How to Separate and Store Recyclables

Leaving nature the way you found it means preserving our outdoor spaces for decades to come so we can all enjoy this summer and many more to come. Whether you’re headed for a picnic in the park with the family, or planning a multi-day excursion with your best friends, when you plan how to dispose of recyclables in advance, packing in and packing up to leave are easier. Here’s how to separate and store recyclables at home and on the road. 

Find out what is recyclable before you separate

Depending on the items, your materials can either be dropped off at a Recycle BC depot on the way home, or brought home to recycle.

Visit our What Can I Recycle web page for the complete guide on where and how to recycle in BC. Find a Recycle BC depot near your home or your campsite with our map at

two people camping on a cliff side


Separate by where you plan to recycle the materials 

Recycle only at a depot

Flexible plastics and foam packaging can all be returned to Recycle BC depot, including:

  • Plastic bags for groceries, bread and bulk foods
  • Crinkle wrappers on granola bars, chips and energy gels
  • Flexible packages with a plastic seal for pre-packaged deli snacks or stuffed pasta
  • Zipper-lock snack bags and stand-up meal pouches 
  • Overwrap for pop flats, paper towels, toilet paper, diapers, and feminine hygiene products
  • Shrink wrap 
  • Woven plastic bags for fruits and vegetables 
  • Protective packaging from items like crackers and seaweed snacks
  • Foam packaging for fish and meat (like burgers for the grill)

Friendly reminder all packaging needs to be clean and dry for recycling to prevent contamination. To see the full list of what we accept, visit

Pro Tip! If you research depots before you leave, you can plan for a depot stop on your return journey home. Did you know that there are over 200 Recycle BC depot locations around BC where you can drop off your plastic, metal, glass packaging and paper for recycling?

Recycle at a depot or at home 

Non-deposit glass bottles and jars can be dropped at a depot or brought home to recycle if your community receives curbside glass collection.  Use the search tool on our website and check your local guidelines regarding glass collection.

Recycle at home 

Paper and containers can be brought home to recycle. That includes:

  • Paper packaging and cardboard 
  • Plastic containers (like yogurt and dip containers) 
  • Carton containers for soup, cream, ice cream, etc., and paper cups (i.e., coffee cups, take-out beverage cups)
  • Metal containers (like cans for beans and corn)

Creating storage for recyclables 

The best way to store recyclables and minimize your waste is to use what you’ve already got! Once you’ve started to unpack your camping supplies, you’ll see storage spaces everywhere. 

Pack smaller plastics into larger plastic bags 

After you’ve emptied a larger plastic bag, start packing your other flexible and soft plastics inside–just think of how many granola bar wrappers you can fit into an empty chip bag, or the amount of soft plastic packaging that can be stuffed inside a plastic grocery bag. Packing your plastic bags and flexible plastics together can mean an easy all-in-one drop at a depot on your way home. 


Empty Cooler? Not for long!

Your cooler can be a storage unit for bringing recyclable material home and to a depot. This is a good option for heavier, breakable items that you don’t want rattling around in the back of the trunk, like glass bottles and jars, or a tidy way to contain the plastics destined for the depot.

Just remember to give your recyclables a good rinse before recycling at home or returning to a depot to reduce contamination and ensure more of the collected material can be effectively recycled.

Have a wonderful time in the great outdoors, and don’t forget to Pack Lean, Leave Clean!