Recycling End Markets

Changes to global markets have made it more difficult for recycling programs to find end-markets to sell recycled materials to. Recycle BC, has largely managed to keep household paper and packaging materials in local circulation to ensure that they are recycled into new products close to home. 

After recyclable materials are sorted, baled, and shipped to the appropriate end markets, they are given a new life and transformed into new products and packaging materials. Some materials can be recycled to fit their original purpose, such as recycled bottles or paper products, while other materials are transformed into new products such as furniture or playground aggregate.

  • Materials such as steel and aluminum products have no limit to their recyclability. Metal cans, foil, and empty aluminum aerosol containers are sent to end markets in BC, Ontario, and the United States where they are melted down and rolled into sheets to make new packaging and products such as aluminum containers, road signs, or window frames.
  • Paper products are sent to end markets in various locations throughout BC, the United States, and overseas. Paper is shredded and turned into a pulp; during this process, non-fibre items such as tape, labels, and staples are removed to ensure that remanufactured materials remain uncontaminated. The pulp is used to make new items such as egg cartons, boxes, paper towels, and other paper products.
  • Glass bottles and jars are processed in Abbotsford and transformed into new bottles. Other local end markets located in Quesnel recycle glass packaging into sandblasting material and construction aggregate.
  • Foam packaging, such as meat trays and egg cartons, are recycled into picture frames and crown moulding locally in Metro Vancouver, as well as overseas.
  • Plastic containers, such as those used for food, and household liquids like soap or laundry detergent are some of the most commonly recycled materials in BC. These materials remain in Metro Vancouver where they’re washed, shredded, and pelletized to be sold for new packaging and products such as garden pots and shampoo bottles.
  • Flexible plastic packaging items such as plastic bags, crinkly snack wrappers, and squishy foam are now collected and recycled together at CVRD Recycling Centres as a result of research and development work from a lower-mainland recycler, Merlin Plastics. The higher and lower-quality plastics are combined to make a pellet that is used to make new plastic products.