5 Things You Can Recycle, But Probably Didn’t Know That You Could

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There’s a little dance John and I do down at our recycling bins every few days. We have our boxes and bags full of goods we don’t want to put in the trash, so we spend a few minutes reading labels, looking at the bottom of containers, and comparing them to symbols and graphics on the 8 bins in front of us.

5 Things You Can Recycle, But Probably Didn't Know That You Could

We hop from one bin to the next with items in hand. Cardboard, glass bottles, newsprint, no problem! What about cups, bottles, foil, or paper items that don’t blatantly appear on the bins’ helpful placards?

Luckily, Recycle BC has the very easy, and straightforward, “What Can I Recycle” tool to help you sort your discarded items. It lets you identify the items and tells you where they are accepted for recycling — such as curbside collection, multi-family collection, or at your local Recycle BC depot.

Since I’ve done the dance many times, I thought I would identify some of the top 5 Things You Can Recycle, But Probably Didn’t Know That You Could!

1. Coffee cups and lids

Yes, you can recycle all the cups that come with your morning coffee (lids and all)! That means paper cups for cold and hot beverages can go in your bin along with cartons and boxes for milk, broth, sauces, and more. These items are all accepted for curbside collection and multi-family collection. For collection, simply put the containers in your blue box or container bin, then put the paper sleeves in with mixed paper, in the yellow collection bag or paper bin.

2. Plastic bags

Yes, please recycle your plastic bags (just not in your blue bin)! Bread bags, grocery bags, dry cleaning bags, bulk food bags, even outer wrapping for feminine hygiene products. Overwrap on mattresses, furniture and electronic equipment can be recycled at Recycle BC depots only (including London Drugs stores).

3. Aluminum foil

John and I had a debate about this once, and now he’s totally won it. He was taking balled up aluminum foil out of our trash bag and putting it in our bin to take downstairs. I doubted his judgement, and I was in the wrong. Admitting it is the first step to wedded bliss…but I digress. You can totally recycle foil as well as foil take-out containers via your blue box or container recycling bin – just be sure to wash them out. This includes pie plates, food trays, even empty aluminum aerosol containers used for food, air fresheners, shaving cream, deodorant, hairspray, foam insulation, etc.

4. Spiral wound cans

Pringles cans, frozen orange juice cans, cranberry sauce and soup cans, all are welcome in your blue box or container recycling bin. Simply empty and rinse – you can even keep the labels on.

5. Foam packaging

Whether it’s your latest delivery from an online shopping giant, or a take-out container, you can recycle foam packaging, like Styrofoam! I was always scared to since on the “containers” bin that we have it says no Styrofoam, but that doesn’t mean it can’t ever be recycled. You can collect these items and return them to a nearby Recycle BC depot. Just don’t put it in your blue box or bin, as the material breaks and can affect the recyclability of it and the other material.

Still not sure what can be recycled? Download the Recycle BC App for Android or iOS and look it up on the spot.

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