What Happens To Your Recyclables?

Our recycling process (collection, trucking and re-manufacturing)

After dropping off your recyclables at the Pender Island Recycling Depot the items are bagged, baled, crushed and/or stored for transport to one of several organizations or businesses that are part of the British Columbia recycling process.

Once or twice a week your recyclables are loaded onto our 21-foot diesel truck for transport to Vancouver Island. Our goal is to travel the shortest distance possible with these loads and, where information and proof is available, to track the remainder of the recycling process. We want to know what happens to your recyclables and to minimize the environmental impact throughout the life cycle of each product in question. Scroll down the page for details concerning each recycling product category (in alphabetical order).


You may be surprised to learn that the revenue received from the recyclables collected at the depot barely, or do not, cover our collection, loading and trucking costs. Thanks to your recycling depot membership dues and generous donations, our CRD service contract, donated refundable beverage containers, non-ferrous scrap metals, and payments from product stewards (e.g., Product Care for paint and small appliances/power tools) we continue to operate.

Bagged beverage containers (top) and baled hard plastics ready for transport

Aluminum Cans

Aluminum cans are most often re-manufactured into aluminum cans within six weeks, saving a tremendous amount of raw material while using 95% less energy to manufacture when compared to making new cans from virgin material. Bi-metal cans (non-aluminum cans, usually steel) are melted down into scrap metal.


Appliances - Large

Large appliances are loaded and trucked to Williams Scrap Metals & Irons in Victoria or the Highlands. The scrap metal value of an appliance does not pay for the truck space and costs required to transport it to Victoria. We are also charged a drop off fee for each appliance containing freon (fridges, freezers and coolers).


Appliances - Small Appliances & Power Tools

All small appliances and power tools are bagged or palletized, then loaded and trucked to the Product Care transfer station in Sidney. Product Care pays us for these products by the tonne, enough to cover our collection and transportation costs.


Batteries & Cellphones

Every six months, vehicle batteries are picked up by a company from Duncan. Household batteries and cellphones are boxed and transported by Call2Recycle. A thermal recovery process reclaims the metals (nickel, iron, cadmium, lead, and cobalt) from the batteries and prepares them for use in new products such as new batteries and stainless steel.

We receive some revenue for vehicle batteries, household batteries, and cellphones.


Computers, printers, TV’s and other electronics are bagged on-site and transported to the Encorp transfer station in Sidney. Electronic waste contains some valuable resources but must be processed and recycled in a safe and environmentally sound manner. E-Cycle Solutions, Sims Recycling and Teck Cominco are the primary vendors who provide recycling services for these end-of-life electronics collected under the Encorp Return-It Electronics program (return-it.ca). These vendors pass a rigorous environmental audit and assessment process before being chosen. We are paid by the tonne by Encorp for electronics, plus a trucking allowance.

Glass Containers 

Household glass jars and containers are collected in large mega bags and are transported to Victoria to Green by Nature. Funding for the collection of glass containers on Pender comes from Recycle BC by way of the CRD; transportation costs are paid for by Green by Nature. 

Glass containers are ground down into small pieces called "cullet" and used in the manufacturing of a variety of things such as fiberglass insulation, sandblasting material, and sand for golf-course sand traps. Ground glass is also added to asphalt in the making of new roads.

Household Metal Containers & Scrap Metal

Tin cans, aluminum cat food cans and aluminum foil are compacted on-site using our depot can crushing machine. These “bricks” are transported to Green by Nature in Victoria. Funding for the collection of metal containers comes from Recycle BC by way of the CRD; transportation costs are paid for by Green by Nature. 

Tin (steel) cans are ground up into little pieces, shipped to a steel mill where it is melted and formed, and then sold to manufacturers who recycle it into everything from rebar to new cars and bridges. Steel is the most recycled material on earth, and is an infinite source of recycling because it doesn’t lose its integrity or strength with reuse. Making steel from recycled material uses only 25% of the energy it takes to make steel from virgin ore.

Other ferrous and non-ferrous metals (e.g., scrap metal, copper, and brass) are transported to Williams Scrap Metals & Irons in Victoria.

The price per pound for scrap metals fluctuates. At the current time, we do not receive sufficient revenue from ferrous metal to cover the labour intensive scrap metal sorting and loading process, and trucking costs. We usually recover our costs on non-ferrous metals.

Juice Containers, Milk & Soup/Broth Cartons

Milk and soup/broth cartons are collected at the depot in mega bags and then transported to Green by Nature in Victoria. Funding for the collection of these cartons comes from Recycle BC by way of the CRD; transportation costs are paid for by Green by Nature. 

Juice boxes (called tetra paks) and gable-top juice cartons (polycoated containers) are hydra-pulped to separate the paper, plastic and foil. The paper is turned into pulp and put to use again as cardboard boxes. For every ton of paper pulp recycled, approximately 17 trees are saved.

Light Bulbs & Lighting Fixtures

Light bulbs are boxed and lighting fixtures collected in large bags, and both are picked up by Product Care.

We are paid by volume by Product Care for all light bulbs and fixtures collected.

Paint & Paint Containers

Reusable paint dropped off in the paint exchange area of the depot is displayed and available for Pender Island residents to take away and use. Empty paint containers and paint that is no longer usable is picked up under the Product Care Paint Stewardship Program and transported to Surrey. Once there, it is sorted for possible reuse or disposal (PaintRecycle).

We receive a monthly fee from Product Care for collecting paint and a small fee per container for those reused on-island.

Paper Products

Mixed paper and newsprint are loaded onto our truck and transported to Green by Nature in Victoria.

The mixed paper and newsprint is de-inked and returned to a pulp form, ultimately to be remade into recycled newsprint and other paper products.

Cardboard is baled in our depot cardboard baler and also delivered to Green by Nature in Victoria. It is remade into cardboard and boxboard.

Funding for the collection of paper products on Pender comes from Recycle BC by way of the CRD; transportation costs are paid for by Green by Nature. 

Plastic Bags

Soft plastic packaging or film is baled in our soft plastic baler. Bales are transported to Green by Nature in Victoria.

Funding for the collection of plastic bags on Pender comes from Recycle BC by way of the CRD; transportation costs are paid for by Green by Nature. 

Plastic Packaging & Rigid Plastic

Plastic packaging is baled in our high volume baler. They are transported to Victoria and delivered to Green by Nature. 

Funding for the collection of plastic packaging on Pender comes from Recycle BC by way of the CRD; transportation costs are paid for by Green by Nature. 

Plastics that are not packaging (such as plastic lawn chairs and household items) are taken to Merlin Plastic in Delta, BC. 

Plastic are power-washed then shredded and power-washed again. From there, the shredded material is sold to companies who pull, stretch and meld the shreds into fibre for new bottles and buckets. Recycling plastics uses about 1/3 less energy than manufacturing new plastic.

Refundable Beverage Containers

All refundable drink containers, such as glass beer and wine bottles, aluminum beer cans,  wine boxes, and plastic liquor bottles and are bagged and picked up by a Bottle Depot in Langford. Our refundable beverage containers are picked up every 8-12 weeks.

We receive the full recycling fee for all of these products.


All thermostats are shipped to Tri-Arrow Industrial Recovery Inc. where they are counted, documented and dismantled. The glass, plastic and metal components are separated and sent for recycling. The program recycles 100% of the material recovered.


Tires collected during our Tire Collection Month each May are transported to Target Recycling/Island Tire Recycling in Chemainus. These old tires are processed into “crumb rubber” which in turn become everything from school running tracks and speed bumps to roofing tiles and railway ties.

We receive no revenue from tires.

Smoke and CO Alarms

Smoke alarms, CO alarms and combination smoke and CO alarms are collected, boxed and picked up by Product Care.

We receive payment per box collected.