Let’s Keep Soft Plastics Out of Our Landfills and Oceans

Have you started putting aside soft plastics to bring into our recycling depot? If you haven’t yet, how about adding it to your current collection system?
Soft plastics still make up a large percentage of what ends up in our landfills and oceans, so diverting what we can makes a real difference. You see, many kinds of soft plastics can now be recycled back into the manufacturing process. That includes plastic packaging, crinkly plastic, net bags (for veggies and fruit) and shrink wrap to name just a few. Even squishy cushion packaging (polyethylene foam often used instead of styrofoam), bubble wrap and even our used up yellow recycling bags can be recycled (all soft plastics can now be mixed together at the depot). Although diverted plastics from our landfills doesn’t address the need for more plastic bans, it’s important we repurpose what we can until we get there.

What happens to soft plastics after I drop it off at the depot?

Recycled soft plastics are sent to Vancouver facilities where they are shredded into small pellets and sold to manufacturers who will reuse it. Since most of the products we purchase these days still come in plastic wrap, it’s more crucial than ever to gather it up to be reused. This is where Island Return It is here to help. We have soft plastic bins just outside the front doors of our Duncan and Cobble Hill branches, where you can drop these off at no charge. Bring it all along next time you swing by with your bottles for a refund.

Please note that the following are not recyclable:

Vinyl bags (often used as packaging for pillows and comforters)

Carry Bags with PVC/Vinyl mixed (the kind sold at grocery stores)

Plastic bags made for disposal (garbage bags, compost/leaf bags)

Plastic squeeze tubes (toothpaste)

Crinkly cellophane wrap (most commonly used for flower arrangements)

Any Packaging labelled biodegradable, compostable or oxo-degradable

These last two are worth noting, as more and more biodegradable packaging replaces plastic, these will need to be thrown in the garbage, so they can degrade in the landfill. We will all need to keep learning and adapting as innovations continue and plastic packaging is replaced with biodegradable and compostable alternatives. Check your labels rather than guessing. Ask our friendly staff if you need help, as biodegradable and mixed recycling can sometimes be tricky to identify.

Please bring in clean and dry plastic.

Hot tip: use the last of your dishes water to swish out any food particles from your plastic and air dry it on your dish rack.

Celebrate your recycling win!

Now you get to enjoy seeing your garbage output shrinking to a fraction of what it used to be.
Thank you for continuing to recycle.