More questions? Find answers to more commonly asked questions here.
Join RCBC – Become a Member Today!Learn More
Plastic household items are not included in any of BC’s regulated recycling programs. Some municipal and regional landfills, transfer stations, and recycling facilities may accept certain types of plastics for recycling, independent of provincial programs.
Certain Metro Vancouver Recycling and Waste Centres accept residential quantities of bulky rigid plastics (Plastic Codes 2 & 5 including storage containers, patio furniture, toys, laundry baskets, trash and recycling bins, durable food storage containers, and reusable water bottles). Follow the link to see which plastics each facility accepts.
Some private plastic recyclers accept plastic household items for recycling, usually at a cost.
More questions? Find answers to more commonly asked questions here.
In BC, an organization called Recycle BC is responsible for residential plastic packaging collection and recycling. Government regulations stipulate that Recycle BC must approve the end markets for all of their materials before they are transferred. In the case of plastic, 99 percent remains in Canada, processed by Merlin Plastics. Less than 1% of plastic is shipped overseas in the form of densified polystyrene, and this constitutes only a portion of the foam they collect. For more information about how they manage the plastics they collect, see their annual reports and their response to the 2019 CBC Marketplace story. This foam is used in picture frames. For more information, please contact Recycle BC.Learn More
There is no standard recycling program in BC that accepts broken blue bins for recycling. If the blue bin you have has a plastic resin code visible on it, some plastic recyclers will accept the bin for recycling, often at a cost. Visit RCBC’s Recyclepedia for drop-off options or contact the RCBC Recycling Hotline for all options available in your community.Learn More
There is no regulation in BC that requires plastic products that are produced in or imported into the province to be recyclable or included in a recycling program.Learn More
There is no set recycling program in BC that accepts plastics from businesses. Recycling for plastics from businesses, institutions, and commercial applications is offered as a service by private waste management and recycling companies, generally at a cost. Contact your local service providers for details on accepted materials and fees.Learn More
Residential packaging foam and flexible plastics are accepted for recycling at all Recycle BC depot locations. They should not be placed in curbside or multi-family collection containers, unless expressly permitted by the service provider. Most residential recycling systems operate through the Recycle BC program, which prohibits these materials from inclusion in curbside recycling.Learn More
The symbol consisting of a number surrounded by a triangle, or three arrows in the shape of a triangle, is a resin identification code used to identify the type of plastic an item is made of. It does not mean the item can be recycled.Learn More
Many “certified biodegradable” or “certified compostable” plastics may not sufficiently biodegrade in existing commercial composting or digestion facilities. To be safe, leave them out of your green bin unless your municipality or your service provider specifically says their processing facility accepts them.Learn More
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.Learn More
Plastic and paper-fibre pots and trays, including those for seedlings, vegetable plants, and bedding plants, are included in a province-wide recycling program managed by Recycle BC.Learn More
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.Learn More
Residential polystyrene products such as egg cartons and meat trays are included in a province-wide recycling program managed by Recycle BC. Although this material is not accepted in most curbside recycling programs, it is accepted free of charge at a number of recycling depots in communities across the province.Learn More
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.Learn More
If the bubble wrap is in reusable condition, we would recommend saving it for future use. Otherwise, bubble wrap is included in a provincial recycling program for residential packaging and printed paper, under a category called “Other Flexible Plastic Packaging.” This program is managed by an organization called Recycle BC.
These plastics are not included in the curbside recycling program but can be dropped off at a participating depot free of charge. For a complete list of locations, visit the RCBC Recyclepedia or contact the RCBC Recycling Hotline.Learn More
Plastic bags and overwrap are included in a province-wide recycling program under Recycle BC. Included in this program are grocery and shopping bags, outer wrap for flats of beverage containers and diapers, garden product bags, and many more. For a complete list, visit the Recycle BC website. These items can be dropped off free of charge at a number of depot locations across the province. These items, once recycled, are turned into new plastic bags, plastic pallets, containers, or plastic decking material. Visit RCBC’s Recyclepedia for drop-off options or contact the RCBC Recycling Hotline for all options available in your community.
This program only includes plastic bags and overwrap from residents and does not include material from industry or commercial businesses. To see whether local options exist for commercial plastic recycling, contact the RCBC Recycling Hotline.Learn More
Wax and plastic lined food containers are included in a provincial recycling program for packaging and printed paper in BC. This program is managed by a non-profit organization called Recycle BC. Common examples of these containers are those for ice cream, microwavable meals, and milk products. These containers are included in many curbside recycling programs in BC and can be placed with household containers (not paper) once they are free of food residue.Learn More
While it’s best to ensure glass isn’t broken when including in your recycling, broken glass bottle and jars can be recycled.Learn More
Empty refillable and non-refillable propane tanks are accepted at most landfills and transfer stations for recycling as scrap metal.Learn More
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.Learn More
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.Learn More
Phone books are fully recyclable. All curbside recycling programs accept phone books as mixed waste paper.Learn More
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.Learn More
Brita Corporation has teamed up with TerraCycle and implemented a national recycling program for Brita filters. Used Brita filters can also be taken to most London Drugs locations across the province for free drop-off through their Green Deal Recycling program.Learn More
We’re BC’s trusted source of information on local curbside recycling services, province-wide Extended Producer Responsibility and stewardship programs, share, reuse and repair options, as well as best practices from around the world.