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Frequently Asked Questions
1. How can I tell which plastics are recyclable?
Packaging plastic We accept plastic containers, plastic bags, and flexible plastic packaging. Most plastic packaging is recyclable as long as it is clean. There are a few items that are not, such as: plastic strapping - which gets caught in the machinery - and paper/plastic combinations (for example, paper envelopes with bubble wrap inside). If you are unsure if we can accept a certain item, please ask a depot attendant for assistance.
We also recycle non-program plastic, such as plastic storage containers and lawn chairs, which are collected separately from packaging.
Non-program plastic must be clean, free of paint, and free of metal. There is a small charge for these items as they must be taken to Vancouver for processing and recycling.
Plastic appliances can be recycled with the small appliances (toasters, etc.) and plastic electronics (stereos, computers, CD cases) in the Encorp electronics program.
We also collect pop/beer can yokes, these are recycled separately as well.
2. How clean do plastic packaging, metal containers, and cardboard need to be before I place them into the depot recycling bins?
The cleaner the better, but a little residue at the top of a bottle, for example, is fine. Please remove all food bits (it keeps the rats at bay), and rinse juice and pop containers to keep the wasps away.
3. Do I need to take the labels off jars and cans?
No, however labels that are left on cans and jars become waste during the recycling process.
If you remove labels the paper labels can be recycled with paper and the plastic labels can be recycled with Flexible Plastic Packaging.
4. Can caps and lids be recycled?
Yes, metal lids can be placed in the tin can bins and plastic lids in the plastic packaging bins.
5. Should I flatten plastic pop bottles and crush cans?
No. The deposit received by the depot for refundables is based on volume rather than a bottle count so flattening bottles and cans results in a reduced refund.
6. Can plastic bags be recycled with plastic containers?
It’s a common mistake, but no.
Plastic bags and zippered pouches should be placed in the Flexible Plastics category.
Fused paper-and-bubblewrap envelopes are garbage.
Pop/beer can yokes are also recycled separately.
FYI: If you would like an alternative to plastic bags, cloth bags are
often available in the Freestore.
7. Can aluminum foil be recycled?
Yes - aluminum foil is collected with tin cans.
Please wash off any food residue otherwise raccoons, rats, and ravens will dig through the foil and make a mess.
8. If something is made from recycled paper or plastic, can it be recycled again?
While it’s true that repeatedly recycling paper and plastic will degrade the quality, that doesn’t mean you can’t recycle it. Many recycled products contain a percentage of both virgin and post-consumer recycled content.
Glass, paper, and tin cans become similar products that can be used and then recycled again.
With plastics recycling, however, there is usually only a single reuse. According to EcoCycle, most bottles and jugs don’t become food and beverage containers again. Pop bottles may become carpet or stuffing for sleeping bags; and milk jugs are often made into plastic lumber, recycling bins, and toys.
Plastic is a great starting place for reducing your reliance on single-use containers, such as plastic water bottles.
Be inspired to rethink and reuse. Try carrying a reusable drinking container like a metal water bottle instead.
With paper, the quality of the recycled fibre is assessed at a mill. The higher-quality fibre is used to create paper, while the shorter, lower-quality fibre is turned into things like toilet paper, paper towels, and cereal boxes.
Some cardboard and paper can be composted. See how easy it is to compost at home by visiting Victoria's Compost Education Centre website.
9. How do I find out what to do with hard-to-recycle items?
Ask a depot staff member, look for further information on this website, and/or visit MyRecyclopedia. A wide variety of products are recycled at our depot for free or for a small fee. Appliances, light fixtures, computers, printers, stereos, TVs, CDs, DVDs, VCR tapes, cassette tapes, cellphones, light bulbs (including fluorescent), as well as household and car batteries are just some of the items you can recycle with very little effort by bringing them to our depot.
Also see British Columbia's Recycling Handbook (a simple guide to what can be recycled under BC's stewardship programs) at bcstewards.com
Check out these creative recycling programs. Preserve transforms pesky plastics into recycled toothbrushes, razors and the like.