Plastic squeeze tubes recycling pilot background

From May – July 2018, Recycle BC, in partnership with More Recycling and leading manufacturers, conducted a Plastic Squeeze Tubes Consumer Outreach Pilot Study in the City of Coquitlam.

What was the study?

Plastic squeeze tubes are currently not accepted in blue box recycling in BC. In order for product packaging or other materials to be accepted in a recycling program, it is important that they are compatible with recycling systems so that they can be collected and processed back into a new product. Recycle BC, More Recycling and leading manufacturers conducted a pilot study in Coquitlam to understand how residents prepared tubes for recycling and what types of tubes they included for recycling. This information will help to determine if tubes can be effectively collected for recycling in the future.

How it worked

All Coquitlam residents received a pink bag in the mail. Residents were encouraged to place empty squeeze tubes in the pink bag provided. When full, residents put the sealed pink bag in their blue box for recycling collection.

Consumer Outreach Pilot results

The primary goals of the consumer outreach pilot were to gauge the impact of simple education—”empty tube and replace cap”— to decrease the amount of product residue remaining in each tube as a result of the outreach, and to gather broad market share information on size and type of products packaged in tubes. The pilot collected qualitative market share data and quantitative data on product residue for the tubes collected during both the baseline and pilot periods.

View the Plastic Squeeze Tubes Consumer Outreach Pilot Report.

Additional research

In addition to the plastic squeeze tube consumer outreach pilot, More Recycling, in partnership with Recycle BC, facilitated a plastic squeeze tube recovery facility flow test at Recycle BC’s Container Recovery Facility (CRF) in British Columbia in July 2018. The flow study focused on two areas: 1) the number of tubes sorted to the plastic container line (PCL) and 2) the number of tubes diverted to the appropriate commodity stream.

View the Plastic Squeeze Tube Recovery Facility Flow Test Report.

Next steps

Recycle BC is reviewing the results and evaluating against its post-collection process to determine if plastic squeeze tubes can be effectively and responsibly added to the Recycle BC accepted material list.

More information

For more information please contact Recycle BC at info@recyclebc.ca or 778-588-9504. For more information about packaging and paper recycling in the City of Coquitlam, click here.