A bale of compressed, recycled plastic bottles.

New items added to City’s recycling program

As of January 1, 2023 additional materials are now accepted in City’s recycling program.  The Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy updated the Recycling Regulation to now include single-use items and packaging-like products, expanding on what residents can put in their recycling carts and bins or take to recycle depots in Kamloops.

One example of what these changes include is that prior to the updates to the regulation taking effect, only plastic or paper cups that were purchased for take-out were accepted.  Now plastic and paper cups purchased at a retail store are included in the recycling program. Similarly, the updated regulation added aluminum foil, pie plates and baking trays to the list of accepted items. Prior to these changes, these items were only accepted if they were purchased with take-out food in them.

Some residents might have been wondering why a paper cup from a coffee shop was accepted in the City’s recycling program prior to 2023, but a paper cup that you bought in a package at a retail store was not. It comes down to how the provincial recycling program is funded, and more generally, how recycling in BC works.

“Provincial recycling programs are funded by producers through what is called Extended Producer Responsibility, or EPR, whereby producers are responsible for paying the cost of recycling the materials that they sell,” explains Marcia Dick, the City’s Solid Waste Reduction Coordinator.  “In BC, producers of packaging-like products and single-use items are now required to pay for these items to be recycled. Many residents had likely already been placing these items into their recycling, but before this update to the Recycling Regulation, these products were essentially getting a free ride.  Now they are officially part of our program.”

The list of new items accepted in City residential recycling curbside carts and bins is quite extensive and includes:

  • aluminum foil, metal tins, aluminum pie plates, aluminum baking dishes
  • plastic plant pots, plastic cups, plastic gift boxes
  • plastic food storage containers, plastic straws, plastic stir sticks, plastic utensils
  • plastic disposable hangers, plastic dental floss case, plastic tape dispensers
  • paper cups, paper plates, cardboard storage boxes, carboard moving boxes, paper gift boxes, paper bags, paper lunch bags, paper piñatas, paper gift bags, paper hats, and paper party décor.

Residents can now also take plastic carry-out bags, plastic freezer bags, plastic wrap, plastic drop sheets, squishy foam packaging, foam bows and foam cups to a Recycle BC depot (e.g. General Grant’s).

Recycling is an ever-changing landscape driven by market forces and technology. The City encourages residents to stay up to date by using the Waste Wise Kamloops app, available on the website Kamloops.ca/WasteWise or free in the app stores.

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