The Regional District of Central Okanagan (RDCO), is reminding residents to double-check what they’re putting of their recycling. High levels of garbage are being present in bins and this might end in municipalities facing financial penalties.
Curbside recycling bins across the Central Okanagan are being filled to the brim with greater than just recyclable items. Waste audits conducted by Recycle BC show significant amounts of garbage.
The RDCO is held to a three-per cent contamination level and the present levels are greater than double that number.
“We’re really asking our residents to make sure that that once they toss stuff in that recycling bin it’s actually recyclable. Individuals are making some poor selections so far as what goes in there,” said Travis Kendel, engineering manager of the RDCO.
RDCO says over the past 12 months it has provided targeted education aimed toward reducing contamination. Soon, the high percentage of garbage will end in additional fees being levied.
“With over 20 collections trucks on the market right away collecting curbside recycling material and a penalty of as much as $5,000 per recycling truck with a contaminated load, that might have an actual impact on the rates that our residents pay for curbside collection services,” said Kendel.
Recycling plants in Kelowna are beginning to feel the results of the contamination because it’s slowing down their production.
“The most important contamination that we have now are the plastic bags,” said Deanne Stephenson, general manager of Cascades. “It’s not good because our automated system can’t tell the difference between a bit of paper and a plastic bag.
“It’s also really tough on our equipment since it wraps across the screens and causes jams.”
The more garbage in blue bins means it’s harder for recycling plants to sell their end product. Construction materials, hazardous waste and propane tanks are only a few of the items present in recycling bins.
“Take your plastics, take the glass — you realize, textiles, electronics — to the correct depots so we don’t need to pull it out here,” Stephenson said.
The regional district says one other problem they’re noticing is bagged recycling. They emphasize that materials shouldn’t be placed inside a plastic bag.
If the issue continues to worsen, RDCO says it’s going to start leaving bins behind which might be full of contamination.