Garbage & Recycling
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Did you receive a curbside recycling contamination notice in the mail?
The CVRD curbside recycling program collects household paper and packaging on behalf of Recycle BC, a non-profit organization based out of Vancouver. Materials accepted in the program are household mixed paper and cardboard, plastic containers, paper packaging for liquids like milk and soup, and aluminum food containers. Contamination is a major obstacle in the recycling process, and occurs when material that is not accepted for recycling is put in recycling totes. Some examples of contamination include:
- Material that is not packaging or paper
- Hazardous material, including batteries, propane or butane cylinders, needles, lighters
- Containers with food or liquid inside
- Material tied in a plastic bag
- Material that can get tangled in equipment such as straps and rope
A requirement in the contract with Recycle BC is that the CVRD must meet a contamination rate of 3% or less but, unfortunately, the contamination rate in the CVRD is currently over 15%.
Materials such as glass and foam packaging cannot be collected curbside because they break into unrecoverable pieces, contaminating the rest of the load and creating a potentially dangerous situation for workers. Film plastic (plastic bags and plastic wrap) is not accepted at the curbside because it gets wrapped up in the sorting equipment, causing lengthy and expensive shutdowns. CVRD Recycling Centres accept materials that cannot be collected at the curbside at no charge, including:
- Film plastic
- Foam packaging
- Hazardous waste
Items like garden hoses and construction materials are not recyclable. Please do not put these materials in your recycling tote.
In an effort to reduce the contamination rate, the CVRD is reaching out to residents when unaccepted material is identified in the curbside tote assigned to their address. Please take a moment to review what materials are acceptable in the curbside program – try our handy Cowichan Recyclopedia, or download the Cowichan Recycles app to your phone. If you have questions, or if you believe you have received a notice in error, please contact the Recycling Hotline at 250 746 2540.
For more information about Recycle BC and why BC is a recycling leader in Canada, check out this CBC story. To learn more about what happens to your recycling when it leaves the curb, check out this video.
For the health and safety of staff and customers, Free Stores at the Recycling Centres are closed until further notice.
Download the Cowichan Recycles mobile app to access your collection schedule, get reminders sent directly to your phone, and learn how to dispose of items using the new Cowichan Recyclopedia!
Curbside Recycling Contamination
Contamination in curbside recycling totes can result in entire loads of recyclables having to be landfilled, making recycling expensive for all of us. Watch the video below and learn what should not go into your curbside recycling tote.
Solid Waste Management Plan Amendment
The CVRDs newly amended Solid Waste Management Plan received approval from the BC Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy in August 2020. The Ministry’s approval allows the CVRD to work on the 13 strategies recommended in the Plan to move our region closer to Zero Waste. Read the new Plan and Public Consultation Report.
Learn more about the updates and next steps.