Waste Wise | Other Flexible Plastic Packaging

By Tera Grady –

While China is cracking down on the amount of contamination it receives with recyclables, many parts of North America are finding it harder and harder to market their recyclables. However, Recycle BC is launching a pilot for a new category of packaging to collect. Starting June 1, all Cariboo Regional District recycling depots will accept packaging like bubble wrap; nylon weaved rice and dog food bags; cereal bags; zipper lock bags (including Ziplocs!); stand up pouches; potato chip bags; cellophane; and many others.

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This new category type “other flexible plastic packaging” encompasses many packages that are not currently recyclable for a variety of reasons. If it is not recyclable, why collect it at recycling depots? These packages will be used in research and development to work towards technology that will enable recycling of some, if not all, of these packages. Any material not capable of being recycled will be recovered and produced into engineered fuel. This fuel will then be marketed as an alternative to coal or other more carbon intensive fuels.

Why is an engineered fuel better than coal fuel? Engineered fuel is a cleaner burning fuel source when compared to coal, because of its low sulphur and chlorine content. It also has a higher BTU value than coal.

With help from BC residents to provide a clean (non-contaminated) stream of “other flexible plastic packaging,” new strides can be made in recycling technology to manage these packaging materials and divert them away from our landfills.

The image to the right from Recycle BC shows some examples of materials that will be accepted at DEPOT locations only; these packages should never be disposed of in curbside programs. For more information, please visit recyclebc.ca/flexiblepackaging.

We all need to take responsibility for the waste we produce. Please consider this when purchasing items.

Learn more by following us on Facebook at facebook.com/caribooregion, visiting us online at cariboord.ca, or looking for our Waste Wise articles in your local paper. For more information on the Waste Wise Program, call (250) 398-7929. You can also find more details on Waste Wise activities and events at ccconserv.org.

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