A new list of products will be eligible for provincewide recycling as part of a five-year plan to advance recycling in British Columbia.
Electric-vehicle batteries, mattresses, single-use fuel canisters and fire extinguishers are among some of the products that will be accepted, as well as solar panels, more types of lithium-ion batteries, electric-vehicle chargers and e-cigarettes.
All the items currently cannot be recycled, so should be kept out of that blue-bin for now until the changes are put in place.
"Expanding the number of recyclable products will mean convenient, free collection of those products and a cleaner environment for British Columbians," said George Heyman, Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy. "Adding to the product list will reduce the waste that's now being sent to the landfill or illegally dumped in back alleys or green spaces. This will protect our environment and boost our economy through an increase in recycling operations and re-manufacturing."
Under then five-year plan, the changes will be phased in to give producers time to set up the proper systems.
The system requires producers to take responsibility for the lifecycle of their products, including collection and recycling. This shifts the costs and responsibility from local and Indigenous governments and taxpayers to the producers and consumers of products.
Residential packaging and paper, beverage containers, numerous electronics, light bulbs, tires, automotive oil, antifreeze and paint are already recycled with this system.
The program recovers $46-million worth of materials yearly and lowers greenhouse gas emissions by more than 200,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent. The strategy generates an estimated $500 million annually through recycling programs, and collects approximately 315,000 tonnes of plastic from bottles, packaging and electronics.
"Today's announcement is welcome news. Local governments have been advocating for expansion to extended producer responsibility. It will reduce the burden on taxpayers and shift most of the costs associated with recycling items like mattresses and single use propane tanks to producers and consumers. It will be especially important to our remote and rural communities that have a limited tax base and higher costs for recycling this kind of waste," said Al Richmond, director with the Cariboo Regional District Area G.