Here’s how to recycle your plastics during camping season

Jun 29 2022, 4:21 pm

We’ve all been there — packing up our campsite before returning home after an epic weekend enjoying Canada’s unmatched scenic beauty.

We’re tired and in need of a hot shower, so the temptation is there to throw everything in a garbage bag or to toss it in the trash can at the trailhead car park.

Even though the urge is there sometimes, we must do all we can to protect the environment — even if sorting through your recyclable materials adds an extra 15 minutes to the journey home. 

BC Park’s Responsible Recreation Guide emphasizes the importance of cleaning up after you’ve visited. Waste ruins the enjoyment of the park for other visitors and it attracts wildlife and increases wildlife-human conflict. Our parks are not self-cleaning — it’s up to us as visitors to leave nature the way we found it by packing up and taking home garbage, organics, and recyclables.

Camping season is well underway and Recycle BC is reminding day-trippers and both car and backcountry campers to “pack lean, leave clean” by ensuring people bring their plastics home to be recycled at a suitable Recycle BC depot.

Soft plastics that are actually recyclable

Typical items from a camp trip or lake day that could be diverted from landfill — with some careful planning on your part — include plastic bags, overwrap, and other flexible plastic packaging.

Recycle BC depots or drop-off locations also accept the majority of packaging for camping foods, including energy bar wrappers, chocolate bar wrappers, energy gel packets, and snack and candy pouches with zippers (think jerky, moon cheese, hydration powder, and meal pouches). These items should not be included in household recycling.

Where to recycle

To make recycling more convenient and to encourage more households to make recycling part of their weekly (and camping) routine, Recycle BC offers a range of recycling options.

You can still recycle hard plastic packaging, metal containers, cartons, paper, and glass (in some communities) at home.

Flexible plastic packaging, plastic bags, overwrap, and foam packaging can be dropped off at London Drugs, free of charge.

And you can choose between free Recycle BC bottle depots, eco depots, transfer stations, waste management centres, selected Return It locations, and landfills for the following items: flexible plastic packaging, plastic bags, overwrap, hard plastic packaging, metal containers, cartons, paper, glass bottles and jars, and foam packaging.

For more information on what items can be accepted at each recycle location, use the Recycle BC search function.

Keep an eye out on Recycle BC’s Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter pages for more information — including soft plastic and foam collection events.

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