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Recycling Questions? Ask Sonja and Helen Edition #13

Recycling Questions? Ask Sonja & Helen

Every two months, Recycling Renewal Program (RRP) Consultants, Sonja and Helen, answer your questions on what can and cannot be recycled at Health Authority owned hospital and residential care sites.

Recycling in health care facilities is different to recycling at home or in an office. Our facilities generate biomedical waste, so our recyclables pose a higher risk to recycling vendor staff that sort items by hand. We want to help ensure you have the information you need to dispose of your waste items correctly.

Missed previous editions?

We post the recycling question and answer series with photos and posters on the BCGreenCare.ca site here.


Edition #13: What can I do to ensure I’m recycling correctly at my hospital or residential care site?

For this edition, we are going to answer some of the frequently asked recycling questions we hear from you.

Q. How do I find out what is and isn’t allowed in the recycling bins?

Mixed Containers bin 

Mixed containers recycling refers to hard containers made of plastic, tin, aluminum, glass, or Tetra Pak that are not on the list of non-recyclable items (listed below).

Mixed Paper bin

Mixed paper recycling refers to non-confidential paper products (clean and dry), such as newspaper, glossy paper, and boxboard.

Refundable Beverage Containers

Only found in food services and some staff lounges. Refundable beverage recycling refers to beverage containers made of plastic, aluminum, glass, and Tetra Pak that are eligible for refund. All these items can also be disposed in the Mixed Containers bin.

Click on the images for specific examples.

Q. Does the container need to be rinsed?

Ideally, yes. All containers must be empty. However, when rinsing isn’t possible, minimal food or liquid residue is acceptable. Use your judgement. If you can’t remove the food or liquid, please dispose it in the garbage.


Q.  What if I’m still confused about what it is accepted in the recycling bin?

Check out the following resources:

·         Transform recycling at your site in 2 ½ minutes video

·         Recycling and Waste Segregation Guide

·         Recycling Questions: Ask Sonja and Helen


Q. What is on the list of non-recyclable items?

Our vendor does not accept the following items for recycling, under any circumstances:

×     Biomedical waste and sharps

×     Diapers or disposable briefs

×     Urinals/graduated cylinders

×     Syringes with or without needles

×     Specimen containers

×     Tubing of any kind: for ventilator, IV, oxygen mask, etc.

×     Medicine vials: glass and plastic

×     IV bags

×     Gloves or PPE (Personal Protective Equipment)

×     Items with biohazard symbols or confidential information

×     Containers that have held corrosive materials


Q. How do I help my colleagues recycle correctly?

Display recycling posters in your unit

·   Department Specific Posters

·   Recycling Stream Posters

Book a training session for your unit marianne.dawson@fraserhealth.ca

Send us your questions!

Unsure about what can and can’t be recycled and why? Or do you have an inspiring story about recycling in your unit? 

Send an email to marianne.dawson@fraserhealth.ca. We will include your question in a future edition or contact you directly.