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Frequently asked questions

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FAQs

What is four-stream recycling?

Multi-stream recycling is a waste collection method that separates different types of recyclables at the time they are being disposed of. At Douglas College, there will be four streams – hence four-stream recycling - which are Mixed Containers, Compost, Paper, and Garbage.

What are the benefits to Douglas College of implementing a four-stream recycling initiative?

Besides the obvious benefit of diverting waste from landfills, the four-stream recycling initiative will reduce operating costs.

What is accepted in the Mixed Containers stream?

  • Rigid plastics marked 1-7* – ex. yogurt containers, deli-style salad or soup containers, plastic clamshell-style food containers, etc.
  • Plastic beverage bottles – ex. pop bottles, sports drink bottles, water bottles
  • Aluminum beverage cans – ex. pop cans, energy drink cans
  • Tin cans – ex. soup cans
  • Tetrapaks – ex. juice boxes, non-dairy milk containers, soup containers
  • Clamshell-style food containers – ex. clear plastic, black plastic, or Styrofoam
  • Glass jars or bottles
  • Styrofoam – ex. coffee cups, food containers (no large pieces)
  • Hard plastic product packaging
  • Plastic coffee-cup lids
  • Plastic cutlery
  • Aluminum foil
  • Aluminum pie plates

*NOTE: Some soft plastics are marked #4, but please do not place soft plastics of any type (ex. plastic food wrap (Saran Wrap), grocery, Ziploc, or other plastic bags) in the Mixed Containers stream.

If soft plastics are placed in the Mixed Containers stream, it is considered contaminated, and is unrecyclable.

Please put soft plastics in the Garbage bin.

What is accepted in the Compost stream?

  • Food scraps, including meat, bones, and dairy
  • Food-soiled paper or cardboard – ex. pizza boxes, wax paper, parchment paper, paper plates, napkins, cardboard take-out boxes or microwave meal boxes, coffee filters
  • Wooden stir sticks or chopsticks
  • Tea bags
  • Used Kleenex
  • Items marked compostable or biodegradable

What is accepted in the Paper stream?

  • Office paper
  • Newspaper
  • Phone books
  • Magazines
  • Sticky/Post-It-Notes
  • Glossy paper
  • Junk mail
  • Cardboard
  • Poster board
  • File folders
  • Paper coffee cups and sleeves
  • Empty cardboard dairy containers
  • Paper towel (not food-soiled)
  • Staples acceptable


What is accepted in the Garbage stream?

Well, garbage, of course. But please, check carefully to make sure what you’re throwing away cannot be recycled. The vast majority of products and materials can be recycled, and we strongly encourage everyone to consider into which stream each and every item they wish to dispose of should be placed. Before you bin it, think a minute – can it be recycled?

Some items which should be placed into Garbage are: 

  • Snack wrappers, ex. granola bar, chocolate bar, candy wrappers
  • Chip bags
  • Soft plastics, ex. plastic food wrap (Saran Wrap), grocery, Ziploc, or other plastic bags
  • Foil bags, ex. coffee bean bags
  • Adhesive tape
  • Laminated items

Is there a list of where items should go?

Indeed! Of course, it's not totally comprehensive, but the What Goes Where list covers most common items. 

Can we not do away with garbage bins altogether?

The intent of the four-stream recycling initiative is to divert as much waste as we can from going to the landfill. Fortunately, the vast majority of products and materials can be recycled, and we strongly encourage everyone to consider into which stream each and every item they wish to dispose of should be placed. Before you bin it, think a minute – can it be recycled?

However, there continue to be some materials that are not recyclable. For those few materials, well, the garbage bin it is.

Do items that have contained food need to be washed out before they can be recycled (e.g. plastic food containers, pizza boxes)?

Items which have contained food should be empty, but it is not required that they be washed, or even rinsed. If there is still food contents in your container, empty that into the Compost bin, then drop the container into the Mixed Containers bin.

Food-soiled paper or cardboard, like pizza boxes, paper plates, and napkins can be placed in the Compost bin.

How do I provide feedback on the four-stream recycling initiative?

Please direct any feedback or concerns to Facilities at New Westminster or Coquitlam.

How can I get involved in the four-stream recycling initiative?

Students interested in participating in the four-stream recycling launch in August can find out details and sign up here.

If you are an employee who would like to participate in the four-stream recycling launch, please visit the Recycling page on DC Connect.

What is happening to the old bins?

Old common area bins will either be sold, re-used elsewhere, or recycled.  Bins in employee areas have been repurposed from existing garbage bins. Paper recycling bins already in place will continue to be used.

What should I do if a bin is full?

If you notice a bin in your area that needs to be emptied, contact Facilities at New Westminster or Coquitlam.

As the four-stream recycling initiative is launched, Facilities will be monitoring bins in every area, and will be making adjustments to the emptying schedule as necessary.


What if the station close to me is in the wrong place?

Facilities will work with Recycling Champions in each department or faculty to ensure that the bins are placed in appropriate locations for the area’s space, and workflow. If you have concerns or feedback about the location of the bins in your area, contact Facilities at New Westminster or Coquitlam.

Won't the Compost bin smell? What about rodents?

Bins will be emptied daily, or, if deemed necessary in certain locations, more than once a day. Such frequent emptying should limit any odours from the Compost bin, and will limit rodent activity as well.

Why are there different bins in employee areas and common areas?

The bins in common areas are Busch System recycling bins. They are well-suited to public spaces, as they are modular, light-weight, and adaptable, and are capable of holding a larger volume of materials.

Bins in employee areas have been repurposed from the garbage bins which were already in place. Adapting these garbage bins into the four-stream recycling bins is cost-effective, and prevents them from being thrown away.

Why YELLOW for mixed paper? Haven't our paper recycling bins always been blue?

Many local municipalities have adopted yellow as the color to differentiate paper recycling, while blue indicates mixed containers. Switching paper recycling bins to having yellow labels brings the College in line with what most of us experience at home.

For employees this might be a bit confusing, since the blue paper recycling bins already in use will be retained. However, they will be clearly labeled in yellow, to help differentiate from Mixed Containers.

Where should I put chewing gum?

Please put chewing gum into the Garbage bin.

Can I recycle K-Cups or other coffee pods?

K-Cups and other coffee pods (marked #6) can be recycled if you follow these steps:

  • Remove the foil lid, place it in the Garbage bin
  • Empty the coffee grounds into the Compost bin
  • Recycle the plastic cup in Mixed Containers

Where should I put used Kleenex?

Used Kleenex and tissue should go into the Compost bin. 

What should I do with old binders?

Binders usually contain different kinds of metal and plastics, which makes them difficult to recycle. They should go in the Garbage bin. Some binders may have cardboard in them - if you are able to remove the cardboard, that can be recycled in Paper, but the rest should still go into Garbage. 

What should I do with corrugated cardboard?

Corrugated cardboard can be placed in the Paper bin. If you have a large volume, please contact Facilities at New Westminster or Coquitlam to arrange pick-up on an as-needed basis.

Can I recycle Styrofoam?

Styrofoam, such as Styrofoam cups, take-out food containers, or packing material, can be placed in the Mixed Containers bin. If you have a large volume of Styrofoam, contact Facilities at New Westminster or Coquitlam to arrange pick-up on an as-needed basis.

Where do soft plastics go?

Some soft plastics are marked #4,  but please do not place soft plastics of any type (ex. plastic food wrap (Saran Wrap), grocery, Ziploc, or other plastic bags) in the Mixed Containers stream.

If soft plastics are placed in the Mixed Containers stream, it is considered contaminated, and is unrecyclable. 

In public areas, please put soft plastics in the Garbage bin.

Currently, there are Soft Plastic collection bins in some employee areas. Employees may check their recycling areas, or check with their departmental Recycling Champion to locate the nearest Soft Plastic bin. Remember that soft plastics need to be clean to be accepted. Please wash or rinse out bags. Ideally, they should be as dry as possible, however it is expected that some water particles will be included.

If you have a large volume of clean, dry soft plastic, please contact Facilities at New Westminster or Coquitlam to arrange pick-up on an as-needed basis.

What do I do with things like electronics, batteries, ink cartridges, light bulbs, or large amounts of other items?

There are still items, such as those listed above, which don’t easily fit into one of the four streams, but may still be recyclable. If you have items such as electronics, ink cartridges or light bulbs, you can contact Facilities to arrange pick-up on an as-needed basis.

Batteries will continue to be collected in each department area.

If you have a large volume of any recyclable material, contact Facilities at New Westminster or Coquitlam to arrange pick-up on an as-needed basis.