Many communities in BC are participating in MMBC’s packaging and printed paper recycling program. In most areas, local governments continue to provide collection services, but the list of accepted materials has been expanded. In the following communities, MMBC has directly assumed responsibility for curbside recycling.
Click on the community name below for a list of FAQs and Recycling Guides for that area.
- Pitt Meadows (September 2016)
- Prince George
- Regional District of North Okanagan including Armstrong, Coldstream, Electoral Areas B, C, D & F, Enderby, Lumby and Vernon
- Regional District of Central Kootenay (Areas H, I, J) including Brilliant, Upper Brilliant, Fairview, Lower Ootischenia, Upper Ootischenia, Pass Creek, Raspberry, Robson, Thrums
- Regional District of Kootenay Boundary (East Sub-region) including Columbia Gardens, Fruitvale, Genelle, Montrose, Oasis, Paterson, Rivervale, Rossland, Trail and Warfield
- University Endowment Lands
- Vancouver (Fall 2016)
Use our address search tool to view your curbside recycling collection schedule and nearest MMBC depots. You can also sign up for reminders and import your schedule into your online calendar.
What materials are accepted in MMBC’s residential packaging and printed paper recycling program?
The MMBC residential packaging and printed paper recycling program accepts packaging (for example, containers, cans, jugs, jars, boxes, and drink cups) that residents bring home surrounding the goods they purchase and printed paper (for example magazines, flyers, letters, envelopes and other printed paper for household use). These materials are accepted in curbside, multi-family, and depot collection programs throughout much of BC.
The program is financed by the retailers, manufacturers, and other organizations that supply these materials to BC residents and managed by MMBC on behalf of these organizations.
See what packaging and printed paper is accepted in MMBC’s packaging and printed paper recycling program.
Why isn’t all packaging and printed paper accepted in curbside or multi-family collection?
Foam packaging requires special handling because it breaks and crumbles easily during the collection process. When collected with other materials, the broken pieces are difficult to separate from other recyclables and this mixture of materials is incompatible with the recycling process, meaning that neither the foam nor the other materials can be recycled properly. You can ensure that foam packaging, including cushion packaging for products like electronics and foam trays and cups, are recycled by taking them to an MMBC depot.
MMBC’s list of depots is available here. More information about foam packaging is here.
Please note, squishy foam, foam packing chips (also called peanuts), foam noodles, and blue or pink foam board insulation are not accepted for recycling.
Why isn’t all packaging and printed paper accepted in curbside or multi-family collection? Why do I need to take plastic bags to a depot?
Plastic bags and overwrap require special handling because of the way they mix with other recyclables during the collection process. When plastic bags are collected with other recyclable material, it is difficult to separate the materials. This means that less of the plastic bags and overwrap, and less of the other material, is recycled. Additionally, when plastic bags are collected with other recycling, the bags end up getting caught up in the gears of the processing plants. This requires the plants to shut down for 15-30 minutes every 4 hours to remove these from their equipment to prevent further damage. Further, recycling markets for plastic bags in North America will accept only specific types of plastic, free of contaminants. Depot staff can screen incoming plastic bags to be sure the bags meet these requirements. If the plastic bags collected in our program do not meet the specifications set by North American recycling markets, they have to be exported. MMBC prefers to send recyclables to local markets to reduce transportation (and associated environmental impacts) wherever possible.
You can ensure that plastic bags and overwrap packaging is recycled by taking it to a depot. Ensure bags are empty by removing receipts, leftover food, etc. Stuff bags inside another bag and tie top.
A list of MMBC’s depots is available here. More information about recycling plastic bags and overwrap is here.
Please note, kitchen stretch wrap, crinkly cellophane wrap, zipper-lock bags, plastic shipping envelopes, compostable or biodegradable plastic bags, soft packaging for perishable foods, garbage bags, chip or snack bags, bubble wrap, pallet wrap and lumber or construction wrap are not accepted for recycling.
Why isn’t all packaging and printed paper accepted in curbside or multi-family collection? Why do I need to take glass to a depot?
Glass bottles and jars require special handling because of how easily they break. When this packaging breaks and is collected in the same container as other packaging or printed paper, the shards and tiny pieces of glass get embedded in the other recyclables and cannot be separated again. This means that neither the glass, nor the other recyclables, can be recycled properly. In some communities, residents set non-deposit glass out in a separate collection container that is designated only for glass. Glass that breaks within a glass-only collection container is recyclable.
Deposit glass containers for alcohol and juice are part of another stewardship program, and should be returned to a depot for the deposit refund.
Other types of glass, including mirrors, windows, dishes, drinking glasses, storage containers, and ceramics, are not accepted in the MMBC program. Not only are these not packaging, these are made from different types of glass than what is used to manufacture bottles and jars, and interfere with the glass recycling process.
More information about recycling glass is here.
Why isn’t everything collected for recycling?
While many types of packaging and printed paper can be recycled and are included in MMBC’s residential packaging and printed paper recycling program, some materials need to be kept separate from others in order to be recycled, and some materials are not accepted. See what packaging and printed paper is accepted in MMBC’s packaging and printed paper recycling program.
Foam packaging and plastic bags and overwrap: Some materials, like foam packaging and plastic bags and overwrap, require special handling, which is why MMBC asks that they be kept separate from other recyclables and taken to MMBC depots.
Glass: Deposit glass containers should be returned to depots for refund. Non-deposit glass containers are collected at curbside and from multi-family buildings in some communities, where they are kept separate from other recyclables. Otherwise, residents can take glass containers to MMBC depots. Check with your recycling collection provider for how glass is handled in your community.
Other packaging not included in the MMBC recycling program: Most packaging is included in MMBC’s recycling program; however there are no recycling markets yet for a few types of packaging, such as stand-up pouches used to package foods such as snacks and sugar. MMBC works with manufacturers and recyclers to explore how to recycle these types of packaging so that they can be added to MMBC’s program in the future.
Other materials: Items collected in other extended producer responsibility programs like deposit containers, hazardous household waste, batteries, and electronics, and other household waste such as garden hoses or food scraps, are not accepted for recycling in MMBC’s program.
Check Recycling Council of BC’s Recyclepedia to find out how to recycle or properly dispose of these materials.
How do I know if glass is collected from my curb or multi-family building?
Curbside glass collection varies across the province. If you live in an area directly served by MMBC
, please check your recycling guide. If you do not live in an area directly served by MMBC, please check with your local government or recycling collector for information about glass collection in your community.
What is “overwrap”?
Overwrap is the plastic packaging around things like flats of pop, diapers, paper towels, etc. and is accepted in the MMBC program.
What does “aseptic” mean?
Aseptic packaging is used to store long-life foods like soy, almond, and other milk-type beverages; cream; soup; broth; and sauces on a shelf, rather than in the refrigerated aisle. Empty aseptic containers or cartons are accepted in the MMBC program.
Does MMBC only accept plastic containers with the recycling symbol?
The symbol consisting of a number surrounded by a triangle or three arrows in the shape of a triangle is called the resin identification code, which is used to identify the type of plastic used to make the package. It does not mean the package can be recycled. If the plastic packaging appears on the list of materials accepted in the MMBC program, it’s accepted, regardless of whether it has the resin code. For more information about resin codes, click here
Can I recycle items that are not packaging or printed paper but are made from recyclable materials?
The MMBC residential packaging and printed paper recycling program is for packaging and printed paper only. See what packaging and printed paper is accepted in MMBC’s program here.
Items collected in other extended producer responsibility programs like deposit containers, hazardous household waste, batteries, and electronics, and other household waste such as garden hoses or food scraps, are not accepted for recycling in MMBC’s program.
Other items, like books, that are in good condition can often be donated. Check online for book drop off locations. (Many organizations also accept gently used clothing and household goods—which along with books are not accepted in the MMBC program.)
What happens to materials when they are collected?
After your packaging and printed paper is collected, it’s sorted and compacted into bales. The bales are sold to material remanufacturers, who process the contents into something that can be used again. Fewer new resources are required when starting with recycled materials. Learn more about what happens to your recycling in this short video and infographic. Read more about the recycling life cycle here.
In 2014, over 93 percent of the materials collected in the MMBC residential packaging and printed paper recycling program was sent to material remanufacturers.
Should I leave the lids on or off?
Please remove the lids and place them loose with container recycling.
Do I have to remove the labels from containers?
You can leave the labels on containers. Please ensure that containers are empty and rinsed.
Why should items be loose in the collection container? Can they be in a plastic bag?
Items that are inside a plastic bag cannot be recycled properly. The sorting machines at the recycling facility cannot sort the materials and for safety reasons, staff cannot open these bags.
Do I need to clean containers before adding them to my recycling?
Please empty containers and give them a quick rinse in leftover dishwater before adding them to recycling. This helps minimize any food residue spoiling the recyclability of materials and reduce pests and smells.
I have more recycling than fits in my collection containers.
If you have more recycling than fits in your collection container, please contact your recycling collection provider for information on additional collection containers. You can also conserve space by flattening plastic jugs and boxes and stacking containers that held the same contents, such as yogurt pots. There is no limit to the amount of packaging and printed paper you can recycle in the MMBC program.
MMBC Recycling Program
What is MMBC?
Retailers, manufacturers, and other organizations that supply packaging and printed paper to BC residents are responsible for collecting and recycling these materials when residents are finished with them. This is called extended producer responsibility, or EPR. Multi-Material British Columbia (MMBC) is a non-profit organization that uses fees paid by these organizations to finance residential recycling programs in many areas across BC, either directly or by working with local governments, First Nations, private companies and other non-profit organizations.
MMBC is among more than 20 EPR programs introduced in BC over the past two decades. Through these programs, stewards—the manufacturers and retailers of items such as beverage containers, electronics, paint, used oil, tires and batteries are responsible for end-of-life management of these items. EPR is a way for businesses to manage the environmental impact of products during all stages of the product lifecycle, from selecting the materials used in production to collection and recycling when a product is no longer useful.
How does the MMBC program affect me?
In many BC communities, the municipal government provides packaging and printed paper recycling services to residents through curbside, multi-family, or depot collection programs with financial support from MMBC. In these communities, the municipal government communicates with residents about the community’s recycling program.
MMBC is directly responsible for curbside recycling collection of packaging and printed paper in the following communities:
Residents living in these communities should contact their recycling collector (listed on the community-specific pages above) with questions about their recycling collection.
The same materials are accepted everywhere the MMBC residential packaging and printed paper recycling program operates.
When did the MMBC program start?
On May 19, 2014, MMBC assumed responsibility for managing residential packaging and printed paper recycling on behalf of its members—the manufacturers, retailers, and other organizations that supply the material to be recycled.
In many BC communities, local governments continue to provide collection services and residents can recycle types of packaging that were not commonly accepted in curbside, multi-family and depot recycling programs, such as milk cartons, plant pots, aluminum foil packaging, drink cups, certain types of plastic bags and overwrap packaging and polystyrene foam packaging.See what packaging and printed paper is accepted in MMBC’s packaging and printed paper recycling program.
Who do I contact for more info about my recycling collection?
In many BC communities, the municipal government provides packaging and printed paper recycling services to residents through curbside, multi-family, or depot collection programs as part of the MMBC residential packaging and printed paper recycling program. Residents should contact the local or municipal government with questions about recycling collection in their communities.
If you live in one of the following communities, please follow the link for the contact information for the recycling collector in your area:
Do I have to pay eco-fees on the products I buy?
Each business determines how to manage the costs of being a steward in MMBC’s residential packaging and printed paper recycling program. In most cases, these costs represent just a fraction of one cent per item, making it unlikely that businesses pass the cost along to consumers. MMBC does not charge any fees directly to residents.