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Discontinuation of Soft Plastics Recycling

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Effective immediately

Soft plastics recycling — meaning wrappers, packaging and blue wrap — will no longer be available at hospitals and long-term care sites within Fraser Health, Providence Health Care, PHSA or Vancouver Coastal Health.

All options were considered before making the final decision to remove soft plastics. Understandably, this is disappointing news for many health-care staff who have worked hard to recycle soft plastics. Over the next few months, all soft plastics recycling bins will be removed.


  • The international market for soft plastics produced at our facilities is weak (Our items are small and made up of different grades and types of plastics.).
  • The majority of contamination is found in the soft plastics stream, e.g. gloves, IV bags.
  • Local recycling processors perceive contaminated health-care waste to be hazardous to their employees.


The four health organizations have had a new recycling processor since January 2015. The previous processor terminated our relationship due to a number of contamination incidents in 2014. The key to developing a long-term relationship with our processor is taking steps towards reducing contamination and working with facility staff to improve waste segregation practices.

The good news is, since 2010, overall waste-diversion rates from incineration through recycling and composting at acute care and long-term care sites have increased significantly. Waste shrink wrap produced in the warehouses will continue to be recycled. This material has value as it is consistent, not mixed with other plastics and produced in large quantities.


  1. The Recycling & Waste Segregation Guide for information on where to dispose of specific items
  2. To get involved in finding ways to reduce materials use, along with addressing other sustainability issues at work, join the Green+Leaders program.

Looking ahead

We will continue to monitor contamination of recycling bins. If contamination persists, bins will be removed. Thank you for taking care when recycling, which will help you to retain the program in your area.