The audit assesses recycling contamination levels – items that should be in waste or organics carts – and educates residents on what is considered contamination.
The right material in the right bin helps maintain market standards for recycled materials and keep costs under control. Under the Town’s current collection contract, penalties for contaminated loads will rise from $100 to $300 beginning January 2021 – potentially an extra $100,000/year – which could impact future service costs and residential rates.
“Conducting regular audits of our waste, recycling and organics programs ensures we’re meeting the collection market thresholds,” says Fabrizio Bertolo, Manager of Waste and Recycling. “If we can minimize potential contamination penalties it will help keep costs down for everyone.”
The Town engaged an experienced third-party to conduct an audit of 10,000 residential blue carts in Cochrane. The results will highlight common contamination issues and help residents ensure their recycling is fit for collection. The audit will begin in September and run until the end of the year. The same contractor conducted an audit for 240,000 blue carts in Calgary in 2019.
Launched in 2011, Cochranites are enthusiastic participants in the blue cart program. However, as diversion programs mature over time, program participation and sorting diligence tends to decline.
Privacy is paramount during the audit: auditors only inspect carts when out for collection; they do not remove items and do not record personal details. Auditors will lift the lid of the curbside recycling carts and look inside for contaminants. Their observations will be based on what is visible in the top layers of the carts.
The auditors follow all Alberta Health guidelines and sanitize all touch points of the cart to reduce the potential risk of spreading COVID-19.
For more information, please visit cochrane.ca/Recycling or call the Waste and Recycling Hotline at 403-851-2277.