What Can I Recycle?

RDCK Recycling is part of the Recycle BC Network

What Can I Recycle?

By participating in the Recycle BC (RBC) network recycling depots in the RDCK can accept a wide range of materials including plastic bags and Styrofoam and be more assured than ever that these materials are being recycled and kept out of landfill.

Core recycling depots accept all materials listed in the 2023 RBC Depot Guide while satelitte depots accept the most common categories of paper and cardboard, mixed metal and plastic containers and glass containers.

Residents should separate recycling at home according to the colour-coded squares outlined in the RBC Depot Guide to make the most of the new recycling program – plastic bags, white and coloured foam share a colour but will be collected in individual containers at depots.

NOTE: Curbside recycling programs are run by the City of Nelson, City of Castlegar, Village of Kaslo, and the Village of Nakusp. To learn more about your curbside program, contact your local municipality and visit the RecycleBC website. 

If you live in rural Castlegar (Electoral Area H, I and J) here's what you need to know about your curbside program: Areas H, I and J Curbside Recycling Guide

Product Stewardship

In British Columbia, industry-sponsored Product Stewardship Programs place the responsibility for the collection, transportation and recycling of end-of-life products on the manufacturers, distributers and sellers (the producers) of those items. Product stewardship is also commonly called Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) and each EPR program is regulated by the provincial government. This strategy is meant to shift the costs of managing end-of-life products sold in British Columbia away from taxpayers and local governments as well as provide incentive for producers to increase the recyclability, reusability and durability of their goods.

In the RDCK there is a network of locations that participate in these EPR programs to accept designated products for recycling at no additional cost to the consumer. This network is not fully complete and gaps do exist in some communities. The RDCK works with EPR members and other regional districts to address service gaps in the district and expand the recycling service of these programs.

The Nelson Leafs operate an Eco-Depot in partnership with the RDCK to collect multiple EPR items in one location, the RDCK hopes to establish more Eco Depots in other communities around the district.

For more information about product stewardship programs visit the BC Recycles website and explore the ‘Recyclepedia’ on the Recycling Council of British Columbia’s website or call their toll-free hotline (1-800-667-4321) for a list of products and free drop-off locations.

The following products are managed through Product Stewardship and should not be disposed of with your regular recycling or household waste.

  • antifreeze
  • batteries
  • beverage containers
  • carbon monoxide alarms
  • cell phones
  • electronics & electrical products
  • gasoline
  • lead-acid batteries
  • lighting products
  • motor oil, containers & filters
  • outdoor power equipment
  • packaging & printed paper
  • paint products
  • pesticides
  • pharmaceuticals
  • small appliances & power tools
  • smoke alarms
  • solvents & flammable liquids
  • thermostats
  • tires

Recycling Depot Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is the difference between a core depot and a satellite depot?

Recycle BC designates recycling depots as core or satellite locations. Core depots will have their recycling collected by service providers fully paid for by Recycle BC, satellite depots must have their recycling brought to a core depot by an independent service provider. This will be paid for by the RDCK at satellite depots. All depots must have staff supervision when open.  Satellite Depots only collect the paper & cardboard, mixed containers and glass container categories.

Q: Can I recycle Styrofoam (polystyrene)?

Yes! Styrofoam packaging used to ship electronics and other items as well as food packaging (meat trays, egg cartons and take out containers) is recyclable. Sort into coloured and white foam at a core depot.

Q: Which plastics can I recycle?

Hard plastic packaging of all kinds is accepted. Since Recycle BC is responsible for collecting and recycling residential printed paper and packaging, plastic items that are not sold as packaging such as toys and reusable containers are not accepted. Many types of plastic bags and other flexible plastic packaging are accepted, the RBC Depot Guide has more information about specific items.  

Q: How can I recycle my Christmas tree?

Christmas trees are accepted at any RDCK landfill or transfer station as yard and garden waste for a small fee. The tree will be chipped and used for composting. Many communities have a local service club pick that will up the trees for a nominal fee and will advertise this service around Christmas time.

Q: Can I recycle my refrigerator, freezer or stove?

Yes. These items are covered under the Major Appliance Recycling Roundtable (MARR) program and accepted for free at almost all RDCK Transfer Stations and Landfills. MARR's website has a full list of items covered by the program, non-program items are still accepted as scrap metal at RDCK facilities for a fee.  

Q: Can I recycle my car battery?

Yes. Car batteries are accepted at any RDCK landfill or transfer station at no charge.

Q: Can I recycle fluorescent tubes and bulbs?

Fluorescent tubes and bulbs are not accepted at RDCK facilities. But they can be recycled!  You can take burnt out compact fluorescent lights (CFLs) and fluorescent tubes (residential use only) to a collection depot near you. Contact the Recycling Council of BC Recycling Hotline: 1-800-667-4321 or visit the BC Stewards website to find a depot.

Q: Can I recycle my household batteries?

Household batteries are not accepted at RDCK facilities. But they can be recycled! To find a Call2Recycle collection depot near you visit BC Stewards.

Q: Where can I recycle oil filters or used motor oil?

Used oil and used oil filters are not accepted for recycling at RDCK facilities. But they can be recycled! For more information about recycling used oil and used oil filters visit the BC Used Oil Management Association (BCUOMA) website.

Q: Where can I dispose of my old tires?

Tires are accepted at RDCK facilities for recycling for a fee.  In order to fund the safe handling and disposal of the tires the Regional District implemented a user fee. This user fee is payable only if you choose to dispose of your old tires at an RDCK waste handling facility.

When you purchase new tires a fee ranging from $5 - $35 depending on the tire, is levied. All fees collected go exclusively towards the operation of the scrap tire recycling program and are used primarily to pay for transporting and recycling BC's scrap tires. The Regional District does not receive any of these levies although they are responsible for disposing of the used tires.

Visit the BC Tire Stewardship website. to find a location where you can return your used tires to an Authorized Tire Dealer at no charge!

Q: What happens to my recyclables?

Material collected at RDCK depots is consolidated for shipment and travels to RBC’s main material recovery facility in the lower mainland. From there plastics, paper and cardboard, metal, glass and foam are separated and distributed to processors for recycling. RBC tracks the material it receives and publishes in its annual reports how each tonne was managed, in 2021 over 90% of received material was recycled. RBC's website has more information about the end-markets of each recycling category. 

Q: What is contamination?

Contamination is when unacceptable material is placed in a recycling container or bin. Any recyclables that are comingled with garbage, pet waste, organics, or disposable diapers are contaminated and not recycled. Contamination is monitored by RBC and depot operators such as the RDCK are responsible for keeping it within acceptable levels. So far, RDCK residents have done a great job keeping contamination out their recycling! 

Unwashed food containers are also considered to be contaminated and can attract wildlife while also making the depots unpleasant for users and educators so please keep your recyclables clean.

Q: Do I need to wash and squash the plastic and metal containers?

Yes! Help reduce contamination by washing containers. This will help reduce odor, flies and rodents. Squashing the containers will free up more space in the recycling bin.

Q: Do I need to remove the label from metal cans?

No, labels do not need to be removed fro metal cans before recycling. 

Q: Do I need to remove the label from glass bottles?

No. You do not need to remove the label from glass bottles.

Q: Do I need to remove the windows from my envelopes in order to recycle them?

No. Most window envelopes are made out of water soluble paper fibre instead of the plastic that was once used. Recycle these as mixed paper.

Q: As a business, how can I participate in recycling programs?

Recycle BC is a program for residential recycling only. Businesses will be provided separate bins for recycling cardboard at the following depots: Nelson Lakeside, Ootischenia Landfill, Crescent Valley Hall, New Denver, Nakusp Landfill, Salmo, Kaslo and Creston Helen Street.  may utilize RDCK recycling depots. Should your business produce large volumes of other recyclables recycling services are available (for a fee) by private commercial haulers

The content on this page was last updated February 28 2023 at 1:20 AM