Don’t “Wishcycle” Your Waste – Sort It Right to Help City Avoid Fines

Port Coquitlam has launched a new campaign asking residents and businesses not to “wishcycleas it seeks to avoid significant fines for mis-sorted waste and soiled recyclables.

Recycle BCwhich is responsible for residential curbside recycling in B.C. – has alerted the City that it must reduce contamination in its blue carts by 25 per cent by July 22, 2022to avoid fines. Contamination occurs when either the wrong items are placed in carts, or when recyclables are not clean and dry.

Port Coquitlam has been unable to achieve Recycle BC’s three per cent contamination limit and has an average contamination rate of over 12%.

If the City cannot reduce contamination in its blue carts,Recycle BC will impose fines of $5,000 per load of material, forup to $120,000 per year.

During Waste Reduction Week Oct. 18 to 24, the City is highlighting the resources available to help residents sortwaste properly, rather than wishcycling – or guessing where items go.

Resources include the free PoCo Sort & Report app, online and printed materials linked through and two Environmental Ambassadors who are out in the community conducting cart audits and educational outreach.

In Port Coquitlam’s blue recycling carts, the top fivecontamination problems in Port Coquitlam are:

Hard plastics such as Tupperware, plastic toys, tarps, laundry hampers and clothes
Hard and soft-cover books
Bags of mixed garbage
Scrap metal such as auto parts, chains, pots and pans, and hardware
Electronics such as cell phones, computers, small appliances and light strings

It’s equally important that recyclables are clean and dry. As carts are collected and their contents mingled together, food residue or liquid left in containers will contaminate large quantities of clean recyclables – all which will then be sent to the landfill.

Residents can do their part to reduce the most common contamination problems in all three carts in Port Coquitlam by:

Bringing plastic bags and soft plastics to a recycling depotif clean, and placing in the garbage if dirty.
Bringing construction waste and treated or stained wood to the Coquitlam Transfer Station at 1200 United Blvd.
Putting food waste and food-soiled papers (e.g. napkins, pizza boxes) in the green cart, not the garbage or blue carts.
Bringing Styrofoam containers and trays to a recycling depot, not putting them in the garbage or blue carts.
Returning all electronics, power tools and small appliances through take-back depots (search returnit/ca/electronics for electronics and for small appliances and tools).

The Sort it Right! program provides a variety of user-friendly resources and tools, including:

Sort & Report app – search for how to properly sort waste, create personalized collection schedules and alerts, report problems and more. Download for free at
Sort it Right! online search tool learn how to properly dispose of items at    
Sort it Right! Waste Sorting & Services flipguide – a user-friendly guide with detailed collection and sorting information. Pick up the latest from City facilities or download from
Community Calendar and Waste Collection Schedule. Delivered to doorsteps or available at City facilities each December.
Ambassador outreach program – ask a question, request resources or book a free virtual presentation for a group, strata or school:
In-person support – Contact 604-927-5496 or drop by Public Works, 1737 Broadway St. to speak to a staff member and pick up resources.
Other online resources – for a variety of information about the green cart program, recycling program and depots, and more.

This year’s theme for Waste Reduction Week is the circular economy, which encourages people to think about reducing waste at all stages of an item’s life, from manufacture to how they can be recycled or reused. Visit for information.



Ximena Ibacache
Manager of Communications & Administrative Services
City of Port Coquitlam
Tel 604.927.5499