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Update to the City’s Residential Recycling Program

Release Date

As of January 1, 2023, additional materials are accepted in City’s recycling program. The Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy updated the Recycling Regulation to include single-use items and packaging-like products, which expands on what residents can put in their recycling carts and bins or take to recycle depots.

One example of what these changes is that prior to the updates to the regulation taking effect, only plastic or paper cups that were purchased for take-out were accepted. Now, plastic and paper cups purchased at a store are included in the recycling program. Similarly, the updated regulation added aluminum foil, pie plates, and baking trays to the list of accepted items, whereas prior to these changes, only aluminum take-out containers were accepted.

This might have some residents wondering why a paper cup from a coffee shop was accepted in the City’s recycling program prior to 2023 but a paper cup that you bought at the store was not. It comes down to how the provincial recycling program is funded and, more generally, how recycling in BC works.

“Provincial recycling programs are funded by producers through what is called Extended Producer Responsibility, or EPR, whereby it is the producers who are responsible for paying for the recycling of the materials that they sell,” explained Marcia Dick, the City’s Solid Waste Reduction Coordinator. “In BC, producers of packaging-like products and single-use items are now required to pay for these items to be recycled. Before the recent update to the Recycling Regulation, any of these products that ended up in the recycling system were essentially getting a free ride. Many residents have likely already been placing these recently added items into their recycling. Now, they are officially part of our program.” 

The list of new items accepted in City residential recycling curbside carts and bins is quite extensive and includes the following: 

  • aluminum foil, pie plates, and baking dishes
  • metal tins
  • plastic plant pots, cups, gift boxes, food storage containers, straws, stir sticks, utensils, disposable hangers, dental floss cases, and tape dispensers
  • paper cups, paper plates, gift boxes, paper bags, lunch bags, pinatas, paper gift bags, paper hats, and party décor
  • cardboard storage boxes and moving boxes

Residents can also take plastic carry-out bags, freezer bags, wrap, and drop sheets as well as squishy foam packaging and foam bows and cups to a Recycle BC depot.

Recycling is an ever-changing landscape driven by market forces and technology. The City encourages residents to stay up to date by using the Waste Wise Kamloops app, which is available for free at or in app stores.