When it comes to the blue box curbside collection program, the Cowichan Valley Regional District has some work to do.

The contamination rate in the CVRD is 15 percent, the acceptable level is three percent and local residents need to be educated about recycling material and where it needs to go.

The CVRD’s Manager of Recycling and Waste Management Tauseef Waraich said work is underway to increase compliance.

“One is education, the other portion is auditing. We’re going into the streets to do some auditing to find out what the major trouble in their recyclable totes is,” said Waraich. “We do have inner-automated garbage trucks or the pick-up trucks, we can actually go in and look at the totes.”

Waraich said the regional district is considering the idea of not picking up contaminated recycling material.

“We will not pick up that tote because that will then contaminate the overall load, so, we don’t want to do that,” said Waraich. “That is more for reflection of going to that house and hoping that that house will then contact us, saying ‘what seems to be the trouble,’ and although they have the letter, we will be able to let them know what’s troubling in their tote. Hopefully, they will take corrective action.”

The CVRD faces stiff penalties for contaminated loads, taking the form of fines in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Continued non-compliance will lead to violators not having their recycling picked up and because the collection program is run by utility fees, those fees may go up.

There are a number of resources available to homeowners about proper recycling practices, including the sending of letters to violators, along with an online Recycle Pedia and a smartphone curbside app available for download here.