B.C. is expanding the types of plastics, paper and metal that are accepted for recycling in blue boxes or at depots.
In a news release, the B.C. government notes these recycling measures are separate from the federal government’s ban on the manufacturing and importing of single-use plastics that came into effect on Dec. 20.
“Our government is working to ensure that people in B.C. can help to keep their communities and the environment healthy. By expanding our nation-leading recycling system to include more products, we are keeping more plastic out of our waterways and landfills,” Aman Singh, parliamentary secretary for environment said in a news release.
“People across the province can now recycle a wider array of single-use plastics and other materials in their blue bins and at recycling depots. This builds on the significant progress we’ve made through the CleanBC Plastics Action Plan.”
Several items are not considered recyclable in B.C. Some can be put out in the regular blue box recycling, others have to be brought to a recycling depot.
Most of the items that can now be put for recycling are plastic items, which the federal government says in the country only nine per cent of plastics put into recycling are actually recycled, the rest are sent to landfills, waste-to-energy facilities or end up in the environment.
However, the Ministry of Environment says in 2021, approximately 90 per cent of all material collected through Recycle BC was recycled.
“While some other provinces and jurisdictions have had very low recycling rates – which meant that much of their recycling material has gone to landfill – B.C. has one of the best recycling systems in the country,” the ministry said in an email to CHEK News.
In the blue box recycling, the following items are now accepted:
- plastic plates, bowls and cups;
- plastic cutlery and straws;
- plastic food storage containers;
- plastic hangers (that come with clothing);
- paper plates, bowls and cups (with thin plastic lining);
- aluminum foil;
- aluminum-foil baking dishes and pie plates; and
- metal storage tins (thin gauge).
Recycling depots will now accept the following items:
- plastic sandwich and freezer bags;
- plastic shrink wrap;
- flexible plastic drop sheets and covering;
- flexible plastic bubble wrap (no bubble wrap-lined paper);
- flexible plastic recycling bags (blue, clear bags, or yellow or blue bags used for curb-side collection); and
- flexible plastic carry-out shopping bags (reusable).
RecycleBC has a resource available for people to search an item to check if it is recycleable, and where it can be recycled. That can be found here.