Recycling takes an extra effort

NANAIMO – An audit of the green bin program showed a 24-per cent contamination rate

The City of Nanaimo is pretty pleased with residents’ efforts to recycle and we should feel good about that.

An audit of the green bin program, which diverts food scraps from the landfill and into a composting facility, showed a 24-per cent contamination rate.

A quarter of bins surveyed being contaminated sounds significant – and it is – but the audit also showed that by and large, people are getting it right. The amount of contamination added up to less than one per cent of the weight and volume of the green bins.

The new rules surrounding recycling in Nanaimo can be confusing.

Plastic bags and glass must be separated from curbside collection and returned to depots by residents.

The city sent out a reminder earlier this year explaining that plastic bags clog machinery and asking residents to be more careful when they sort recyclables.

The green bin audit is asking folks to do the same.

Bread tags were highlighted as an item to be on the lookout for, as well as using compostable – not biodegradeable – bags.

The recycling program in B.C. does have its drawbacks. In addition to the aforementioned plastic bags and glass, the green bin program only targets single-family homes.

As Nanaimo focuses on urban density and containing sprawl, multi-family housing will only increase, forcing the city to find a green bin solution for condo and townhome complexes.

But right now the audit showed Nanaimo achieving a B-level grade on compost recycling.

Putting in a second effort to ensure what goes in the green bin – or the blue box or the yellow bag – and Nanaimo can easily get that score up to an A.

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