As of Friday, June 1, stand-up pouches, crinkly potato chip bags and net bags for produce – just a few examples of items that fall under the umbrella category of Other Flexible Plastic Packaging – will be collected by 116 depots throughout the province as part of a research and development project led by Recycle BC. This material is accepted at participating depots only, it is not accepted in curbside or multi-family recycling.
The project will determine how best to recycle materials in this category, which is one of the fastest growing packaging types on the market, and one of the largest categories of packaging not previously collected under the residential recycling program. The not-for-profit has partnered with Merlin Plastics to research a solution to recycle this type of packaging, which presents challenges due to the combined materials involved. Any packaging collected during the project that can’t be recycled will be recovered and produced into engineered fuel. The project will also be supported by Green by Nature, Recycle BC’s post-collection partner.
“Each day, we move closer toward our ultimate goal of collecting all types of packaging,” said Allen Langdon, Managing Director of Recycle BC. “We’re excited to be developing a viable commercial process to recycle these common but tough-to-process items, and ultimately to bring more recycling options to communities throughout the province.”
The program expansion is being rolled out in three phases, with the first round of depots beginning collection June 1, followed by additional depots voluntarily beginning collection September 1. As of January 1, 2019, all Recycle BC depots in the province are expected to collect this type of packaging.
Examples of materials that are accepted as part of Other Flexible Plastic Packaging:
Stand-up and Zipper Lock Pouches
- Zipper lock pouches for frozen foods like prawns, berries and prepared food
- Zipper lock bags for fresh foods like grapes, berries and deli meat
- Stand-up pouches for baby food and hand soap refills
- Stand-up and zipper lock pouches for items like dried fruits, granola, sugar, oatmeal, quinoa, dish detergent pods and grated cheese
Crinkly Wrappers and Bags
- Bags for potato chips, candy, dried pasta, coffee and cereal
- Wrappers for cheese slices, snack bars and instant noodles
Flexible Packaging with Plastic Seal
- Packaging for fresh pasta, pre-packaged deli meats and pre-packaged cheese
Woven and Net Plastic Bags
- Net bags for avocados, onions, oranges, lemons and limes
- Woven plastic bags for rice
Non-food Protective Packaging
- Padded protective plastic like plastic shipping envelopes, plastic air packets and bubble wrap
Examples of materials that will not be part of the expanded program:
- Plastic Squeeze Tubes
- Plastic-lined Paper
- Paper-lined Plastic
- Plastic Strapping
- 6-pack Rings
- Biodegradable or Oxo Plastic
To learn more about the Other Flexible Plastic Packaging program and to view a list of depots, please visit RecycleBC.ca/FlexiblePackaging.
Click here for a list of photo examples of Other Flexible Plastic Packaging.