What Can I Recycle?
In British Columbia, industry-sponsored Product Stewardship Programs place the responsibility for the collection, transportation and recycling of end-of-life products on the manufacturers, distributers and sellers (the producers) of those items. Product stewardship is also commonly called Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) and each EPR program is regulated by the provincial government. This strategy is meant to shift the costs of managing end-of-life products sold in British Columbia away from taxpayers and local governments as well as provide incentive for producers to increase the recyclability, reusability and durability of their goods.
In the RDCK there is a network of locations that participate in these EPR programs to accept designated products for recycling at no additional cost to the consumer. This network is not fully complete and gaps do exist in some communities. An Interest Statement on Extended Producer Responsibility programs was updated by the RDCK in November 2015 as a tool for staff and elected officials to use when engaging with the Province, product stewards and other relevant parties in discussions about BC’s product stewardship system. The RDCK works with EPR members and other regional districts to address service gaps in the district and expand the recycling service of these programs.
For more information about product stewardship programs visit the BC Recycles website and explore the ‘Recyclepedia’ on the Recycling Council of British Columbia’s website or call their toll-free hotline (1-800-667-4321) for a list of products and free drop-off locations.
The following products are currently managed through Product Stewardship and should not be disposed of with your regular recycling or household waste.
Everything you need to know about what you can recycle at RDCK depots can be found in the RDCK Depot Recycling Guide.
NOTE: Curbside recycling programs are in place in the City of Nelson, City of Castlegar, Village of Kaslo and the Village of Nakusp. To learn more about your curbside pick up program, contact your local municipality.
If you live in rural Castlegar you (Area H,I and J) here's what you need to know about your curbside program: Areas H, I and J Curbside Recycling Guide.
Q: Can I recycle Styrofoam (polystyrene)?
Polystyrene used for take-out foods, consumer goods packaging, etc., is not accepted in RDCK recycling programs at this time. The RDCK is working on changes to its recycling depot program that will expand the list of accepted materials to include Styrofoam. These changes should take affect in summer of 2019.
Q: Which plastics can I recycle?
Food Grade Plastics #1 - #7 can be recycled at all RDCK recycling facilities. Plastic bags are also accepted.
Q: How can I recycle my Christmas tree?
Christmas trees are accepted at any RDCK landfill or transfer station as yard and garden waste for a small fee. The tree will be chipped and used for composting. Many communities have a local service club pick that will up the trees for a nominal fee and will advertise this service around Christmas time.
Q: Can I recycle my refrigerator, freezer or stove?
Yes. These items are covered under the Major Appliance Recycling Roundtable (MARR) program and accepted for free at almost all RDCK Transfer Stations and Landfills. MARR's website has a full list of items covered by the program, non-program items are still accepted as scrap metal at RDCK facilities for a fee.
Q: Can I recycle my car battery?
Yes. Car batteries are accepted at any RDCK landfill or transfer station at no charge.
Q: Can I recycle fluorescent tubes and bulbs?
Fluorescent tubes and bulbs are not accepted at RDCK facilities. But they can be recycled! You can take burnt out compact fluorescent lights (CFLs) and fluorescent tubes (residential use only) to a collection depot near you. Contact the Recycling Council of BC Recycling Hotline: 1-800-667-4321 or visit the BC Stewards website to find a depot.
Q: Can I recycle my household batteries?
Household batteries are not accepted at RDCK facilities. But they can be recycled! To find a Call2Recycle collection depot near you visit BC Stewards.
Q: Where can I recycle oil filters or used motor oil?
Used oil and used oil filters are not accepted for recycling at RDCK facilities. But they can be recycled! For more information about recycling used oil and used oil filters visit the BC Stewards website.
Q: Where can I dispose of my old tires?
Tires are accepted at RDCK facilities for recycling for a fee. In order to fund the safe handling and disposal of the tires the Regional District implemented a user fee. This user fee is payable only if you choose to dispose of your old tires at an RDCK waste handling facility.
When you purchase new tires a fee ranging from $5 - $35 depending on the tire, is levied. All fees collected go exclusively towards the operation of the scrap tire recycling program and are used primarily to pay for transporting and recycling BC's scrap tires. The Regional District does not receive any of these levies although they are responsible for disposing of the used tires.
Contact the Recycling Council of BC Recycling Hotline: 1-800-667-4321 or visit the BC Stewards website. to find a location where you can return your used tires to an Authorized Tire Dealer at no charge!
Q: What happens to Recyclables?
Household recycling materials (newspaper, cardboard, plastic containers, tin, aluminum and mixed paper) are compacted in Castlegar and shipped to a Materials Recycling Facility for processing (Kelowna or Spokane WA). At these facilities materials are sorted and baled by commodity and then shipped to end markets. Processors use recycled goods to make new products!
- Wood waste is chipped and used for landfill daily and intermediate cover material.
- Glass is crushed and used as road cover at the various waste handling facilities throughout the RDCK.
- Scrap metal is collected for recycling by a private contractor.
For more information contact the Recycling Council of BC Recycling Hotline: 1-800-667-4321.
Q: What is contamination?
Contamination is when unacceptable material is placed in a recycling container or bin. Any recyclables that are comingled with garbage, pet waste, organics, or disposable diapers are contaminated and not recycled. Unwashed recyclables are also considered to be contaminated. Contamination increases the program cost and ultimately the cost to the taxpayer. Contamination also attracts wildlife so please keep your recyclables clean!
Q: Do I need to wash and squash the plastic and metal containers?
Yes! Help reduce contamination by washing containers. This will help reduce odor, flies and rodents. Squashing the containers will free up more space in the recycling bin.
Q: Do I need to remove the label from metal cans?
Yes. Paper labels on metal cans are relatively easy to remove and can be recycled as mixed paper. If paper is included in the metal stream, it is considered a contaminant. The problem is that during the recycling process, the metal is melted down and if paper is included in the process it can cause flash fires in the furnace, endangering the workers and producing impurities in the end product. These impurities cause the metal to be downgraded.
Q: Do I need to remove the label from glass bottles?
No. You do not need to remove the label from glass bottles. The glass is crushed and used as road construction material at the various RDCK waste handling facilities.
Q: Do I need to remove the windows from my envelopes in order to recycle them?
No. Most window envelopes are made out of water soluble paper fibre instead of the plastic that was once used. Recycle these as mixed paper.
Q: As a business, how can I participate in recycling programs?
Commercial buisnesses may utilize RDCK recycling depots. A large cardboard only bin is located at the Lakeside Drive depot in Nelson to accomodate those with large volumes of cardboard.Should your business produce large volumes of recyclables or cardboard private recycling services are available (for a fee) by private commercial haulers.
The content on this page was last updated July 30 2019 at 10:24 AM