Can I Recycle This Container?
Some Surprising Answers!
‘Can I recycle this container?’ is a question we often get asked. It seems that everyone knows you can recycle plastic bottles, pop cans and beer bottles in BC for a deposit refund. But did you know that most of these items shown below can be recycled for cash?
Juice Boxes Containers Of All Sizes
Juice boxes can all be recycled, and you receive a deposit refund for all of them. How much you get back depends on the size of the box. The refunds are 10 cents per container, so it can add up! If your family drinks a lot of juice you could be throwing money out the window if you don’t recycle these!
The juice category includes things like drink pouches, juice cups, larger juice cartons (gable tops) and the convenience-sized juice containers.
Did you know that Drink Pouches only have a 25.5% recovery rate* in all of BC? That means that 74.5% of all drink pouches are not recycled. That’s nearly 5 million drink pouches each year that are thrown in the trash. If one person was to collect all those missing pouches, they would make close to $500,000 in one year!
Don’t care about the cash back? Donate your containers to a friend, local binner or bring them on your next trip to the depot to drop them off at our charity donation bins.
A helpful tip: you can squeeze these juice boxes into a smaller size. (As long as the container isn’t so crushed that it’s not recognizable, and the bar code is still visible, it’ll be refundable.) This makes it pretty easy to collect enough to make a trip to the recycle depot worth your while.
Juice Cans over 1 Liter
One Litre juice cartons and juice bottles are worth 10 cents a piece, so bring them in to double-up on your refund.
Encorp’s rules are pretty strict about the labels – they have to be left on if you want a deposit refund on your juice tins. The smaller juice tins are also recyclable and are worth 10 cents a piece, so don’t forget to collect those as well.
On a separate note, did you know that the glass Starbucks Cold Brew Coffee drinks are worth 10 cents each? It’s a new deposit item listed in Encorp’s Brand Registry. Visit returnit.ca if you want to learn more about all the containers that have a deposit value in BC.
Wine Boxes / BAG-IN-BOX
Yes, that’s right. Wine in a box containers are recyclable too, and you get 10 cents each when you bring them in for recycling. It adds up when you and your friends have a bunch kicking around from a lazy beach day!
Like all liquor containers you purchase in BC – beer bottles, wine bottles and liquor bottles – you pay a recycling fee when you buy it from a liqour store. So, that means you get that money back when you return the containers for recycling, just like you do with plastic and glass beer bottles, wine bottles and liquor bottles. The good news is that at Regional Recycling, we pay the full refund for all beverage containers – including beer bottles & cans.
The reason why we highlighted Bag-In-Box containers is because they only have a 49.1% recovery rate* in the entire province. That means over 2 million non-alcoholic bag-in-boxes are not recycled each year. Let’s help change that by recovering this valuable resource, diverting it from landfills, and earning some extra cash along the way.
Milk & Milk Substitute Containers
This is where things get a bit complicated. Currently there are no refund values associated with most milk & milk substitute containers. This will change soon, as the Government of BC is drafting new regulations through their Clean BC Action Plan to include a deposit on all these containers – just like our neighboring province Alberta has been doing since 2008.
Here’s how you can tell if you can get money back for your dairy container: if Milk is ingredient #1, 2 or 3: the product is NOT deposit bearing. If Milk is ingredient #4 or higher: then the product should carry a deposit. So if you have a Milk Tea on hand, look at the ingredients and see if milk is the 4th or 5th ingredient. If it is, you’re in luck – it’s worth at least 10 cents!
If you have containers with the 1st, 2nd, or 3rd listed as milk – don’t worry – we’ll still accept them. Since these containers are recyclable, bring them to us the next time you do your other recycling. We will happily take small quantities of these empty drinks.
Were you adding things up in your head as you read this info? I spoke with some of my friends after I wrote this, and they claim that their families would toss away $25-50 a month into the curbside blue bins. That amount certainly adds up, and can help with extra food and grocery bills for example.
While throwing these containers in the blue bins is not ideal – as community groups, charities, and friends lose out on the opportunity to use those funds – many people don’t know that these containers are recyclable, and end up throwing them in the garbage!
Next time you ask yourself “Can I recycle this container?” remember to save this link and share with your family & friends, so they can learn some recycling tips to earn more cash the next time they visit a Regional Recycling depot.
* The provincial recovery rates and containers not recovered are based on Encorp’s 2018 Annual Report.