A guide to plastic recycling in Vancouver

December 7, 2020
By: christina-summerfield

If you’re based in beautiful BC, hopefully you already have a good idea of the household plastic recycling practices in your local area – whether your garbage can be accepted at curbside, depots, or specialist centres across Vancouver. But the rules and exclusions can get a little tricky, so we’ve listed a few of the key items here to be clear and help you on your journey to being more eco friendly…

What types of plastic can be recycled in BC

Hard plastics – including milk jugs, plastic bottles, jars, tubs and take-out cups for cold beverages – can typically be recycled at curbside in your container bin. For a full and detailed list, check out the Recycle BC site.

Soft plastics – shopping bags, overwrap for furniture (not kitchen wrap), bread and produce bags, ziplock pouches, and frozen fruit or veg packaging (including net bags for items like onions and citrus fruits) – can only be recycled at a depot or London Drugs collection bin. Find your nearest recycling depot in Vancouver here

‘Other flexible packaging’ including chip bags, candy wrappers, and crinkly bags (think Haribo wrappers) can also be dropped in collection bins at London Drugs stores around BC. For a full list of what these recycling bins accept, check out their handy PDF guide.

The plastic pollution problem

Now that’s covered, let’s talk about the issues with recycling and some of the statistics behind our zero waste mission:

  • There are still numerous types of plastic packaging, including cellophane wrap, garbage bags, squeeze tubes and beer rings, which can’t be conventionally recycled in the BC area (or widely elsewhere) and so contribute to plastic pollution.
  • Many items sent for recycling do not realize their intended purpose – an estimated 86% of Canada’s plastic waste ends up in landfill¹.
  • The Canadian Government has acknowledged the divide between plastics use and actual recycling rates, and is set to ban single use plastics as early as 2021 including plastic bags, straws, cutlery, plates and stir sticks for hot beverages.²
  • The melting and recycling process of plastic not only produces the same harmful fumes as incineration, but also generates climate damaging carbon emissions.³
  • ‘Recycling’ of plastic typically translates to downcycling: chemicals from recycled plastics can leech into food products, so it is often used for items such as furniture and isn’t fit to be recycled again.

For too long we’ve failed to accept that the focus of the globally-recognized ‘reduce, reuse, recycle’ slogan should be prioritized in order – recycling has been treated as a fix-all, and promoted as such by companies and Governments alike. That’s why our mission at Livlite is to eliminate the need for single use packaging, without placing the burden on our customers.

Your one-stop zero waste shop

We currently carry everything from snacks and candy to pantry staples and household cleaning goods, delivered to your door in reusable jars or paper bags that are suitable for your home compost bin. Nothing needs to go in the trash bin!! Where physical zero waste stores mean lugging your containers to and from the store, our home delivery service across metro Vancouver makes a sustainable lifestyle that bit easier. Many of our goods are sourced from local Vancouver or BCl, none of them come in single-use containers, 97% are entirely plastic free, and we’re constantly adding new quality items. If there’s anything we’re missing that you’d like to be able to order from us, let us know! We’d love to hear from you and we’ll see what we can do. Ready to get started and reduce that carbon footprint? Shop our full range here.

¹http://publications.gc.ca/site/archivee-archived.html?url=http://publications.gc.ca/collections/collection_2019/eccc/En4-366-1-2019-eng.pdf, page ii

²https://pm.gc.ca/en/news/news-releases/2019/06/10/canada-ban-harmful-single-use-plastics-and-hold-companies-responsible 

³https://sciencing.com/disadvantages-recycled-plastics-7254476.html