Recycling your cannabis product packaging

BC Cannabis Stores

At BC Cannabis Stores, our employees and customers are passionate about the environment. We’ve heard your concerns about the amount of packaging that can come with some products, so here’s a quick guide to packaging regulations and ways that you can help us create less waste by recycling your cannabis containers.

Why is there so much packaging?

The federal Cannabis Act sets out regulations for cannabis product packaging with strict requirements around specific product information, such as the type of cannabis product (dried flower, oil, capsule or seed), levels of THC and CBD, the standardized cannabis symbol and mandatory selected warnings from Health Canada. Cannabis must be packaged in a container that is tamper-evident, child-resistant, prevents contamination, and keeps the cannabis dry (to reduce the potential growth of mould). Non-medical cannabis product packages must be sized enough to accommodate this required information.

Why can’t I bring my plastic tub back for a refill?

Current federal regulations mandate that cannabis products are securely and individually packaged by licensed producers, sealed with a Canadian Government excise duty tag, and safely transported to the BC Cannabis Stores’ Distribution Centre and stores. Therefore, it’s not possible to bring back containers for a refill; however clean containers can be recycled at your local recycling depot or curbside collection.  

Can I recycle the packaging?

Check the bottom of your plastic container for a code (seen within the recycling symbol), which denotes the type of plastic used to manufacture the product. 

You may see a 1, which is a common plastic code that shows the product is made from Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET). Soft drink containers (and dried flower packaging) often feature this plastic, which can be recycled into a number of useful items such as pillow stuffing, t-shirts, carpeting, or even more containers.

Plastic code 2 stands for High Density Polyethylene (HDPE), which is commonly found on milk and juice jugs, yogurt containers and shampoo bottles: it can be recycled into blue boxes and playground equipment.

Another common plastic code is 5, which is the symbol for Polypropylene (PP). Often found on syrup and ketchup bottles (and on dried flower packaging), Polypropylene can be recycled into objects such as ice scrapers.

Most paper and card packaging can be recycled, with the exception of waxed paper in some locations.

Non-medical cannabis beverage packaging, such as cans and bottles, can be recycled.

Where can I recycle my empty packaging?

Most aluminum, glass, paper, and plastic based packaging can be recycled at curbside, multi-family, and depot collections in the Multi-Material BC (MMBC) residential packaging and printed paper plastic recycling program, depending on your location in BC. For more information, please visit the Recycling Council of British Columbia.

For non-medical cannabis beverages that have been charged a container deposit fee (such as cans and bottles), empty containers can be returned to your local BC Cannabis Stores location or to your local recycling depot. The beverage deposit (charged at time of purchase) will be refunded at time of return. Please keep in mind the following when returning your empty beverage container:

  • Beverage containers must be thoroughly rinsed and must not contain any leftover product.
  • Containers must have all labelling intact to identify that the product was sold in B.C.
  • There is a daily limit of 12 beverage container returns per customer.


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