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British Columbia

City asks for cooperation as report shows high recycling contamination rates in Kamloops – Kamloops News

The city of Kamloops is urging residents to be more diligent about proper recycling after a recent report showed consistently high levels of contamination over the past three years.

Contamination occurs when items that are not accepted for pickup under Recycling BC guidelines are found in curbside dumpsters.

In a press release, Glen Farrow, the city’s road and environmental services manager, said the city’s average contamination rate for curbside recycling is 10 percent — much higher than the 3 percent contamination rate required by the province’s Recycle BC program.

This has resulted in the city receiving financial penalties in the form of Recycle BC cutting payments to the city of Kamloops for its collection services.

“In 2022, the city received 12 penalties totaling $60,000,” Farrow said.

According to the city, audits conducted by Recycle BC showed that the most common recycling contaminants in Kamloops are trash, books, clothing, wood, scrap metal, electronics, and durable plastic products like toys.

Other materials found in curbside recycling bins include Styrofoam, glass, and flexible plastic packaging — items only accepted for recycling at Recycle BC depots.

Recycling must also be placed loosely in carts and bins, as recyclables that are in bags or stacked inside each other are considered unsortable.

An inspection of 7,000 recycling carts conducted by the City of Kamloops found that 89 percent of the carts were only minimally contaminated, but the remainder were often contaminated with a significant amount of trash or hazardous material.

The city said it will launch a new enforcement strategy that will allow employees to suspend collection of recycling materials when certain carts show high levels of contamination and direct contact with the resident doesn’t improve the situation.

For carts with minimal contamination, the city’s approach is to leave a notice letting residents know the items were improperly sorted.

Farrow said it’s encouraging to see most residents “doing their best” to follow recycling guidelines.

“Unfortunately, warnings for the really bad culprits were not successful. The new approach will give the resident back some responsibility for solving the problem,” said Farrow.

Farrow said the goal is to work with local residents to reduce cases of contamination and avoid further penalties.

For more information about recycling, visit the City of Kamloops website or contact the City Citizens Registration Office.

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