Written by Claudia Castro, Sustainability Consultant, Lower Mainland Facilities Management

What can you do to ensure you're recycling correctly at a hospital or residential care site?

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

Recycling in health care facilities is different from 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 BCGreenCare.ca.

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.

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 of it in the garbage.

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

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?

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 Sonja.janousek@fraserhealth.ca  We’ll include your question in a future edition of Ask Sonja and Helen, or contact you directly.

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