B.C. expands recycling program to include more items effective immediately 

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The B.C. government announced Friday its recycling system will now accept a wider array of single-use plastic items and packaging products in blue boxes and at recycling depots.

The goal is to make recycling easier and more convenient, as well as to keep the “environment healthy,” government officials said.

“Our government is working to ensure that people in B.C. can help to keep their communities and the environment healthy,” said Aman Singh, parliamentary secretary for the Ministry of Environment.

“By expanding our nation-leading recycling system to include more products, we are keeping more plastic out of our waterways and landfills.”

Newly accepted blue box items include:

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  • plastic plates, bowls and cups
  • plastic cutlery and straws
  • plastic food storage containers
  • plastic hangers (ones included with clothing purchases)
  • paper plates, bowls and cups (with thin plastic lining)
  • aluminum foil
  • aluminum-foil baking dishes and pie plates
  • metal storage tins (thin gauge)

Examples of flexible plastics now accepted at depots only:

  • plastic sandwich and freezer bags
  • plastic shrink wrap
  • flexible plastic drop sheets and covering
  • flexible plastic bubble wrap (not bubble wrap-lined paper)
  • flexible plastic recycling bags (blue or clear bags, or yellow or blue bags used for curb-side collection)
  • flexible plastic carry-out shopping bags (reusable)
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“This expanded materials list will allow more material to be recycled, keep it out of landfills and stop it from littering the environment,” said Tamara Burns, Recycle BC’s executive director.

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“Residents play a key role in recycling this material by enabling it to be collected – by putting it into their bins or taking materials to a depot.”

According to the Ministry of Environment, B.C. regulates the largest number of residential packaging and products in Canada, where companies and producers are responsible for the collection and recycling of the products created.

This program also promotes and encourages companies to create and design less harmful plastic packaging.

“These changes are effective immediately and are part of the CleanBC Plastics Action Plan, which aims to change how plastic is designed and used – from temporary and disposable to durable and reusable,” ministry staff said in a release.

“The action plan addresses problem plastics and single-use items through regulation, reduces new plastic by investing in reusable solutions, supports the processing and manufacturing of post-consumer plastics, as well as enabling the largest shore cleanup in B.C.’s history.”

The B.C. government said over the next four years, the province will be expanding producer responsibility programs to include mattresses, electric-vehicle batteries, and medical sharps.


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