5 ways the rules of recycling have changed while you weren't looking

Apr 11 2019, 6:38 pm

We all love this planet we call home, and there’s no better time to help preserve it than right now. (Well, ten years ago would have helped too, but here we are.)

These days, most Vancouverites are living a fast-paced lifestyle, looking to find the perfect balance between work, socializing, a healthy diet, and most importantly, exercising. But what about those tasks that you often leave until the last minute?

Recycling can easily fall into the “I’ll do it later” category, and as a result, you could end up throwing all of your items to be recycled into one bin — not really thinking about what goes where — or ‘wish-cycling’ items that aren’t actually recyclable at the curb. And there are no gold stars awarded for that. But that doesn’t mean you can’t get back on track and regain a strong recycling game.

Doing your bit for the environment is admirable, it makes you feel like a better human, and it only takes a few minutes of your time to get right. With that in mind, let’s take a look at how the rules of recycling have changed while you weren’t looking.

Sorting is important

Remember the days when we weren’t as savvy about recycling as we are today? There may have been different sorting guidelines or no guidelines at all. Recycling in 2019 involves separating and sorting materials so they can best be managed for recycling, including some material that can be recycled, but only when returned to a depot, like foam packaging and plastic bags.

For starters, containers, like empty plastic bottles and tubs, metal cans, coffee cups and cartons, and items such as plastic garden pots, can all be put in your container bin to be picked up by curbside collection.

There are separate recycling bins for containers, paper, and glass

Recycling bins/Recycle BC

Let’s be real, effective recycling depends on the systems that can process the materials and in BC we have one of the best. Today, Recycle BC makes things easy so we can recycle as much as possible. In most communities, there are recycling bins for different material types — containers, paper, and glass. And, don’t forget, some materials can only be returned to a depot for recycling.

Sure, there are rules, but now you’ve got the tools you need to be a pro recycler and to turn the idea of recycling into a pretty fun game.

Food scraps can’t be put in your blue bin, but they can be composted


Whether you’ve gone above and beyond to cook a meal for your family, or you’ve enjoyed the best take out food you’ve had in years, your food scraps don’t go in the recycling bin. Certain (fully-rinsed) plastic containers do and you can find out exactly which ones fit the criteria here.

Food scraps, as well as fruit and vegetable waste, now have their very own bin where they are brought to a composting facility and turned in to compost soil. And by using your compost bin, you’re on your way to better things.

Flexible plastic packaging has a place to call home (and it’s not in your blue bin)

Flexible plastic packaging, often containing snacks or other food items (Jerky lovers, we see you), is one of the fastest growing packaging types on the market and the largest category of packaging that previously wasn’t collected by Recycle BC.

But now the material is collected at Recycle BC depots and London Drugs’ locations around BC so there’s sure to be a place near you for drop-offs. This packaging is also being collected as part of a bigger research and development project to determine how Recycle BC can best recycle this material.

You can have a material guide at hand 24/7

Using app/Shutterstock

One of the best parts about recycling in Vancouver is that you don’t even need to remember all of the rules by heart. You can have your very own recycling guide in your back pocket with the Recycle BC app. Download it today and be graced with recycling reminders, a guide on your nearest depots, and a searchable material list so you can recycle perfectly.

Visit Recycle BC now to find out more and get ready to begin your personal recycling revolution.

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