Penticton is at risk of paying more for recycling services after a summertime audit revealed that more than 50 per cent of checked curbside bins contained an item that did not belong.
The city’s recycling contamination rate is currently at 13 per cent, falling well short of meeting the Recycle BC requirement of 5.8 per cent.
“Today, we enjoy door-to-door recycling service for $34 per year,” explained the city’s sustainability supervisor David Kassian. “If the contamination remains at current levels, we run the risk of paying more for this service and losing the convenience of the service we have.”
The city hired two recycling ambassadors this summer to run random checks on 2,000 curbside bins, with plastic padded envelopes, clothes hangers, plastic toys, dishware and recycling contained within plastic bags among the commonly found items.
Recycle BC, a non-profit organization that manages residential packaging and paper recycling across the province, could fine the City of Penticton and take away the convenience of not having to sort items into separate bins or bags if contamination rates do not improve.
“Recycling is something we can each do every day to reduce our impact on the environment,” said mayor John Vassilaki. “These audits have given me the information I need to improve recycling in my household and I hope every household will take the time to do their part.”
About 185 multifamily recycling containers were checked during the audit, with the city adding that all of them contained some form of contaminant. City ambassadors found some type of soft plastic in more than 90 per cent of the containers.
“If we can keep the clothing, soft plastic, glass, Styrofoam, books and disposable paper products like paper towels and tissues out of the recycling bins, it will go a long way towards our goal,” Kassian said.
Many of the aforementioned items can be returned to PACE Electronics Recycling. A list of depot locations can also be found at penticton.ca/recycling.