Contamination levels in the CVRD’s curbside recycling program are holding steady at around 13 percent, however, the mandated target is three percent.

While ridiculous items like hoses and boots have stopped finding their way into the curbside totes, people are still confused about what goes in and stays out of those totes.

What do do with plastics remains a major source of confusion and Solid Waste Operations Superintendent at the CVRD, Jason Adair said crews are leaving contaminated material behind.

“If the tote is very contaminated, we’re leaving the tote behind, we’re not even collecting it because if we put that into the recycling stream and it completely contaminates the load and that leads to all kinds of problems in the sorting and it keeps our contamination levels too high,” said Adair. “We’re able to identify these folks who are contaminating the recycling stream and we’re just not picking them up at this point.”

Adair said, “We’re tracking them and trying to provide them with education to ensure they’re utilizing the program properly.”

Education is a key piece of this endeavor to reduce contamination levels by an additional ten percent, and Adair said a summer student and an engineering tech are going around, trying to educate the public by having face-to-face discussions and providing educational material and tips in totes.

Whether it’s plastic potato chip bags or shopping bags, Adair understands the confusion.

He added that only certain plastics are supposed to go in your curbside tote.

“If you’re talking about things like shopping bags, like film plastics and potato chip bags and things like that, those can go to Fisher Road [Recycling], they can go to any CVRD recycling centre. There are some grocery stores that will accept that type of material,” said Adair. “The type of plastics that are going in your recycling tote should be things like dishwashing bottles and laundry bottles and things of that nature.”

Adair added, “Anything soft and crinkly, or a shopping bag, that does not go in your curbside recycling.”

Anyone with questions about what goes into their recycling tote can visit the CVRD website and you can also check out the Recyclopedia.

You can also call the Recycling Hotline at 250-746-2540.