Like other major cities in Canada, Vancouver operates a recycling program. Different recycling programs exist with respect to residences and commercial properties; this article is concerned mostly with the former. Information for business recycling options in Vancouver can be found on the city website.
Houses and single-family residences in Vancouver are eligible for its premiere recycling program, the Blue Box program. Vancouver’s Blue Box recycling service was created in 1990 and facilitates recycling of common materials such as paper and newspapers, cardboard, metal, plastic, and glass. (Although plastic and glass beverage containers are usually instead covered by the provincial bottle deposit program). Under this program, each house has been given a blue box, a yellow bag, and a blue bag. Metal, plastic, and glass go into the blue box, paper goes into the yellowbag, and newsprint (which is recycled separately) goes into the blue bag. The city covers the cost of the program by charging annual fees to all dwellings, alongside its annual garbage collection fees. In 2010, recycling costs were $29 for a single-family house, $50 for a duplex, $92 for a quadruplex, and so on, with costs scaling up for larger buildings like apartment buildings.
Homeowners must have their recycling box and bags at the curb on the morning of scheduled pickup, which varies according to location. An online collection schedule is available here. However, residents are normally also given a paper copy of the next year’s schedule on an annual basis, each December.
Residents of apartments in Vancouver fall under another program, the Apartment Recycling Program. This program was first established in 1999 and provides similar recycling collection services for residents of apartment buildings. The city charges apartment building owners according to a formula of $8 plus $21 for each apartment in the building (for instance, a 50-unit building pays a total of $1058). Apartment tenants do not have to pay directly, although of course landlords do pass on their costs in the form of lease costs.
People can also drop off recyclable materials at the Vancouver South Transfer Station, located at 377 West Kent Avenue North. That facility does not charge for drop-offs of small amounts of materials from homeowners, although large amounts of material are assessed at charges per tonne of disposed material ($82 per tonne for garbage, and $59 per tonne for grass clippings). Any material that contains or may contain asbestos must be taken to the Vancouver Landfill, located in Delta.