Can I recycle items that are not packaging or printed paper but are made from recyclable materials?

The Recycle BC program is for packaging and printed paper only. See what packaging and printed paper is accepted in our program here. Items collected in other recycling programs like deposit containers, hazardous household waste, batteries, and electronics, and other household waste such as garden hoses or food scraps, are not accepted for recycling in Recycle BC’s program. Other items, like books, that are in good condition can often be donated. Check Recycling Council of BC’s Recyclepedia to find out how to recycle or properly dispose of these materials.

Do I have to pay eco-fees on the products I buy?

Recycle BC does not charge any fees directly to residents.

Do I have to remove the labels from containers?

You can leave the labels on containers. Please ensure that containers are empty and rinsed.

Do I need to clean containers before adding them to my recycling?

Please empty containers and give them a quick rinse in leftover dishwater before adding them to recycling. This helps minimize any food residue spoiling the recyclability of materials and reduce pests and smells.

Does Recycle BC only accept plastic containers with the recycling symbol?

The symbol consisting of a number surrounded by a triangle or three arrows in the shape of a triangle is called the resin identification code, which is used to identify the type of plastic used to make the package. It does not mean the package can be recycled. If the plastic packaging appears on the list of materials accepted in the Recycle BC program, it’s accepted, regardless of whether it has the resin code. For more information about resin codes, click here.

How do I know if glass is collected from my curb or multi-family building?

Curbside glass collection varies across the province. If you live in an area directly served by Recycle BC, please check your recycling guide. If you do not live in an area directly served by Recycle BC, please check with your local government or recycling collector for information about glass collection in your community.

How does the Recycle BC program affect me?

In many BC communities, the municipal government provides packaging and printed paper recycling services to residents through curbside, multi-family, or depot collection programs with financial support from Recycle BC. In these communities, the municipal government communicates with residents about the community’s recycling program. Recycle BC is directly responsible for curbside recycling collection of packaging and printed paper in the following communities. Residents living in these communities should contact their recycling collector (listed on the community-specific pages) with questions about their recycling collection. The same materials are accepted everywhere the Recycle BC residential packaging and printed paper recycling program operates.

I have more recycling than fits in my collection containers.

If you have more recycling than fits in your collection container, please contact your recycling collection provider for information on additional collection containers. You can also conserve space by flattening plastic jugs and boxes and stacking containers that held the same contents, such as yogurt pots. There is no limit to the amount of packaging and printed paper you can recycle in our program.

Should I leave the lids on or off?

Please remove the lids and place them loose with container recycling.

What does “aseptic” mean?

Aseptic packaging is used to store long-life foods like soy, almond, and other milk-type beverages; cream; soup; broth; and sauces on a shelf, rather than in the refrigerated aisle. Empty aseptic containers or cartons are accepted in the Recycle BC program.

What happens to materials when they are collected?

After your packaging and printed paper is collected, it’s sorted and compacted into bales. The bales are sold to material remanufacturers, who process the contents into something that can be used again. Fewer new resources are required when starting with recycled materials. Learn more about what happens to your recycling in this short video and infographic. In 2014, over 93% of the materials collected in the Recycle BC residential packaging and printed paper recycling program was sent to material remanufacturers.

What is “overwrap”?

Overwrap is the plastic packaging around things like flats of pop, diapers, paper towels, etc. and is accepted in the Recycle BC program at a Recycle BC depot.

What materials are accepted in Recycle BC’s residential packaging and printed paper recycling program?

The Recycle BC residential packaging and printed paper recycling program accepts packaging (for example, containers, cans, jugs, jars, boxes, and drink cups) that residents bring home surrounding the goods they purchase, and printed paper (for example magazines, flyers, letters, envelopes and other printed paper for household use). These materials are accepted in curbside, multi-family, and depot collection programs throughout much of BC. The program is financed by the retailers, manufacturers, and other organizations that supply these materials to BC residents and managed by Recycle BC on behalf of these organizations. See what packaging and printed paper is accepted in Recycle BC’s packaging and printed paper recycling program here.

Who do I contact for more info about my recycling collection?

For more information about your recycling collection, please contact the recycling collector listed on our direct service community pages here. If you are not in one of our direct service communities, please contact your municipality for questions regarding your recycling.

Who is Recycle BC?

Retailers, manufacturers, and other organizations that supply packaging and printed paper to BC residents are responsible for collecting and recycling these materials when residents are finished with them. This is called extended producer responsibility, or EPR. Recycle BC is a non-profit organization that uses fees paid by these organizations to finance residential recycling programs in many areas across BC, either directly or by working with local governments, First Nations, private companies and other non-profit organizations. Recycle BC is among more than 20 EPR programs introduced in BC over the past two decades. Through these programs the manufacturers and retailers of items such as beverage containers, electronics, paint, used oil, tires and batteries are responsible for end-of-life management of these items. EPR is a way for businesses to manage the environmental impact of products during all stages of the product lifecycle, from selecting the materials used in production to collection and recycling when a product is no longer useful.

Why isn’t all packaging and printed paper materials accepted in curbside and multi-family recycling?

While many types of packaging and printed paper can be recycled and are included in Recycle BC’s residential packaging and printed paper recycling program, some materials need to be kept separate from others in order to be recycled, and some materials are not accepted. Click here to see Recycle BC’s material list. Foam packaging and plastic bags and overwrap: Some materials, like foam packaging and plastic bags and overwrap, require special handling, which is why we ask that they be kept separate from other recyclables and taken to depots. Plastic bags can also be taken to participating London Drug stores. Glass: Deposit glass containers should be returned to depots for refund. Non-deposit glass containers are collected at curbside and from multi-family buildings in some communities, where they are kept separate from other recyclables. Otherwise, residents can take glass containers to Recycle BC depots. Check with your recycling collection provider for how glass is handled in your community. Other packaging not included in the Recycle BC recycling program: Most packaging is included in Recycle BCs recycling program; however there are no recycling markets yet for a few types of packaging, such as stand-up pouches used to package foods such as snacks and sugar. Recycle BC works with manufacturers and recyclers to explore how to recycle these types of packaging so that they can be added to Recycle BC’s program in the future. Other materials: Items collected in other recycling programs like deposit containers, hazardous household waste, batteries, and electronics, and other household waste such as garden hoses or food scraps, are not accepted for recycling in our program. Check Recycling Council of BC’s Recyclepedia to find out how to recycle or properly dispose of these materials.

Why should items be loose in the collection container? Can they be in a plastic bag?

Items that are inside a plastic bag cannot be recycled properly. The sorting machines at the recycling facility cannot sort the materials and for safety reasons, staff cannot open these bags.