The Ultimate Guide To Recycling in Vancouver

When it comes to taking care of the environment, it’s hard to overstate the benefits of recycling. However, understanding what items in your household contain recyclable materials and which ones don’t, can be a daunting task. For instance, you might know what goes into the blue bin, but what do you do with the items that don’t?

If you’re eager to do your part in keeping Vancouver clean, I’m here to break down all the details as to how recycling in the city works. I’ll go over what can go out in the bins at the curb for weekly pickup, and point you in the right direction for recycling some other items that you can’t leave at the curb.

The Blue Recycling Bin

All residents of Clark County can take advantage of curbside recycling service, however, in some cities it is mandatory along with garage collection. Your recycling bins will be collected the same day as garbage. 

When you request recycling services, waste connection will provide you with a 32, 20, 64, or 96 gallon cart, depending on your recycling needs. You can request your recycling to be picked up once a month, weekly, or every other week. 

Here’s a list of recycling carts and their respective prices provided by waste connections. 

Guidelines

Don’t pack the items too tightly. If you have more items that can fit in the blue bin at a time, put them out in a separate bin or cardboard box next to the blue bin at no additional cost. 

You can put clean metal cans, pie plates, empty aerosol cans, newspapers, magazines, cereal and shoe boxes, paper bags, milk and juice cartons, and corrugated cardboard in the blue recycling bin. 

Don’t put food scraps, napkins, paper towels, plastic bags, lids, or other household hazardous waste into your blue bin. Any food containers must be rinsed out with no residue left. 

The Yard Debris Cart

Clark County offers an optional yard collection service to single-family residences, businesses, and multi-apartment complexes. Upon signing up, you will be issued a 64 gallon card and a special ‘Yard Debris’ sticker for the 32 gallon cart, for free. 

Vancouver also offers an optional organics collection service to residents within city limits. The same cart can be used for yard debris and food scraps at the curb. You can learn more about this service here

Guidelines

Don’t pack the items too tight – they should fall out freely. If you have more materials that can fit in your 64 gallon cart, use an additional 32 gallon cart or kraft bag (with a ‘Yard Debris’ on). 

Acceptable yard debris materials include prunings, wood scraps, weeds, leaves, and wood pieces up to four inches in diameter and five inches in length. 

Bundle up any branches or brushy materials but ensure they are within five feet in length and one foot in diameter. But more importantly, ensure that you do not put out any yard debris packed in plastic bags. 

The maximum weight limit for each pickup is 180 lbs.

The Mixed Recycling Bin

You may be wondering by now, what happens to other recyclables like appliances, electronics, glass, and household hazardous waste, if they cannot go in the blue bin?

City guidelines urge residents to place these items next to the blue recycling bin in a separate cart. Containers of motor oil and other household chemical waste can be placed as it is next to the recycling bin for pick up. 

Guidelines

Electronics, bulky items, and appliances can be recycled at the curb for an additional cost. However, bulky items are only available for pickups on Tuesday and Thursday. Their pickup can be scheduled two weeks in advance. 

Glass: The city recommends that you put glass bottles and jars (not including light bulbs, broken glass, or drinking glasses) into a separate bin that can be placed on the side of your blue recycling bin. 

Motor Oil: Place it on the side of your blue cart in a clear one-gallon container that is tightly lidded. If you are getting rid of batteries, they must be placed on the lid of the cart in a plastic bag. 

Appliances: Each household is eligible for one free appliance pickup per year. Anything beyond that will come at an additional cost. Items like washers, dryers, stoves, or water heaters, can be recycled at the curb for a price. Here’s a list of appliances and their respective cost for recycling. 

Electronics: All electronics including TVs, monitors, computer hardware, and laptops, can be recycled at the curb for $16.76 each. The city asks that you schedule their pick up at least a week before your desired pickup date. 

Rent-a-Bin

If you have more items that can fit in a 96 gallon cart, you may consider renting an extra cart. The Rent-a-Bin service can be availed if you are running a project that accumulates large volumes of organic waste or yard debris. 

This service is only available for a period of five days following the date of delivery and will cost you an additional $190.24, that must be paid in advance. If you would like the bin picked up, unloaded, and returned within five days, there is an additional charge of $117.89 for that. 

Household Hazardous Waste and Paint

If you have unwanted chemicals, cleaning agents, poisons, paint, or pesticides in your household, these can be recycled at one of three Clark County transfer stations. Their locations and working hours can be accessed here

If you have paint leftover from a recent renovation project, you can drop it off at one of the dedicated paint recycling locations. This tool lets you find the nearest drop off locations for paint. 

Batteries and Cell Phones

If you are not entirely sure what’s the best way to recycle cell phones, then you are in luck. Lowes will accept all kinds of batteries and cell phones that you may want to recycle. They are located in five locations across the city, so finding a recycling center near you will not be an issue. 

Unwanted Medication

Unwanted medicines and equipment, such as inhalers and sharps, can be detrimental to the health of our community and environment if not disposed of properly. Luckily for residents within the city limits of Vancouver, the partnership between Clark county and the nonprofit MED-Project LLC, you may now safely dispose of unwanted medicine. 

Residents can also avail free mail-in service for inhalers and pre-filled injectors upon request through MED-Project. You can find the nearest drop-off site using this tool

Needles and syringes can be dropped off at one of the transfer stations during all hours of operation. You will need to pack them in rigid plastic bottles or an approved sharps disposal container before dropping off at the facility. 

I hope this helps you have a better grasp on how to recycle in our city so we can do a better job of helping the environment. Truly, every little bit helps!

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