Nanaimo to start curbside recycling inspections due to high contamination rates

(File Photo)

The City of Nanaimo is asking residents to be mindful of what they place in their blue curbside recycling bins since recycling loads are coming in with high contamination levels.

The city says recycling loads must have contamination rates of less than three per cent to be accepted by the provincially run Recycle BC program.

Currently, Nanaimo says recycling loads are coming in with an average contamination rate of more than 10 per cent, with some rates as high as 18 per cent.

"Contamination can lead to increased service fees and recycling ending up in the landfill," said the city in a notice Tuesday.

"It can also put workers at risk and damage equipment used in the recycling process."

The city now plans to ramp up education and communication about what items can safely be put into recycling bins, while also inspecting curbside bins before pick up.

City staff will put stickers on items that are in recycling bins that can't be recycled.

"The goal is to never leave a cart behind, but households that continue to contaminate could see their blue carts not being collected," said the municipality.

The most common restricted items that are placed into recycling bins in Nanaimo are glass, electronics, plastic bags, scrap metal, clothing, and "refundables."

The city says these items should be taken to specific depots or put into the garbage if safe to do so.

Further information about Nanaimo's blue bin program can be found on the city's website.

An infographic about restricted and non-restricted recycling items can be found below.