Nanaimo recycling over three times higher than allowable contamination limit

Nanaimo recycling over three times higher than allowable contamination limit

Recycling picked up at curbside in Nanaimo is on average more than three times higher than the allowable contamination rate, according to the City.

Recycle BC has set the acceptable contamination amount at three per cent, but Nanaimo’s rate averages higher than 10 per cent, with contamination rates being recorded as high as 18 per cent.

The most common contamination found in recycling includes glass, electronics, plastic bags and overwrap, clothing, scrap metal, garbage, construction material, refundables, and hazardous waste.

Recycling placed for curbside collection should be empty and rinsed, and cardboard must be broken down to no more than 2’ x 2’.

Recycling must be loose, it should not be placed into bags or boxes and items should not be stacked.

“It’s amazing how well we’ve adapted and become responsible recyclers over the years, but we have to be careful not to become a community of wish-cyclers, tossing items into the blue bin which can’t be properly handled at the recycling facility,” said Mayor Leonard Krog in a news release. “That just creates more work on the line, undoes the great work other households have done, and ultimately could hit us in the pocketbooks in a big way. When in doubt, just throw it out; recycle the materials you’re sure of.”

When recycling is contaminated, it can lead to an increase in service fees and recycling being sent to the landfill. Additionally, it can put workers at risk and damage equipment.

Nanaimo has developed an action plan to reduce recycling contamination levels, including increased communication and education, curbside inspections of blue carts and a firmer stance on collecting.

If someone puts out contaminated recycling, a sticker will be placed on the blue box alerting them of the items that were not accepted.

“The goal is to never leave a cart behind, but households that continue to contaminate could see their blue carts not being collected,” the city says in a news release.

For assistance with identifying blue cart accepted material use the What Goes Where Waste Wizard tool or download the Nanaimo Recycles App. Those without access to the internet or an app can call the Recycling Hotline at 1-800-732-9253.

Laura BroughamLaura Brougham

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