Hidden Recycling at Home Part 1

Does your home have any hidden packaging and printed paper recycling? This week, in the first of our two-part series, we are looking at packaging and printed paper recyclables found in the kitchen and the bathroom.


Once they are empty, many of the items within your cupboards will be ready to be recycled.

  • Empty cereal and cracker boxes (remove and discard the liner bag)
  • Empty soup cartons and cans
  • Empty jars and lids for peanut butter and other sandwich spreads
  • Empty metal cans for beans, seafood, vegetables, pet food
  • Empty spiral wound cans for chips, tea, nuts
  • Empty bottles and lids for olive oils and vinegars (glass bottles are accepted at Recycle BC depots or in communities with separate glass collection—check with your recycling provider)
  • Empty paper bags for flour, sugar, or pet food

Remember, rinsing containers helps avoid pests near your recycling. There is no need to scrub them clean, though.


When you clean out your fridge, several of the containers are accepted in the Recycle BC packaging and paper product recycling program.

  • Empty jugs and cartons for milk or milk substitutes
  • Plastic clamshells for produce or fruit
  • Empty egg cartons (foam cartons are accepted only at Recycle BC depots; paper egg cartons are accepted with papers and plastic egg cartons are accepted with container recycling)
  • Empty plastic bottles and lids for salad dressings and condiments
  • Empty yogurt containers and lids
  • Empty margarine tubs and lids
  • Empty glass jars of jam, pickles, mustards (glass bottles are accepted at Recycle BC depots or in communities with separate glass collection—check with your recycling provider)
  • Empty bags for bread (accepted only at depots)
  • Empty foam trays for meat, produce (accepted only at depots)


Your freezer might have a few packages that are accepted, too.

  • Empty ice cream and other frozen dessert cartons
  • Empty boxes from frozen entrees


The bathroom contains a wealth of household recycling. Are you including all of this packaging and printed paper with your recycling?

  • Empty bottles of shampoo, conditioner, lotion, and body wash
  • Cardboard tubes from toilet paper rolls, empty tissue boxes, empty toothpaste boxes (Toothpaste tubes are not accepted though, as they are multi-layer laminates, for which no recycling process currently exists.)
  • Empty aerosol containers for hair spray, or shaving cream, etc.
  • Empty medication bottles (Excess or expired medication should be returned to the pharmacy for disposal. Please do not flush or throw in the garbage.). Though not required for the containers to be recycled, you may want to remove labels for privacy reasons
  • Empty bottles of cleaning products, including toilet cleaner, window cleaner, all-purpose cleaner, and surface cleaners
  • Overwrap from toilet paper is accepted at Recycle BC depots. Please do not include with curbside or multi-family recycling collection.

Tip: The bathroom can generate a lot of recycling. Want to make it easy to collect on recycling day? Some residents keep a mini recycling bin beside the trash bin.

Next week we will conclude this series by looking at some other rooms in the house where you will find recyclables.