Regional waste management officials are watching what you throw away. And repeatedly tossing the wrong materials into your curbside waste carts could earn you a $150 fine.
Starting this month, new technology will be used to enforce regional solid waste management bylaws in Kelowna, Lake Country, Peachland and the two Central Okanagan electoral areas for residents who get curbside garbage and recycling collection and the bi-weekly yard waste pick-up between March and the end of November.
“We’ll monitor compliance by individual households using technology approved last year in the three municipalities and two electoral areas,” said regional waste reduction office manager Peter Rotheisler.
“Collection trucks are mounted with cameras that can differentiate the type of materials dumped into their hoppers from the wheeled waste carts, imbedded with radio frequency identification tags linking the carts to a specific address.”
West Kelowna opted out of the program and its garbage, recycling and yard waste will not be monitored. But the decision West Kelowna will pay have its solid waste dumped at Kelowna’s Glenmore landfill.
Residents placing improper items in the cart will be notified by the regional district of a problem: either materials that were not supposed to be in the cart or that the cart was not set up properly at the curb. They’ll also receive a copy of photos taken at the time of the infraction along with educational material on what should or should not be included in the cart.
For subsequent violations, the offender’s municipal bylaw department will be notified and the resident could receive a $150 fine.
Rotheisler said while the overwhelming majority of residents in the participating program areas put the proper materials into their carts, some people don’t.
“This new approach is meant to specifically target individual households and residents that are misusing the curbside program, something that isn’t possible with traditional awareness, education and advertising campaigns,” he said.
According to the regional district, contaminating the various waste streams is expensive. The wrong item in the garbage, recycling or yard waste cart can damage equipment, cause workplace injuries and typically costs hundreds of thousands of dollars a year for extra monitoring, sorting, handling and equipment
“It’s an ongoing problem that has not improved in recent years. We anticipate this targeted monitoring and enforcement program will bring some improvement,” said Rotheisler.
Other benefits to the program include using the data collected to help address resident inquiries about missed collections, improve route efficiency, monitor contractor performance, evaluate contract costs, help identify and study trends in waste management behavior and evaluate possible future “pay-as-you-throw” billing.
For more information about what to recycle and the curbside automated program, visit regionaldistrict.com/recycle, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call the regional waste reduction office at 250.469.6250.