City pick-up drivers began labelling offending blue bins with warning stickers in October to try and curb rising contamination rates. (City of Terrace photo)

Blue bins with plastic bags won’t be picked up curbside, city says

City of Terrace apologizes for sudden enforcement but sticks to the no-bag rule

Ditch the bags when it comes to blue bins.

On Jan. 7, the City of Terrace announced they will only pick-up curbside recycling if materials are kept loose inside the bins. Those who don’t kick the blue bag habit won’t have their recycling picked up, and will have to wait for their next date.

If the bin is full, additional recyclables can be placed in clear plastic bags beside the cart. Shredded paper can also be placed beside the bin in a paper bag or cardboard box.

The city says they have requested that residents place their recyclables loosely inside the bin since 2017, but only recently began enforcing it on Monday.

“Because of lack of compliance with that, that’s when we stopped actually picking up recycling that was bagged in the blue bins,” says city spokesperson Karisa Petho.

READ MORE: City tackling recycling contamination after rates spike

Some residents have voiced their frustrations over the no pick-up policy on social media, asking why there wasn’t advanced notice. Petho says the city recognizes the enforcement was sudden.

“The City of Terrace did not give residents enough notice this week that their recycling won’t be picked up, and that we were instituting this policy,” Petho says.

“It was a mistake on our end, but nothing has actually changed other than we aren’t picking it up any more if it’s not loosely placed.”

To try and curb this, the city launched their #BagFreeBins social media campaign this week to educate residents on proper recycling practices.

Part of the problem is the debagging process — the city says it can’t be done mechanically, so recyclables in plastic bags need to be opened and emptied manually by the truck drivers.

The phase-out is also required by Recycle BC as part of their five-year funding agreement with the City of Terrace to reduce the amount of single-use plastic bags. Just one can contaminate an entire truck, Petho says.

READ MORE: Zip-lock bags, plastic wrap now recyclable in Thornhill

Contamination rates in the city have gone down since drivers began labelling offending bins with warning stickers in October, but the city says rates were still high enough that refusal for pick up was necessary.

The Regional District of Kitimat/Stikine has not implemented the bag free program and still advises residents to continue using clear or blue bags inside bins for pickup.

For more information on curbside recycling, Terrace residents are asked to refer the Recycle Coach app or visit

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