This box of items contains materials previously not accepted by Recycle B.C., which can now be collected at the Do Your Part Recycling in Thornhill as part of a new provincial pilot project. (Brittany Gervais photo)

Zip-lock bags, plastic wrap now recyclable in Thornhill

Do Your Part Recycling is one of 117 depots participating in new provincial pilot program

Terrace and Thornhill residents can now start recycling their zip-lock and potato chip bags as part of a new provincial pilot project.

“It means we can start accepting stuff that we weren’t supposed to accept before,” a spokesperson from Do Your Part Recycling said. “Before people would bring it in and we would have to pull it out and throw it out.”

The Recycle B.C. pilot project was created to help operators figure out how to deal with multi-laminated plastic packaging, which has become the fastest growing segment of packaging on the market. These items were previously left to lie in landfills because of their makeup – multiple layers of different types of plastics used in combination, which make the material hard to break down.

As of June 1, people can bring in types of film and flexible plastic to the Thornhill depot off Hwy 16 East, where there are instructions posted as to how to sort the materials for processing.

Types of bags now accepted include zipper-lock pouches, crinkly wrappers and bags, and net plastic mesh bags used to carry onions and avocados at the grocery store.

But keep plastic squeeze tubes, paper-lined plastic, PVC and vinyl out of the collection, according to the depot. Beer lovers should also note, six-pack rings are not accepted.

“Unfortunately that is called a material orphan,” the spokesperson said. “They can’t do anything with it, so your best bet with that is to just cut it up and put it in the garbage.”

The depot stressed that it’s important the material is clean and properly sorted so Do Your Part can send it to Merlin Plastics in Delta, B.C. There, researchers hope to turn the plastic into engineered fuel and market it as an alternative to coal or more carbon-intensive fuels.

READ MORE: Potato chip bags, plastic pouches now accepted in new Recycle B.C. program

As for blue-bin pickup?

“No plastic should ever be put in curbside,” the spokesperson said, who also noted blue-bin materials are not sorted locally but in the Lower Mainland.

“Bring your glass jars, bring your styrofoam, those are the things that are not supposed to go into curbside anyway.”

So far, 117 deposits from around B.C. have said they will participate in the project. After its pilot phase, Recycle B.C. says the expansion will then follow with additional depots voluntarily beginning collection in September. It expects all depots will begin collecting flexible plastic material packaging by 2019.

View examples of accepted and non-accepted materials here, and the current list of participating depots here.

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