications. When collected separately, they can be processed into pellets for use in new products or packaging. Bonus: they are recycled right here in BC!

OUR MATERIAL LIST IS LARGER THAN OTHER PROGRAMS IN CANADA

When our program launched in 2014, we established a consistent list of accepted materials for all of BC. This material list included many items not previously accepted by BC communities, or currently accepted in other communities in Canada. This material list has continued to grow and we accept a wide range of items including plant pots, coffee cups, plastic bags, flexible plastic packaging (like chip bags and stand-up zipper-lock pouches), spiral wound cans, aerosol cans for beauty products, and empty coffee pods either in curbside bins or for some materials like soft plastics, only at depots. View our full material list.

OUR PROGRAM IS FUNDED BY BUSINESSES

We are a not-for-profit organization and an extended producer responsibility (EPR) program for residential packaging and paper. Through EPR, producers take responsibility for the end-of-life management of the materials they supply to residents. For BC only, this includes both operational and financial responsibility, managing the program and shifting costs away from homeowners and local governments. Producers pay fees based on the type and quantity of material they supply to BC residents. In 2020, 1,199 producers paid over $120 million to fund the delivery of our recycling services.