Here’s your guide to recycling common soft plastics.

Soft plastics recycling 101

Your guide to what’s what in the world of soft plastics

When out at the AV Landfill last week dealing with recycling, it was noticed there still seems to be considerable confusion around soft plastics.

There are two categories for soft plastics:

  1. Plastic bags and overwrap
  2. Other Flexible Plastic Packaging

Plastic bags and overwrap are fairly straightforward. There’s no real need for plastic bags with the availability of reusable shopping bags but on the off chance you forget to bring them shopping with you, you may have to purchase plastic bags from the store. These can be recycled. Overwrap is the plastic packaging around things like flats of pop, diapers, paper towels, etc. and although this plastic is not accepted in curbside recycling, it is accepted at the 3rd Ave. Depot as well as the recycling station at the AV Landfill.

Probably the most difficult for people to wrap their heads around is the “other flexible packaging.” This category can be tricky to navigate as there are 5 main subcategories. The following information was taken directly from the Recycle BC website which is an excellent resource for people with recycling questions!

Please note that all plastic should be rinsed and free of any residue.

1. Stand-up and zipper lock pouches

  • Stand-up and zipper lock pouches for frozen foods (e.g. fruit, prepared foods), fresh foods (e.g. grapes, deli meat), baby food, hand soap refills, dried fruit and nuts, granola, sugar, oatmeal, quinoa, grated cheese, etc. Zipper lock and tear-open pouches for cannabis product.

2. Crinkly wrappers and bags

  • Bags for potato chips, candy, dried pasta, cereal, etc.·
  • Wrappers for cheese slices, snack bars, instant noodles, candy bars, etc.

3. Flexible packaging with plastic seal

  • Packaging for fresh pasta, pre-packaged deli meats, pre-packaged cheese, etc.

4. Woven and net plastic bags

  • The mesh bags that you purchase things such as avocados, onions, grapefruit, nuts can all be recycled. Another example would be the woven rice bags.

5. Non-food protective packaging

  • This portion refers to bubble wrap, plastic air pocket bubblers or plastic mailing envelopes.

For more information on local recycling services, visit the ACRD website at To download the free ACRD Recycling and Waste Wizard app, visit your mobile app store and find . You can also check out the Facebook Page “Alberni Valley Waste Reduction Education” which has weekly tips and updates for the valley.


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