More than 1,000 letters were sent to Coquitlam homes after plastics were found in green bins in 2019.
Contamination has been such an issue that the city is ramping up its efforts to educate the public about what kinds of materials can go in the organic waste carts, said Steffanie Warriner, manager of Coquitlam's environmental services.
"In the majority of cases, once we issue a letter, we do not see repeat issues, which suggests to us that these residents were likely using compostable plastics, unaware that this is actually an issue," she told The Tri-City News.
Only organic materials, such as yard trimmings, food scraps, and food-soiled paper products are acceptable. Residents may choose to wrap food waste in paper towel or newspaper, or place it in paper bags. Any plastic bag — even those labelled biodegradable, compostable or municipality-approved — must be kept out of the green waste carts, she added.
The city monitors the waste streams for contamination. If it spots material that should not be in the green cart, residents will receive an information letter, followed, potentially, by a notice of violation and fines of $150.
"In the event of repeat offenders, the city may issue a fine under the solid waste management bylaw or the green cart may not be collected," Warriner said. "Further, contaminated green waste may be rejected by our processing facility, which can result in fines against the city for the added disposal costs."
For more information, go to www.coquitlam.ca/foodwaste.