British Columbia is increasing the types of items it accepts for recycling in its residential blue box program.

The Ministry of Environment and Climate Change says it is adding more single-use plastic items and packaging products to its list of items accepted in blue boxes and provincial recycling depots.

The ministry says the newly accepted items are generally ones thrown out after a single use, such as plastic sandwich bags, party cups, bowls and plates.

It says single-use plastics are some of the most common items found on B.C.'s shores.

The newly accepted blue box items list includes: plastic food storage containers, plastic cutlery and straws, aluminum foil baking dishes and pie plates and aluminum foil and thin gauge metal storage tins.

The ministry says over the next four years, B.C. plans to extend its producer responsibility collection and recycling requirements to include mattresses, electric-vehicle batteries and medical sharps, which are syringes and lancets.

"This expanded materials list will allow more material to be recycled, keep it out of landfills and stop it from littering the environment," Recycle BC executive director Tamara Burns said in a statement. "Residents play a key role in recycling this material by enabling it to be collected, by putting it into their bins or taking materials to a depot."

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 7, 2023.

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