Here’s where you can find handy links from where to look up recycling facilities to where to get bulk laundry soap.  (some of these are Vancouver-based, but not all).  If want to know about something that isn’t on here, just drop us an email.

Recycling Tools

  • The Recycling Council of BC Recyclepedia – Find out what you can recycle and where for BC residents.
  • The Recycling Hotline (brought to you by RCBC) is where a real live person will answer all your recycling questions. 1-800-667-4321 or you can email them at
  • Metro Vancouver Recycles – Input your address (in Metro Vancouver) and anything from clothing to tin cans, and they’ll tell you where you can take it for reuse or recycling
  • For Recycling info in the City of Vancouver click here
  • The American Chemistry Council has a great resource on plastics recycling (general information and plastics buyers) in the US and Canada
  • If you live in East Vancouver, here’s a handy list of recycling/reuse resources

Recycling Providers and Reuse Alternatives

  • Happy Stan’s Recycling Services is the private recycling company where we take our soft plastic (yay) among other things
  • Pacific Mobile Depot is another private hauler we take our stuff to.  They come to the city once a month, and they take all kinds of plastic (including styrofoam and toothbrushes) and electronics.
  • Encorp takes beverage containers (including milk) and all electronics
  • Free Geek takes computers (and accessories) to make refurbished computers for people who need them.
  • Ikea takes household batteries and lightbulbs
  • Our Social Fabric accepts donations of unused cloth and textiles. They do not accept clothing, towels, or sheets.
  • Gemtext takes all kinds of textiles including ripped or torn clothing and single shoes! They’re in the US, but if you’re near the border, might be worth a trip by a drop box.


  • Compost bins are available for only $25 (very subsidized) to Vancouver residents. Find out more info here Lots of other municipalities do this too.
  • Compost bins are available commercially in many shapes and sizes. Click here for more compost products than you knew existed.
  • Get more info on composting by calling the (Vancouver) Composting Hotline at (604) 736-2250

Around the House

  • VIP biodegradable laundry soap is the one we most often use. It is made in Mission, BC and available at Safeway, at the co-op on commercial drive (in huge containers) or online at  We also make our own.
  • Bulk biodegradable laundry soap can be found at the east vancouver co-op on Commercial Drive in Vancouver.
  • locally made laundry soap in returnable/refillable glass bottles is available at the co-op on Commercial Drive
  • Vancouver has a great shop called The Soap Dispensary ( that stocks cleaning and hygiene supplies (including wooden toothbrushes)

On the Go

  • Check out a list of different reusable bulk and produce bags here.
  • Great lunch containers for kids are available online at LapTop Lunches. They even sell class sets, so you can get your kid’s school involved.
  • If you want to avoid plastic food containers, try glass or stainless steel. I’ve heard good things about PlanetBoxLunchbots, and Innate (those last guys are local too).

Grocery Shopping

  • We’ve had success getting cheese in our own containers at most deli counters (you might just have to explain a bit).  Dollar Grocer (Commercial Drive) also has feta in bulk.
  • There are great bulk sections at Dollar Grocer, Donald’s, Drive Organics, and many other independent grocers on the Drive, as well as Save-on-foods, Price Smart, and Superstore.
  • We use reusable mesh bags for produce and bulk.


  • We buy package-free bar soap for shaving from Lush
  • We buy recycled toilet paper in a large cardboardbox (no plastic) from janitorial supply stores.
  • We bought our toothbrushes online and at Drive Organics, but I think I’ll go wooden like this or this next time.
  • Floss- I either use Radius compostable dental floss (note, it has a recyclable plastic case and is not vegan due to it being made of silk), or I use Eco-Dent floss which is NOT compostable and geos in the garbage, but comes in bulk with a completely cardboard package.
  • We buy 100% recycled toilet paper from a janitorial supply store where it comes in a big box with no plastic wrapping. You can buy cloth wipes at
  • For feminine hygiene, I use both the DivaCup and Lunapads
  • There is a store on Main Street that sells bulk shampoo, conditioner, and cleaning supplies (wooden toothbrushes too).

32 responses to “resources

  1. Your link to “Free Geek” is broken. It looks like it’s actually at

  2. Nikson

    ‘Our Social Fabric’ is no longer accepting clothing as donations.
    Is there another place that would accept ripped clothing (e.g. socks with holes) in Vancouver BC?

    • I’m not surprises – the storage locker was bursting when I dropped my stuff off there. Good question about other fabric takers. I don’t know of any off the top of my head. Socks make great dusters, but there’s only so much dusting one can do. I’ll let you know if I find anything.

      • Laury Walkey

        Some thrift stores will take old, damaged clothing to repurpose into rags or quilt blocks. Please make sure you clean your clothing before donating.

      • Tanya

        There is a place in Surrey that takes fabric scraps on 78A avenue; I forgot the name.

    • Tanya

      Trans-Continental Textile Recycling 13120 78 A Avenue. (Yes, I’m guessing this will be deleted but …… They also take old shoes and electronics. (Don’t worry I won’t post again.)

      • So their program is outlined at . I wonder if they actually recycle shoes that are no longer usable? They seem to take textiles for donation as well as rags.

      • I thought I’d add to the info about Trans-Continental Textile. I emailed them about recycling used clothing and shoes, and here is their response:

        “There are no limits to what we will accept when it comes to clothes and shoes; we will find a use for them no matter what shape they are in. It is probably best for you to drop them off at a bin closest to you.”

        If you’re living in Vancouver, there is only one drop-off bin located at Oakridge Shopping Mall (next to Kin’s Market). Hope that helps!

      • Great tip! I have recently talked to a couple other organizations who have drop boxes, and they all seem to have textile recycling in place which is so great to know!

      • Sarah Senn

        Transcontinental Textiles partnering with Canuck House has bins outside Superstore on Marine Drive and a number of Safeways in Vancouver,. The bins are blue with Canuk House on them.

  3. Pingback: More complete and efficient recycling ( = less garbage ) | Year at the Yuke

  4. luisa

    Hi Clean Bin folks,
    I’ve been looking into non plastic wrapped toilet tissue from janitorial stores in Vancouver, however, it appears that many of them are individually wrapped in paper also. Do you know anywhere to get bulk toilet rolls with no/minimum packaging?

  5. Thea Rhiannon

    I’m a 3R maniac (reduce, reuse and recycle) from way back, but saw a tip in your terrific film that would be a “one more thing” for me. You showed cloth bags for gift-giving (especially Christmas) but I’m not seeing them in your resources list. Can you please let us know where you get those? Thanks!

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  9. Pingback: Our Social Fabric | The Trash Blog

  10. brightgirl04

    Where can I get a more eco-friendly razor for shaving? – you only mention soap

    • We now use safety razors where you just switch out the metal blade (and can recycle it). You can get them online. In Vancouver, many chops like the Soap Dispensary, Homesteaders Emporium, and specialty barbers have them as well. You can also look at a straight razor which is just a single blade that gets sharpened – a little more maintenance, but very cool.

  11. caroline m.

    Hi there,
    Great blog, I just discovered it but I will definitely be back.
    I also live in Vancouver, and I’m wondering which janitorial supply stores you have found that sell 100% recycled paper, as so far I have not found any through my internet search. Thanks,

  12. caroline m.

    Thank you so much for the advice Jen, I went to Planet Clean, it was close to home and they were so friendly. Did you know that if you ask for a discount , they’ll give you 10% off? The paper is not as rough as I expected, I quickly got use to it, and I notice the rolls last longer than our old type used to. We are never going back to plastic wrapped tp.

    On a side note, I was able to borrow your documentary from the library. I love it! I’ve been cutting down on my waste at the source pretty seriously for the last few months, but your movie was an inspiration to try even harder.

  13. Isabel Schwarzkopf

    A menstrual cup is clearly a more green alternative.

    I was on a work course about the Environment and our impact on it and what really struck me was how much I contribute to landfill every month. I have never liked tampons or pads, they make me feel irritated and unclean, especially in the summer. Personally, I can tell you I love my MonthlyCup, so I’d always recommend giving it a try.

  14. Laura Yates

    Love what you’re doing. Would doubly love it if you took at second look and didn’t promote Donald’s Markets. They’ve moved to increasingly packaging their produce in plastic bags and styrofoam trays with plastic wrap. Going in there is literally infuriating.

    It would be amazing if people not only refused to buy their crappy, prepackaged produce, and even better if people started to talk to them about it.

    They have become my least favorite grocer on the Drive, and on Hastings, ahead of Safeway, and that’s really something.

    • You’re right – those foam tray drive me crazy, especially because they often do their discounted produce in them. They do have a nice bulk section. But the one at Dollar is better.

  15. jenny

    I just wanted to let you all know that most “hygeine” products are completely unnecessary (not to mention packaged in plastic and packed with harmful chemicals…how did corporations convince us that we needed this stuff?!). You may be surprised at first, but try these ideas and I bet you will never go back.
    **toothpaste – just stop using it, water and a toothbrush (and floss) works just fine on its own; you can use baking soda once a week if you like
    **soap – just stop using it (apart from on your hands now and then, when they are very dirty)
    **body wash – stop using it; use vinegar mixed with water (1:3) and a wash cloth instead
    **body lotion – just stop using it; coconut oil and/or vaseline work perfectly well
    **facial cleanser – that’s right, you don’t need this either; you can use oat flour, or vinegar+water+wash cloth, or just water, or baking soda now and then; there are sooooooo many options
    **shampoo – more garbage; mix baking soda and water into a paste, rub that into your scalp, rinse it off, then rinse with vinegar+water mix


  16. Chelsea

    Hi Jen,

    I just watched “The Clean Bin Project” and I was curious about the recycling categories you had under your sink. In my house we have “paper” and “plastics, aluminum cans, glass” and “soft plastics” (and of course a compost) which I think is a great start, but I would be open to having a few more. Any feedback or advice would be much appreciated.

    I was also curious about what soft plastics are unable to be recycled. I’ve heard ziplock bags cannot be recycled at all. I have looked online but found no information. While we are working towards phasing out the use plastics completely, I would like to recycle as much as possible during the process.

    Looking forward to hearing from you!!! You and Grant are so inspiring.

    • Thanks for you nice words. We have those categories plus one for lightbulbs and batteries etc. We also have a metals bin for scrap metals that aren’t picked up curbside and a hard plastics bin for those plastics that aren’t picked up curbside or are small. We used to have low grade and high grade paper, but now we put it all together.

      We’ve actually moved things out from under our sink and keep it in baskets in a shelving unit out in the open – the bins are bigger, and it’s a nice talking point when people are over.

      Although we don’t buy much food in plastic any more, the recycler we take soft plastics to makes us separate them into “stretchy” (think bubble wrap, plastic wrap and plastic bags) and “crinkly” (think chip bags, granola bar wrappers, coffee bags). The former are recycled and the latter go to the waste to energy facility, so they basically get burned to make electricity – you have to decide for yourself if it’s worth it. Ziplocs would fall under stretchy I think. The key is that it has to been clean.

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