Recycle BC Celebrates a Decade of Impact

Recycle BC, which celebrates its 10th year of operations in May, is marking its anniversary by celebrating the tremendous efforts of British Columbians over the last decade and reinforcing that recycling in B.C. is effective and supports a circular economy.  

“We have focused on advancing environmental outcomes for residential packaging and paper in B.C. over the past 10 years,” said Sam Baker, VP, Operations of Recycle BC. “That’s why it’s so important to celebrate our successes. British Columbia is a global leader in residential packaging and paper recycling. It’s a shining example of how effective the process can be when approached strategically. Residents of the province should be immensely proud of our recycling efforts and the role that every person plays in reducing waste.”

Around 98 per cent of plastic Recycle BC collects from B.C. residents is recycled. That means it’s sent to recycling end markets to be made into plastic pellets for new products and packaging. Moreover, almost all of it (99 per cent) stays in British Columbia—meaning the end market that turns the plastic into pellets is right here within B.C. In addition, B.C. is one of the only jurisdictions that is successfully collecting and recycling flexible plastics. When it comes to glass and metal recycling, 100 per cent of material stays in B.C. while 58 per cent of paper stays in North America.

Over 99 per cent of B.C. residents have access to recycling, resulting in over 211,000 tonnes of material collected in 2023. Of the material collected, 96.7 per cent was managed by recycling. Since 2014, Recycle BC has collected 1.98 million tonnes—that’s 8.6 million adult grizzly bears!

“This is all made possible through B.C.’s innovative Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) policy approach,” said Tamara Burns, Executive Director of Recycle BC. “This shifts the responsibility of end-of-life product management from municipalities and homeowners to businesses, like retailers, manufacturers, and restaurants that supply packaging and paper products to B.C. residents. Our program is funded by over 1,100 businesses that supply packaging and paper products to B.C. residents. Since 2014, producers have contributed $1.02 billion towards responsible recycling and management of packaging and paper.”

Reduction and reuse are critical to reducing waste and those should be considered first, but residents in B.C. can also be confident in their packaging and paper recycling program. Recycling has a very real positive impact on the environment. Through recycling, British Columbians help to divert waste from landfills, conserve resources and energy, and create a circular economy.

“Personally, I’m very encouraged by what I have seen in British Columbia over the last decade,” said Lyndsey Chauhan, VP, Program Engagement of Recycle BC. “We have a best-practice model in this province that proves how effective recycling can be. I’m very proud to be a part of Recycle BC and would like to thank the local governments, First Nations, private companies and other organizations who have partnered with us to make this program such a success. But, most of all, I would like to thank the people of B.C. Keep up the good work—your efforts are making a tangible difference. When you put the material in your blue bin or, take it to the depot, it allows us to do our job and recycle it responsibly.”

Please see our Program Overview and Impact for more information on Recycle BC’s key achievements over the last decade.