Contamination Reduction Plan

As the City of New Westminster continues to grow and evolve, finding ways to reduce waste is an increasingly important part of minimizing the City’s impact on our environment. Recycle BC has identified that New Westminster has an overall contamination rate of 9.09% based on audits completed from November 1, 2022 to October 31, 2023. Recycle BC mandates that the City’s curbside recycling program not contain more than 3% of contamination. If we are unable to meet this target, the City could face fines upwards of $480,000 per year. The City is taking action to track and reduce contamination.


For the City to successfully reduce its recycling contamination rate, and to ensure the curbside recycling program remains affordable and sustainable, all residents must do their part to Recycle Right.


Improper sorting, putting non-accepted materials in your recycle bin, bundling, grouping, or nesting items in bags or boxes, can contaminate the rest of the recycling load, which means that the acceptable material ends up in the landfill. To Recycle Right means diverting waste from landfills and is important for conserving resources, saving energy, supporting a green economy, and contributing to a healthy community.
If you're not sure what material belongs in your recycling cart, download the Recycle Coach app or see the Recycle BC website for a complete list of accepted materials in English, French, Chinese, Farsi, Korean, and Punjabi.


Material that is not accepted in your recycling cart under the Recycle BC Packaging and Paper Product (PPP) collection program is referred to collectively as "contamination". 

The cost of contamination

High rates of contamination means fewer items can be recycled and may end up in the landfill. This is harmful to our environment. By Recycling Right, we can decrease our carbon footprint and protect our planet.

If we don't work hard to reduce our contamination rate, the City could face significant fines, and it would impact our goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions as part of the City's Bold Steps for Climate Action

what does this mean for residents?

Additional costs to the City from fines could ultimately be passed along to residents through increased solid waste fees. Ongoing contamination could also result in bylaw fines to residents; carts that continue to be contaminated will not be collected and residents will be responsible for disposing of items.

how will we reduce contamination?

The City is dedicated to helping the community reduce contamination. To keep the recycling program affordable and sustainable the City has developed a Contamination Reduction Plan, which outlines the actions, commitments, timelines, and measurement tools we will use with the goal to significantly reduce our contamination now and into the future.

Promotion and education

The City is committed to helping residents learn how to properly sort and prepare items for recycling. City staff are available to help residents gain a better understanding of what goes in their curbside recycling, compost and garbage carts and what items can be dropped off for recycling or disposal and how to properly distinguish between commonly mis-sorted items. Educational information will also be provided in several ways including the curbside collection calendarutility notices, social media, cart stickers, postcards and more!

Monitoring and Enforcement

The City is taking steps to address recycling contamination through a variety of measures. 

In 2023, staff began applying lid labels to your recycling carts which identified acceptable and unacceptable materials.

Beginning summer 2024, City staff will be conducting random audits of residential recycling carts. Upon initial inspection, if your recycling cart contains materials that don’t belong, you’ll receive an Oops! tag as part of an educational campaign to help residents learn what goes where. Your cart will still be collected but it may not be next time. If your cart continues to contain contamination you'll receive a yellow cart tag, materials in your cart will not be collected, and a formal bylaw notice will be delivered to your address. This is the first step in a 3-step process to eliminate contamination. The second step would be a red cart tag and materials in your cart will not be collected. The third and final step is fines of up to $325 per Bylaw Notice Enforcement Bylaw No. 7318.2009.


    Reminder that unacceptable materials were found and your cart will not be emptied
  2. RED TAG
    Your cart will not be emptied
  3. FINE
    Up to $325 fine issued if unacceptable materials continue to be found in your cart

For questions specifically related to the City's CRP program, please contact us at

  • Engineering Operations
    T 604-526-4691