Those who carelessly toss items into their curbside recycling bins could face fines as the city amps up enforcement to lower contamination rates.
Repeat offenders could be fined $100 beginning this month.
“This isn’t a new message,” city environmental services manager Glen Farrow said. “We’re at a point now where we need to start ramping up our enforcement.”
In 2017, the city joined Recycle BC, a provincial organization that oversees recycling across the province. Under Recycle BC rules, collectors must limit contamination — items not allowed under its guidelines — to three per cent.
Farrow said Kamloops is sitting at a 10 per cent contamination rate. Asked who could be fined, he said anyone who puts recycling to the curb. The focus will not be on the household that improperly sorts one item, but instead on those repeat offenders who toss trash in the bin.
“It’s that high level of outright garbage in our containers” Farrow said.
The city previously had the ability to fine residents through its bylaws, but has until this point opted instead to educate and warn residents, with hopes the situation would improve.
City staff have been at neighbourhood meetings discussing the issue, have promoted a Waste Wise app developed to make clear what can and cannot be recycled and have connected with multi-family developments, which are apparently among the worst offenders.
More recently, staff have been looking inside carts before they are tipped and issuing warnings to those who do not comply. Still, the situation has not improved enough and Farrow said enforcement is the next step.
“We’re at that point now,” he said.
If contamination rates don’t improve, Recycle BC could fine the municipality. Fines start at $5,000, though the city has not yet been fined.
“Each load we bring to their facility, we could be fined,” Farrow said.
For more on what can and cannot be placed in the city’s curbside recycling bins, click here.