Recycle BC responds to plastics recycling concerns

Monday, September 30, 2019

Over the weekend, CBC's Marketplace aired a story exposing challenges related to plastics recycling in British Columbia. 

As a result, questions have been raised regarding the CSRD's collection of plastic recyclables. 

Since January 1, 2015, the CSRD Depot Recycling Program has been part of the industry-led recycling program managed by Recycle BC.  The CSRD partners with Recycle BC to deliver the residential recycling program at CSRD landfills, transfer stations and depot locations.

Recycle BC sends 99 per cent of the plastic it collects to Merlin Plastics in Canada.

As part of the story, Marketplace executed one-time, business-to-business transactions with three different waste management companies for the recycling of bales of soft plastics. 

The companies and outcomes were:

  • Merlin Plastics - outcome: recycled the material;
  • Green for Life (GFL) - outcome: waste-to-energy;
  • Waste Connections Canada - outcome: landfill.

Recycle BC was pleased to see that Merlin Plastics was found in the Marketplace report to have recycled the plastic it received.

A statement issued by Recycle BC reassures the public about continuing to make use of the Recycle BC programs, which include the CSRD programs.

“We believe Recycle BC is a leading example for the responsible management of residential recycling and we believe the facts speak for themselves. We know there is more work to be done and we are committed to continuously improving. But the single most important fact is, British Columbians can feel secure that when they put accepted plastic packaging in their residential recycling, we will manage it properly."

Recycle BC says this province has the most advanced and integrated processes for the management of residential recycling of anywhere in Canada.

“It is a non-profit system that is studied and praised around the world and, in the face of incredibly challenging recycling markets the world over, it is a system that has proven itself repeatedly, as we have found end markets for our materials when others cannot,” it reads.

Recycle BC is also disturbed by the Marketplace report and its potential impact in BC.

“We are deeply concerned with Marketplace’s juxtaposition of three simple commercial transactions as a proxy for the sophisticated system of checks and balances that exist within BC’s residential recycling system,” it reads. “The stakes could not be higher – the world is faced with a global plastics crisis – and this misleading report could erode faith in a system that is producing the best environmental outcomes in Canada, which is a disservice to the people of BC, Canada and the world.”

To read the entire Recycle BC statement, please go to the link on their website at:

Photo: Recycle BC