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Blue tags are just a little warning of recycling non-compliance in Chilliwack

The blue information tags appearing on the streets and in alleyways now are all part of an education campaign about the new curbside recycling rules from City of Chilliwack.  - SUBMITTED PHOTO
The blue information tags appearing on the streets and in alleyways now are all part of an education campaign about the new curbside recycling rules from City of Chilliwack.
— image credit: SUBMITTED PHOTO

Chilliwack residents may see a blue tag on their recycling.

If so, don't panic — it's just a warning.

The blue information tags are all part of an education campaign about the new curbside recycling rules from City of Chilliwack.

Glass, plastic bags, and styrofoam are three items that cannot be placed in recycling. That means if they are accidentally dropped into a recycling bag or bin now, they're contaminating the whole works. They're "unapproved" materials and must be removed.

These blue tags could be slapped on recycling bins, garbage containers, or on the door to the residence, if no containers get left at the curb.

Asked which non-compliant items are showing up right now, despite the announced changes, The Progress has learned it's mostly plastic bags and plastic overwrap from packaging. There is some glass as well, which now has to be dropped off at a depot, but not nearly as much as the plastic bags. Styrofoam was never part of the recycling program, so it's still scarce.

Chilliwack joined the provincial MMBC recycling stewardship program as of 2017, and that means things have changed in terms of what can be recycled by residents.

A gentle warning phase is now underway, ongoing until the third week of March. It's part of the education campaign launched in phases about the MMBC changes that came into effect March 1.

About 650 blue tags have gone out so far in Chilliwack as gentle reminders to residents about what they're getting wrong regarding the new recycling rules, said staff. The bags and bins will still get collected, but it means about 650 homes were put on notice about non-acceptable items in their recycling. That's out of a total of 5000 collections per day, which are part of the city's curbside garbage and recycling collection program.

Newly recyclable items starting to show up include some aerosol cans and dairy cartons.

So what to do if your recycling gets the blue tag treatment in the next week or so? Just keep it in mind and try again next week, keeping those items back for drop-off later at a depot.

The education phase will wrap up soon.

After March 22, a new tag will appear on any recycling left at the curb containing non-approved materials. The info tag will let folks know what they did wrong, and which materials will no longer be collected. It could be non-approved glass or plastic, or garbage mixed with recycling as the reason, or food sticking to the containers, or cardboard not flattened, as possible examples.

Anyone who gets one of the new info tags after March 22, it's an easy fix: simply remove the non-authorized materials from the bag or container, and put it back out the next week for collection.

These changes affect the curbside recycling collection provided to single-family homes and duplexes by the City of Chilliwack through Emterra Environmental. This does not apply to the townhouses or apartments with collection service from private waste companies, except for the small number which have applied to be part of the city's curbside program, but most townhouses receive service through a private waste company.

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