Town of Osoyoos Contamination Remediation

Residents of Osoyoos are urged to reduce blue cart contamination. Recycle BC, the provincial authority overseeing recycling across the province, requires recycling collectors such as the Town of Osoyoos to maintain contamination rates of less than 3% to meet contract requirements. Currently, Osoyoos' recycling contamination rate averages more than 8%.

Contamination can lead to increased service fees and recycling ending up in the landfill. It can also put workers at risk and damage equipment used in the recycling process.

Those who continue to contaminate their recycling will receive notice alerting them of the item(s) not accepted. The goal is to never leave a cart behind, but households that continue to contaminate could see their blue carts not being collected.

For assistance with identifying blue cart accepted material check out the to see what is accepted and how to sort it. You can also download our app. Those without access to the internet or an app can call the Recycling Hotline at 1-800-732-9253.

Contamination rates for May 2022-October 2023 were 8.35%. Recycle B.C. requires that the Town reduce this by 25% with a target rate for the Town of 6.5% or less to meet contract requirements.

Sort your recycling

What is contamination? (Extracts from

Simply put, contamination is material that is not accepted for collection in Recycle BC’s curbside or multi-family packaging and paper collection program.

Contamination, in this context can include one or more of the following examples:

  • Material that is not packaging or paper
  • Material that is not recyclable with today’s recycling technology
  • Hazardous material or hazardous containers with any contents remaining

Other conditions that cause recycling challenges include:

  • Material collected in a way that doesn’t allow the materials to be recovered for recycling (e.g., recyclables tied in a small plastic bag before being placed in your recycling collection container)
  • Containers with more than 10% of contents remaining
  • Material mis-sorted into the wrong bin

Why is recycling properly important?


Certain types of contamination can present significant health and safety issues for both collection and post-collection staff. Hazardous materials such as medical sharps, propane tanks, flammable liquids and batteries can be extremely dangerous when collected, and in some cases have caused fires in processing facilities in BC.

Ability to be recycled:

Not recycling properly can reduce the ability to effectively recycle material or meet the requirements of recycling markets. If the material can be recovered, the commodity value of recyclables can be reduced. In some cases, material may be recyclable, but only when collected separately from other materials and very clean. Some material is not well suited to being mixed with other recyclables in curbside/multi-family recycling programs. Materials like plastic bags and foam packaging should be taken to a Recycle BC depot for recycling.

How does Recycle BC measure the contamination rate for curbside and multi-family collectors?

Recycle BC routinely completes composition audits of the packaging and paper recycling received from Recycle BC collectors, like municipalities. Collectors are randomly selected for detailed composition audits. Once selected, a cross-section of the targeted recycling load is analyzed, material is categorized and weighed to determine the breakdown, by weight, of a number of different categories and sub-categories including the weight of contamination.

Reducing contamination

Recycle BC, who is directly responsible for recycling service in some municipalities and has an overarching provincial education mandate, engage in ongoing recycling operations and education activities targeted towards residents to help ensure contamination rates are reduced and the materials collected can effectively and efficiently recycled.

These operational and educational activities are ongoing, and we continue to work to decrease contamination rates with the support of BC’s residents, the ultimate decision-makers of what is placed in their recycling bins prior to collection.

How We Can Prevent Recycling Contamination

Contamination is a major obstacle in the recycling process. It occurs when material that is not accepted for recycling is put in recycling bins. Check before you chuck!

There are many examples of contamination, and they include:

  • Material not accepted by Recycle BC
  • Material that is not packaging or paper
  • Material that can’t be recycled with current recycling technology
  • Hazardous material, including batteries, propane or butane cylinders, needles, lighters
  • Containers with contents (e.g., food or liquid) inside
  • Material sorted incorrectly
  • Material tied in a plastic bag (e.g., shredded paper in a plastic bag - NOTE: Shredded paper can be recycled if it is contained in a paper bag or box, not loose)

Easy Ways to Prevent Contamination

  1. Rinse your containers as soon as they’re empty. Put a little warm water and soap inside and then put the lid back on to shake it up and loosen anything that’s stuck. 
  2. Sort your material. If you don’t have room for your recycling bins/bags inside, keep re-usable shopping bags or smaller bins to sort your material according to how your recycling is collected from your home (paper, containers and possibly glass) and depot-only materials – so it’s an easy transfer to the curb on collection day.
  3. Check the Recycle BC material list to see what is accepted and how to sort it. You can download our app or find our material list at
  4. Follow your local recycling guidelines. In some areas of BC, Recycle BC manages recycling collection and the guidelines can be found in the recycling guides available on our website.
What goes in my Blue Cart

Operational Services
(T) 250.495.6213