Photo: Regional District of Central Okanagan

Recycling ambassadors head back to Okanagan streets

Are you putting the right things in your recycling cart?

The Regional District of Central Okanagan is pushing the message of recycling education.

Recycling ambassadors are returning to the streets of the Okanagan to ensure that the correct recyclables is being put in its correct bin.

To combat recycling contamination, the district will be randomly checking what’s under the blue lid bins and inside the recycling carts.

“We understand that sorting waste and recycling can sometimes be confusing. Most residents are doing a pretty good job including only what’s acceptable to put in the carts,” said solid waster manager Jodie Foster.

“But recycling audits show there are still a significant number of unacceptable items going into our recycling stream, and that’s a big problem.”

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Foster said that with the launch of the Recycling Ambassador Summer Student Program, ambassadors will not only be reaching out to residents through curbside cart checks and education, they’ll also be attending community events throughout the region.

“Things like plastic bags, garbage, books, food waste, garden hoses, plastic shovels, hazardous waste, electronics, scrap metals, textiles, even yard waste—items that have never been accepted in our curbside recycling program are still showing up and contaminating the recycling stream,” said Foster.

“If we don’t significantly reduce and eliminate these unacceptable products from our recycling loads, we face financial penalties from Recycle B.C. We’re close to eight per cent contamination on average and it needs to be three per cent or less. We need to do a better job and that requires continuous education and monitoring.”

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The ambassadors will take quick looks at carts and leave information explaining if there was items that don’t belong, and if there is significant contamination, the carts won’t be picked up until properly organized.

The district inspected over 7,800 cars in 2018, as well as sent an average 2,500 letters to residents with information on recycling.

For more information on what the ambassadors will be looking for, visit regionaldistrict.com/recycle.

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