Rules to tighten for blue bag recyclables

Those who wish to recycle toasters and old clothes through the blue bag recycling program must find other ways to dispose of such items.

Those who wish to recycle their toasters and old clothes through Summerland’s blue bag recycling program must find other ways to dispose of such items as the regulations governing recycling are about to change.

Don Darling, director of works and utilities for the municipality, said the regulations will change after May 19.

Under the new regulations, penalties will be imposed if the municipality’s blue bag recyclables contain more than three per cent contamination.

Darling said at present, around eight per cent of the recyclables in the blue bag program do not belong in the bags.

Styrofoam can be recycled at the landfill, but not in the blue bags, although that will change after the new regulations take effect later this month.

Small appliances and electronics can be taken to the landfill for recycling, but they are not acceptable in blue bags.

Darling said old toasters have shown up in some blue bags. While not permitted, he can understand the reason for their inclusion.

“People know you can take a toaster to the landfill to recycle it,” he said.

The most puzzling items he has seen in the blue bags are old clothes.

While second-hand stores will accept used clothing in good condition, old clothes do not belong in the blue bags or at any of the recycling bins at the landfill.

While recyclable materials can be dropped off at the landfill, blue bags with mixed items are not allowed.

Instead, those who take recyclables to the landfill must sort them so paper, cardboard, plastics and other items are kept separate.

The curbside recyclable service allows users to leave mixed bags of recyclables for pickup.

Darling said the curbside pickup has resulted in a noticeable reduction in the amount of garbage taken to the landfill.

If the municipality’s blue bag recyclables exceed the amount of contamination allowed, fines up to almost $120,000 a year could be imposed.

Since the recyclables collection service brings in around $127,000 a year, the difference is substantial.

“We’re going to be firm with what people put in,” Darling said.

If collection workers notice items which are not permitted in a blue bag, the bag will be marked and left for the resident.