Flexible Plastic Packaging

What is Flexible Plastic Packaging?

Flexible plastic packaging represents a wide range of items that we interact with every day. Simply put, flexible plastic packaging refers to plastics that you can easily scrunch up into a ball due to its flexible nature. Typical items include grocery and bread bags, snack wrappers, netted produce bags, and zipper-lock pouches.  

flexible plastics

The Problem:

Did you know that flexible plastic packaging is the most common contaminant found in CVRD curbside recycling totes? According to 2022 CVRD curbside audit data, these items represent approximately 40% of all curbside recycling contaminants in recycling totes.

When flexible plastic packaging is put in your curbside recycling tote, it gets tangled in equipment causing lengthy shut-downs and expensive delays at the sorting facility. These materials also mix with other recyclables which can affect the quality of recycled products.

Need help learning what belongs in your recycling tote? See our Recycling Info Card or visit the Cowichan Recyclopedia.

Proper Disposal Methods:

The good news is that all flexible plastic packaging is recyclable at CVRD Recycling Centres and other drop-off depots!  

No Separation Needed in 2023

Previously, flexible plastics had to be separated into two categories ("Plastic Bags and Overwrap" and "Other Flexible Plastic Packaging") to ensure each category could be managed effectively. Beginning January 1, 2023, these materials can now be joined together in a combined category called "Flexible Plastics." 

The Addition of Squishy Foam Packaging

This new collection category now includes an item formerly not accepted: squishy cushion packaging. Squishy foam packaging includes items such as cushioning blocks, packing peanuts or sheets which may be disposed of in the new flexible plastic packaging category (not the styrofoam bin at depots as you might expect). 

Visit the Recycle BC website for a complete list and examples of the new combined flexible plastic packaging category.

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