Posted on: September 26, 2016

Video Aimed at Taking the Confusion Out of Recycling

New Video Aimed at Taking the Confusion Out of Recycling Duncan, BC - 

Unsure what to put in your curbside recycling? The Cowichan Valley Regional District (CVRD) recently released a short video as part of the Recycle 2.0 Recycle Right at the Curb campaign. The campaign, which was launched in June, aims to tackle contamination in curbside recycling in partnership with local municipalities.

“Earlier this year we learned the CVRD has the highest rate of contamination on the island for our recycling,” explains Chair Jon Lefebure. “We know we can do better and are putting a lot of effort into getting our contamination rate down.” 

Plastic bags and other film plastics have been the most common items found in recycling totes. But staff has also found Styrofoam, paint, pillows, window curtains and basketballs. Some residents appear to be using recycling totes for garbage disposal, which can be a real problem when the material ends up at the processing facility. The result is entire loads of recyclable items becoming contaminated and sent to the landfill. The CVRD can also be financially penalized. 

The new video, along with a redesigned curbside collection calendar, billboards, and radio ads, aims to tackle the issue and highlight key contaminants like plastic bags. All households in CVRD Electoral Areas will also receive a ‘No Plastic Bags’ sticker on their tote to remind residents plastic bags are not accepted in curbside recycling. 

Staff are checking recycling totes at the curbside to give residents personalized feedback about what items can be recycled at the curb using ‘Oops’ and ‘Gold Star’ stickers. If contamination rates are excessive, staff has been leaving totes unemptied. Fortunately, there has been a noticeable decline in contamination on the audited routes since the campaign was launched. 

In March, CVRD staff audited a load of recycling from a collection route north of Ladysmith and found 25 per cent of the material was contamination. Last week staff audited the same route and found the contamination rate has dropped to 10 per cent. 

“Before we started the campaign nearly every tote we audited had plastic bags, chip bags or other types of contaminants,” says Jason Adair, Solid Waste Operations Superintendent. “But this type of targeted education is very effective. Of the hundreds of totes we’ve left ‘Oops’ stickers on during the first audit, most have no contamination on the second audit. Overall, we’ve only had to leave about 10 totes unemptied because of high rates of contamination.” 

Audits will continue over the next few months with additional routes in the Electoral Areas being added over time. Residents are reminded just because something isn’t accepted in curbside recycling; it doesn’t mean that it isn’t recyclable. Recycling centres throughout the region accept hundreds of items. To see the new video and learn more about curbside recycling, visit

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