Squamish is undertaking its second round of recycling tote inspections this week as part of an effort to understand what residents are putting into the blue bins.

The visual inspection already took place earlier this month for some neighbourhoods, where residents received a flyer with more information about what should go where.

District of Squamish Solid Waste Coordinator Marie-Lou LeBlanc says she is pretty satisfied with what her team has seen in blue totes around the community following inspections so far; “people want to do a great job, they are really concerned about doing what they have to do. People were actually opening their blue bin in front of us and asking us questions, which is perfect”.

She does however say that some bins were highly contaminated and included glass and food waste as well as items that were not rinsed properly.


Photo: Marshall Whitsed / Mountain FM


Last week the District undertook a routine waste audit of the landfill to see what items were being sent there instead of being recycled. The results of this years audit wont be available for sometime, however the last audit in 2016 showed 35% of waste in the landfill was organics, 13% plastic and 13% paper. The statistics show that there is room for improvement in the region.

Recycle BC (the not-for-profit organization responsible for residential packaging and paper product recycling throughout the province) has a target contamination rate of 3% or less. Squamish is currently averaging around 30%. Contaminates include items like glass, which when placed in blue totes can break with pieces becoming so small that they cannot be removed from recycled materials, meaning the material can no longer be sold. “The way we are doing [it] right now, its not to make it harder for the people, its just to make sure everything is recycled and that we are doing the best as we can” says LeBlanc.

Plastic bags are also not allowed in the blue bin, because bags often get tangled in machinery. LeBlanc says that equipment then needs to be shut down and cleaned, making the process inefficient.


Photo: Marshall Whitsed / Mountain FM


Recently Recycle BC added ‘other flexible plastic packaging’ to the list of items accepted at local depots for recycling.

Items include:

  • Zipper lock pouches for frozen foods like prawns, berries and prepared food.
  • Bags for potato chips, candy, dried pasta, coffee and cereal.
  • Net bags for avocados, onions, oranges, lemons and limes.
  • Padded protective plastic like plastic shipping envelopes, plastic air packets and bubble wrap.

The new items will not be accepted in blue totes collected curbside. For a full list and for more information on items that can be recycled click here.

More educational materials will be created and distributed by the District in the near future, but in the meantime LeBlanc says residents can always ask if they are unsure of what goes where.


Filed under: District of Squamish, Recycle BC, Recycling, Sea to Sky, Squamish