Central Okanagan homeowners who are unable or unwilling to properly separate their recyclables from their garbage risk losing their curbside pickup service in 2022.
Further cart inspections by so-called ‘Recycling Ambassadors’ will take place this year to ensure items are properly sorted between green and black carts.
“Properties with a history of contamination will be reported to local government by-law enforcement crews for further action, which may include fines or suspension of curbside services,” the district spokesperson wrote. regional Bruce Smith in an email.
In previous inspections, as many as eight out of 100 blue recycling carts were found to be “heavily contaminated” with inappropriate materials, Smith said.
“Our approach is always to lead with education,” he said. “Last year, 335 warning letters were issued without any fines being imposed.”
“In rare cases, highly contaminated recycling cars that pose a threat to the integrity of the recycling program and worker safety are issued immediate fines without warning or education,” Smith said. “In 2021, only one such fine has been issued.”
However, with the inspection program being expanded this year, staff will carry out “timely repeat inspections” of carts in areas where above-average levels of contamination have been noted, Smith said.
Although the automated curbside collection program began in 2008, some residents still don’t know which items go in which bins, according to the regional district.
The most common sorting errors involving blue recycling carts are the improper addition of plastic bags, polystyrene, glass, electronics, textiles and fabrics, and books.
For black garbage carts, common mistakes include adding paper towels and tissues, toys, garden hoses, and Tupperware-type containers.
When inspectors detect problems, they can issue a warning and place an information sticker on carts indicating what goes where. Nearly 5,000 such stickers were affixed last year.
For more information on what to put in carts and where to drop off items that can’t be put in, see rdco.com/recycle