FAQs

What can I do with my small appliances?

Where can I take my used motor oil?

What can I do with my used milk and soya milk cartons?

Where does RA take the food scraps they collect?

What can I do with my old computer?

What is Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR)?

What are some of the other stewardship programs in the Lower Mainland/BC?

Why isn’t window glass and kitchenware glass accepted in my recycling?

What should I do with my old paint cans and leftover paint?

How can I recycle CFL’s and other light bulbs?

What does single streaming mean?

Can I include paperclips and staples with my paper recycling?

What can I do with my small appliances?

If Recycling Alternative services your business, we are happy to take your small appliances as part of your recycling services. Just call our offices to arrange for a pick-up.

If your appliance is in working condition, it may be taken as a donation by local charitable organizations. There may also be individuals or families in your community who can use it – consider posting the item on the RCBC Residential Materials Exchange.

Non-working small electrical appliances can now be recycled through the Unplugged program. The program is run by the Canadian Electrical Stewardship Association (CESA) and managed by Product Care Association.

Small appliances can be dropped off for free at a number of Unplugged depots across the province. There are over 120 small appliances covered under the program, each falling under one of eight categories:

  • Kitchen Countertop
  • Personal Care
  • Floor Cleaning
  • Weight Measurement
  • Garment Care
  • Air Treatment
  • Time Measurement
  • Designated Very Small Items

All items should be returned in a clean state with no food, liquids or vacuum bags. Contact the RCBC Recycling Hotline or visit the Unplugged website to find the nearest drop-off location.

 

Where can I take my used motor oil?

Used motor oil, oil filters and oil containers are accepted through the Used Oil Recycling program, which is managed by the BC Used Oil Management Association (BCUOMA). The materials can be dropped off at collection depots, which include participating garages, dealerships and retailers. These collection facilities can accept residential amounts (approximately 10L) per visit free of charge. Contact the RCBC Recycling Hotline or visit theRCBC Recyclepedia or BCUOMA website to find the nearest drop off location to you.

This program is funded in part by Environmentally Handling Charges (EHCs), charged on eligible oil products at the time of purchase. The EHCs help cover costs of collection, transportation and processing of materials. Contact the RCBC Recycling Hotline for more information on applicable fees.

 

What can I do with my used milk and soya milk cartons?

Recycling Alternative takes milk-cartons with mixed containers. Just make sure they are well rinsed out and place them with your other glass, metal and plastic containers.

The dairy industry and Encorp Pacific operate a voluntary milk container-recycling program. This program covers all milk containers and milk substitute products, including coffee cream, egg nog, soy milk, rice milk and almond milk. This is a voluntary program with no deposit system; no deposit is charged at the point of purchase and no refund is given at bottle depots. For more information about the voluntary milk container-recycling program or to find a participating bottle depot, call the RCBC Recycling Hotline or visit the RCBC Recyclepedia orEncorp Pacific website.

 

Where does RA take the food scraps they collect?

Recycling Alternatives takes the organics and food scraps we collect to the two main commercial composting facilities currently operating in the Lower Mainland – Fraser Richmond Soil and Fibre, and Enviro-smart Organics/West Coast Lawns.  At both locations the organics are mixed with yard-trimmings and other food scraps collected throughout the region and turned into usable compost and soil amendment for the local market.  More info about our organics on our blog!

 

What can I do with my old computer?

We offer e-waste recycling for all of our customer, either as a one-time pick-up, or an on-going basis. Give the Recycling Alternative office a call to arrange for a pick-up of any volume for your office.

Some organizations accept computer equipment in good working order for schools and other charitable causes. Because computers become obsolete extremely quickly, organizations are generally only interested in equipment that is less than three years old. An individual or family in your community might be interested in your working computer. Post your equipment on the RCBC Materials Exchange at www.bc.reuses.com or contact the RCBC Recycling Hotline for reuse options in your area.

End-of-life consumer electronics can also be taken to any Encorp electronics recycling depot. Find a drop-off near you on the RCBC Recyclepedia.

 

What is EPR?

The Recycling Council of British Columbia defines Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) as “an environmental strategy arising from the Polluter Pays Principle. The strategy objective is to minimize the environmental burden of a product by making the producer/consumer directly responsible for the financial costs and management functions associated with products throughout the product’s life cycle with particular focus on the post‐consumer stage where responsibility has traditionally rested with local government authorities.”

EPR programs lift the responsibility of waste disposal off of municipal and regional governments and place it on the manufacturers/importers and consumers. EPR programs often (but not always) require that consumers pay an “eco-fee” when purchasing new regulated products. The collection of these fees funds the recycling program, including depot operation, transport, storage, processing, monitoring and tracking, and public education.

You can find a complete list of BC’s EPR programs on the RCBC Product Stewardship page.

 

What are some of the other stewardship programs in the Lower Mainland/BC?

Currently, British Columbia has 22 stewardship agencies running recycling programs for hundreds of products, such as electronics, fluorescent lights, batteries, paint and tires. As more materials are regulated into EPR programs by the Ministry of Environment, more stewardship agencies will be created.

One of the most popular EPR programs in British Columbia is the beverage container recycling program. This is also the only program with a deposit/refund system.

You can find a complete list of BC’s EPR programs on RCBC’s Product Stewardship page.

 

Why isn’t window glass and kitchenware glass accepted in my recycling?

“Plate glass” or flat glass has a different chemical composition and manufacturing process than “container glass.” Only container glass, such as food jars and bottles can be recycled together in RA’s recycling program, your municipal blue box and other depot programs. Keep window glass, drinking glasses, light bulbs, teacups and mirrors out of the recycling container. Whole pieces of plate glass can be reused and broken plate glass can be recycled at some facilities. Please call the RCBC Recycling Hotline for more information.

 

What should I do with my old paint cans and leftover paint?

Product Care operates over 100 depots throughout BC that accept leftover household paint. This program is paid for by the paint industry under a BC regulation requiring manufacturers of leftover paint to be responsible for its safe disposal. To find out where the paint depot is in your community phone the RCBC Recycling Hotline or search on the RCBC Recyclepedia.

 

How can I recycle CFL’s and other light bulbs?

If you have a recycling program with Recycling Alternative we can take them for you!  Just call our office to arrange a pick-up of any volume.

For household lights, Product Care operates the province-wide recycling program for fluorescent light tubes and compact fluorescent bulbs, called LightRecycle. Drop-off locations can accept up to 16 bulbs at a time, in any shape or size up to 8 foot lengths. Locate depots in your community by visiting LightRecycle.ca or by contacting the RCBC Recycling Hotline.

The program began on July 1, 2010 and drop-off locations are constantly being added. LightRecycle is for residential-use compact fluorescent lights and fluorescent tubes only. It does not accept industrial, commercial or institutional (ICI) use fluorescent lights and tubes. A program for ICI-generated fluorescent lighting will be implemented in 2012. Contact the RCBC Recycling Hotline for current disposal options of ICI fluorescent lamps and other types of lighting products.

 

What does single streaming mean?

Also known as “fully commingled” or “single-sort,” single-stream recycling refers to a system in which all paper fibers, plastics, metals, and other containers are mixed in a collection truck, instead of being sorted into separate commodities (newspaper, paperboard, Corrugated fiberboard, plastic, glass, etc.) by the consumer and handled separately throughout the collection process.  (wikipedia)

Advantages?

  • convenient
  • higher participation rates

Disadvantages:

  • contamination
  • downgrades recycling materials for high-value markets
  • residual waste from contaminated recycling materials ends up in the landfill
  • does not encourage 3 Rs hierarchy and behavior change

Recycling Alternative has chosen not to use the single-stream process, opting instead for source-separated recycling – in which the consumer sorts their materials into the appropriate types – paper, plastics, glass, etc. We do this because we believe in maintaining high-value and quality of recycling materials to be sold into markets for reuse and recycling. For example, with the 100% post-consumer office paper we purchase for RA we know we are closing the loop for the paper we collect from our customers.

For more information about the pro’s and con’s of single-stream and source-separated recycling see Louise’s blog post from May 2011.

 

Can I include paperclips and staples with my paper recycling?

Yes, they will get magnetized out in the mulching stage of the paper recycling process.

 

Thanks to the Recycling Council of BC for their amazing resources! If there is anything else you’ve ever wondered about recycling check out their FAQs and other info.