Remember when the “Reduce, reuse and recycle” campaign came out? It was a novel concept and everyone was excited about helping the planet. But back then, there were a lot of items that you couldn’t actually recycle. Nowadays, you can recycle most items. Maybe not in your blue or green bins, but with the help of big box stores throughout the Lower Mainland, you can help reduce the impact on every day items.
The City of Vancouver and most other major cities throughout the province won’t pick up your paint, batteries and electronic items for recycling. So it’s left up to us to find a place where these items will be taken care of in a way that will help, not harm, the environment.
It’s important to remember that even though the City doesn’t pick up these items for recycling, you should not put them in the regular garbage or recycling. Here’s how to handle some of the most common items and where you can bring them for proper disposal.
Batteries contain chemicals which can be poisonous, even in small amounts. When you throw out your batteries, regardless of their size, in the regular garbage, they will leak into the soil in our landfills and contaminate our water supply. By bringing your batteries to recycling centres, you’ll be helping to safely remove these chemicals, and the materials will be reused to create new batteries and other products.
You can bring your batteries to places like IKEA, London Drugs, Mountain Equipment Co-op, and recycling facilities throughout the Lower Mainland for proper disposal.
It sometimes seems like cell phones only have a shelf-life of about six-to-twelve months these days. New technology is constantly emerging, and software upgrades aren’t always compatible with the older phones. So what do you do when you have an old phone? Recycle it of course. The materials are recyclable and can also be donated to charities to help those less fortunate.
You can bring your phones to Rogers Wireless locations, as well as London Drugs, Staples and Salvation Army stores.
You’ve painted your bedroom, kitchen or bathroom. Maybe the siding on your house needed an update. Or you wanted to add a splash of colour to your basement. Regardless, now you have some cans with leftover paint that need to be properly, and safely, taken care of. So what do you do? The cans themselves are made of recyclable aluminum which means they can be melted and reused. And many people don’t know that old paint can actually be revived and made into usable paint once more. So don’t just throw out your old canisters, bring them a paint store or a big box DIY store like Rona and Home Depot for recycling.
Items like VCRs and DVD players, old TVs, computer screens, video game consoles, walkmans and discmans can and should all be recycled. Because of the electrical components to them, it’s important you bring them to places that will reuse or resell them, or a place where their individual parts can be recycled for other purposes.
London Drugs, Salvation Army, BC SPCA Thrift Stores, Value Village and other recycling depots will take these items.
Milk Containers, Bottles and Tetra Paks
So it’s no surprise that milk containers, tetra paks and other items can be recycled. But did you know that in British Columbia we are charged a recycling deposit fee every time we purchase these items? It might only appear to be a few cents on your receipts, but in the long term, these fees add up. You can choose to put these items in the blue bins for the City of Vancouver to pick up, or you can bring them back to the grocery store where you purchased them to receive your refund back.