Frequently Asked Questions

Below are the most Frequently Asked Questions of recycling depot staff.
And the answers.
1. How can I tell which plastics are recyclable?

We accept most clean plastic packaging. Plastic straps are not recyclable as they get caught in machinery. If you are unsure whether we can accept a certain item, please ask a depot staff member for assistance.

For non-packaging plastic, please check with staff. Non-packaging plastic (e.g., a lawn chair) must be clean, free of paint, and contain no metal. There is a small charge for these items as they can not be recycled with plastic packaging and must be taken to Vancouver.

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. Thank you.

3. Do I need to take the labels off jars and cans?

No, however labels left on cans and jars will not be recycled. If you remove the labels you can recycle them with paper.

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 bottles and crush cans?

No. A full bag of refundables is estimated to contain a particular count (e.g., 288 cans in a clear plastic bag). If you flatten the containers it takes more to fill the bag and we lose the deposit on the extra containers in the bag.

6. Can plastic bags be recycled with plastic containers?

It’s a common mistake, but no.

Soft, stretchy plastic bags are accepted separately in a bin marked Plastic Bags.

Ziplocs, saran-wrap, shrink-wrap,  plastic/foil zippered pouches, bubble envelopes, mesh onion/avocado bags, and crinkly chip and candy wrappers go in the Crinkly Plastics bin.

Fused paper-and-bubblewrap envelopes and pop/beer can yokes are garbage.

FYI: Cloth bags are often available for free at the recycle depot. They can be found in the FreeStore and hanging by the paper basket.

7. Can aluminum foil be recycled with cans?

Yes: aluminum and steel cans are collected together. Please help us by washing off any food contamination. The food remnants tempt raccoons, rats and ravens to dig through accumulated foil, making quite a mess.

8. If something is made from recycled paper or plastic, can it be recycled again?

While it’s true that recycling paper and plastic over and over 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.

When glass, paper and cans are recycled, they become similar products that can be used and recycled over and over 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. For example, pop bottles might become carpet or stuffing for sleeping bags; 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 more recycled 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, TV's, CD's, DVD's, VCR tapes, cassette tapes, cellphones, light bulbs (including fluorescent), as well as batteries 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



Other stuff:

Check out these creative recycling programs. Preserve transforms pesky plastics into recycled toothbrushes, razors and the like.

Pender Island Recycling Society

(250) 629.6962 | E-mail »