Curbside recycling contamination still too high

Curbside recycling contamination still too high

North Cowichan is stepping up recycling bin inspections as part of its commitment under the provincial Recycle BC program, and contaminated bins will be left uncollected at curbside. Recently, the municipality was asked to ensure recycling contamination be no more than 3%. Currently, the rate is approximately 9%. Recycle BC can levy fines to North Cowichan if recycling loads delivered to a sorting depot are contaminated with non-recyclable materials.

This step follows a year of education aimed at reducing contamination by 25%. Curbside recycling audits were done by Waste Connections, the contracted curbside collector, and staff. Bins found with unaccepted items were tagged with cart hangers and “oops” stickers, and information on correct recycling was left behind.

The most common contaminants found in recycling bins are:

  • Garbage and kitchen waste/organics (these items go in the garbage or organics carts)
  • Electronics (old toasters, radios and microwaves should be taken to a recycling depot for free disposal)
  • Plastic bags and film, styrofoam, and glass (these items can be taken to a recycling depot for free disposal)

Another common problem is bagged recycling: items in your recycling bin should be loose and not inside a plastic bag (though the yellow recycling bag some residents use is acceptable).

Not sure about what goes where? Use the Waste Wizard or the MNC Curbside App to help you sort your waste.

Learn more about proper recycling by visiting