MMBC Recycling Myths and Truths

It’s myth-busting time! Today we visit some common myths about recycling, and explore some truths.

1. Anything I put out for recycling will be collected and recycled.


The Multi-Material BC (MMBC) residential packaging and printed paper recycling program is for packaging and printed paper only.

Some packaging requires special handling, so we cannot accept it. This includes propane and other fuel canisters. These cause fires in recycling trucks and at sorting facilities and can be extremely dangerous. For information on how to dispose of these, please contact the Recycling Council of BC (RCBC) at or 1-800-667-4321.

Foam packaging and plastic bags also require special handling, which is why MMBC accepts these types of packaging at MMBC depots only. You can enter an address to find the nearest depots or look at the complete depot list here.

Other packaging, like stand-up pouches, is incompatible with existing recycling processes. When these packages are mixed with recyclable packaging, it can be difficult to sort the recyclable and non-recyclable packages, which ends up spoiling the recyclability of recyclable materials. MMBC works with stewards and recyclers to identify ways to recycle these.

Other materials that are neither packaging nor printed paper are not accepted by MMBC. They may be part of a different stewardship program, for example, batteries or appliances, and RCBC can help you figure out where to take these (often the same depots that accept materials from other stewardship programs also accept MMBC materials, including glass, plastic bags and overwrap and foam packaging). Garbage or organics mixed with recyclables prevent the recyclables from being sorted properly, too.

You can help us recycle more by only putting MMBC materials in your MMBC recycling.

2. Coffee cups can be added to container recycling.


We encourage residents to include take-out coffee cups with container recycling. For more about how coffee cups are recycled, see our post about them here.

3. Nothing we collect actually gets recycled.


In 2014, over 93 percent of the packaging and printed paper that was collected in the MMBC program was sent to material remanufacturers for recycling. This exceeds our target of 85-90 percent and was verified by an independent third-party.

4. If it’s compostable or biodegradable, it’s also recyclable.


Compostable or biodegradable packaging behaves in a different way from non-compostable packaging. For example, a bench made from biodegradable plastics would degrade in the sun. Please do not include compostable or biodegradable plastics with your recycling.

6. It’s only recyclable if there is a “recycling symbol”.


We’ve written about the resin codes on plastics and how MMBC doesn’t use them to identify materials that are recyclable because they are voluntary and often used inconsistently. Instead, we encourage residents to follow the list of accepted items when deciding what to include.

6. I can leave the labels on jars and other containers.


In the early days of recycling, residents were instructed to remove the labels, but this is no longer necessary.