Recycle BC has tips to toss the holiday trash and tinsel

Recycle BC explains how to get rid of all that Christmas garbage responsibly.

Many items — including styrofoam — can be recycled

After the gifts are unwrapped, don't forget to dispose of your holiday waste responsibly. (Shutterstock)

When the presents are unwrapped, the toys are beeping away, and the leftovers stacked in the refrigerator, it's time to make sure all your holiday debris ends up in the correct spot.

Allen Langdon is managing director of Recycle BC, a non-profit organization responsible for collecting recyclables from B.C. households.

He says things like wrapping paper, tissue paper, and many types of plastic are all recyclable curbside.

The things people need to be wary of are padded envelopes, bows, ribbons and foil, or extremely glittery wrapping and tissue paper.

"We can't recycle [those]," Langdon says. "They become a contaminant and we ask people to put them in the garbage."

As for things like batteries and styrofoam, he says there are specific depots that will accept these items. Recycle BC has a partnership with London Drugs accept styrofoam, for example, if that is a more convenient location than going to depot.


  • Wrapping paper
  • Plastics
  • Christmas cards
  • Cartons
  • Paper gift bags
  • Tins
  • Boxes

Take to the depot

  • Batteries
  • Styrofoam

Throw out

  • Foil gift wrap
  • Ribbons and bows
  • Padded envelopes

B.C. the best recyclers

And the province has a reputation to maintain.

"British Columbians right now are probably the best [recyclers] in North America," Langdon said.

He says the province has a 6.5-per-cent contamination rate (the rate at which recyclers throw plastic in with the paper recycling, for example). In contrast, Toronto has a 20-per-cent contamination rate.

But Langdon says we can do better — many organizations are now advocating and striving for a one-per-cent contamination rate.

With files from The Early Edition