Wait! Don’t put that in your recycling

Even avid recyclers might be surprised that certain items should stay out of Multi-Material BC (MMBC) recycling bins. Here are the top five problem materials of 2015:


  1. Books

While magazines, catalogues and phone books are covered under the BC recycling regulation and are collected with other printed paper under MMBC’s stewardship program, hardcover and paperback books, such as novels, text books and reference materials, are not accepted. There are many options for keeping books out of the landfill:

• Consider reselling, handing down or donating so that someone else can enjoy them.

• Many libraries, thrift stores and community organizations will accept gently used books, but be sure to call first to ensure there is a need.

• In some parts of the province, Discover Books provides drop off bins (and even curbside collection for larger quantities). They will resell, redistribute or recycle your books for you.

• In other areas, private depots accept books.

• Contact the Recycling Council of BC (RCBC) for more information and options near you.


  1. Plastic products

Most plastic packaging is accepted either curbside or at depots; however, plastic products are not as they are not included in the BC recycling regulation for packaging and printed paper. This includes items such as plastic lunch containers and storage bins, zipper-lock bags, stretch wrap and plastic toys. Contact RCBC at 1-800-667-4321 or 604-732-9253 for other recycling options.


  1. Garbage and compost

Diapers, food scraps, broken dishes – you name it, we’ve seen it. Whether intentional or unintentional, over-recycling does more harm than good. You can help ensure your packaging and printed paper has a second life by keeping garbage or other un-recyclables out of your recycling.


  1. Bagged recycling

Recycling should always be put loose into your bin or approved collection container. Tying it up in a grocery or garbage bag makes it difficult for processors to know what is inside and, for safety considerations, we cannot open the bags due to a high risk of work place injuries. Bagging your recycling may prevent it from getting recycled at all. When it comes to recycling, loosey-goosey is best.


  1. Scrap Metal

Aluminum and steel packaging, such as foil take out containers and tin cans, are accepted in MMBC’s program. All metal products and scrap metal, however, should be excluded.  You might be surprised to know that we have seen everything from frying pans, cannon balls, a kitchen sink and lawnmower blades go through Material Recovery Facilities (MRFs), where recycling is sorted and bailed.  Not only are these items not included in MMBC’s packaging and printed paper stewardship program, they are dangerous for workers and cause damage to belts and other machinery. Please contact RCBC at 1-800-667-4321 or 604-732-9253 for other recycling and safe disposal options.

By keeping these top five contaminants out of your MMBC recycling, you can be sure more will be recycled, and less packaging and printed paper will end up in landfills. Thanks for doing your part!