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Established in 1990, the RCBC Recycling Hotline is a free, province-wide live information service for recycling, pollution prevention, waste avoidance, safe disposal options and regulations.

Our Environmental Advisors answer over 80,000 inquiries each year, providing information to BC residents from our comprehensive database containing over 120 product and service categories and 4,000 listings of businesses, services, organizations and programs.  It covers a wide range of topics and options including drop-off locations, pick-up companies, municipal curbside information, reuse options, and special events.  Our team provides each caller with personalized information because our database cross-references materials, services and communities in every region of the province.

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Top 10

Here are the top 10 materials we received questions about in 2021.

Car and Light Truck Tires

Tire Stewardship BC (TSBC) operates a province-wide program for car and light truck tires, up to 4 off-rim tires are free to drop off at many tire retailers. They also host tire round-up events and provide large-volume collection to commercial generators.

Disposable Propane Tanks

Disposable propane tanks are small, single-use canisters commonly used for camping stoves and small BBQs. Because they are under pressure, these tanks should be handled carefully and never disposed of as garbage.

Used Motor Oil

Motor oil is a highly recyclable material and can be reused over and over again. There is a collection system for both residential and commercial volumes operated by the BC Used Oil Management Association (BCUOMA).

Plastic Packaging Foam

Expanded polystyrene foam is a common packaging material for products ranging from electronics to fresh meats. Residential foam packaging is recycled through the Recycle BC program for packaging and printed paper.

Large Appliances

BC’s recycling program for large appliances covers products from over-the-range microwaves to air conditioners. Operated by the Major Appliance Recycling Roundtable (MARR) there are free drop off facilities province-wide.

Refillable Propane Tanks

Refillable propane tanks range in size from 5lbs to over 100lbs and are used in a wide variety of applications. Because they are under pressure, these tanks should be handled carefully and never disposed of as garbage.

Household Paint

Residential paint products like house paint, paint aerosols, and stains are recyclable through the Product Care Paint recycling program. Many depots also participate in a Paint Share program, making paint available for reuse at no cost.

Flammable Liquids

Flammable liquids include products like paint thinners, camping fuels, and kerosene. Many of these products are recyclable through the Product Care Household Hazardous Waste recycling program.

Ferrous Metals

Ferrous metals are metals that contain iron and are usually magnetic. They are routinely recycled at landfills, transfer stations, scrap metal recycling facilities, and some recycling depots.

Household Hazardous Waste

Household Hazardous Waste includes a range of materials that require special handling for safe disposal and cannot go into the garbage. 

Common FAQs

Our Environmental Advisors put together answers for the questions we commonly receive in these FAQs.

Most often food packaging belongs in your recycling bin rather than your organics bin. There are some cases, however, where paper packaging gets too soiled to go in with clean paper for recycling. If you get curbside collection for food scraps, some soiled paper products can go into your curbside organics bin. If you are not sure if your community has a food scraps collection program, please contact the RCBC Recycling Hotline.

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No. Broken glass is hazardous to the workers who collect and sort your recyclables.

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Empty refillable and non-refillable propane tanks are accepted at most landfills and transfer stations for recycling as scrap metal.

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Empty aerosol spray cans, including those for food, air fresheners, shaving cream, hairspray and textile sprays, are included in a provincial recycling program, managed by Recycle BC. To ensure that any excess residue is eliminated, hold down the can’s nozzle and spray out the contents into an old rag until you do not hear any sound, not even air. Once the aerosol can is empty, many municipalities accept these items in the curbside recycling bin. For residents who do not have this option, these cans can be recycled free of charge at a number of recycling depots across the province. For more information on this program, visit the Recycle BC website, or contact the RCBC Recycling Hotline.

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Many municipalities provide blue boxes or bags to their residents, provided that the recycling pick-up service is provided by your city. Many multi-family complexes receive pick-up from a private contractor due to different property tax structures.

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Phone books are fully recyclable. All curbside recycling programs accept phone books as mixed waste paper.

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Residential polystyrene foam packaging is included in a provincial recycling program managed by Recycle BC. This includes foam polystyrene packaging (styrofoam) to protect appliances as well as foam take out and meat containers. For a complete list of accepted products, visit the Recycle BC website.

Visit RCBC’s Recyclepedia for drop-off options or contact the RCBC Recycling Hotline for all options available in your community.

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Crinkly wrappers and bags are included in a province wide recycling program for packaging and printed paper under a category called “Other Flexible Plastic Packaging.” This program is managed by an organization called Recycle BC. This category would include wrappers for candy and cookies, cereal bags, potato chip bags, and other products. For a complete list of included items, please visit the Recycle BC website. These plastics are not included in the curbside recycling program, but can be dropped off at a participating depot free of charge. Visit RCBC’s Recyclepedia for drop-off options or contact the RCBC Recycling Hotline for all options available in your community.

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Environmental Handling Fees (EHFs) reflect the cost of recycling the item you are purchasing. The collection of EHFs funds the recycling program, including depot operation, shipping and storage of collected electronics, and public education. For a complete list of the different Environmental Handling Fees charged on electronics, visit the Return-It website.

Visit RCBC’s Recyclepedia for drop-off options or contact the RCBC Recycling Hotline for all options available in your community.

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RCBC Guides

Our Environmental Advisors put together these guides for questions and topics that require more in-depth discussion.

The RCBC Circular Economy Guide (2020)
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The RCBC History of Recycling in BC
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The RCBC Christmas Light Recycling Guide
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