The Cowichan Valley Regional District (CVRD) says recycling is more expensive for everyone when unaccepted materials end up in curbside totes.
With one of the highest recycling contaminant rates in the province, the CVRD says it will be conducting curbside recycling audits in certain areas in the region through the month of August.
“When banned items are placed in curbside recycling totes, it can result in entire loads of recyclables going to landfill as well as the region facing financial penalties,” CVRD Chair Jon Lefebure said.
The district says it participates in the Recycle B.C. curbside recycling program.
Funding conditions include the CVRD maintain a three per cent or lower rate of unaccepted material, such as plastic bags, styrofoam containers and other contaminants.
The region currently has a contamination rate of 15 per cent, which the CVRD says is among the highest rates in the province which could bring steep financial penalties from Recycle B.C.
The district says the tote auditing process is the most effective way to reduce curbside contamination.
“We hope residents who are unsure will visit our website or call us to learn more about which items are acceptable in their curbside totes,” CVRD Superintendent of Recycling and Waste Management Operations Jason Adair said.
“However if our staff continue to find items that are not recyclable in curbside totes, we will be forced to stop picking up recycling from those homes.”
Items that are not curbside recyclable will have an “oops” sticker placed on them, which will including information for the recycling hotline and the CVRD website to learn how or where to recycle items.
If totes are overly contaminated, staff may not collect the entire bin and leave a note specifying why the tote was not emptied.
The CVRD says staff have found broken glass, used diapers and lighters in recycling totes, which can pose health and safety hazards.