Emterra recycling regina

The Emterra recycling facility in Regina will not process plastic bags. (CBC)

The recycling plant that sorts materials for residents of Regina does not accept plastic bags, saying the items are too difficult for the operation to handle.

The city recently launched a mandatory residential recycling program using a contractor. The company, Emterra, officially opened its recycling facility Monday.

"We were one of the last major cities to have a recycling program," Michael Fougere, Regina's mayor, noted at the grand opening. "People were waiting and anticipating."

The city has a goal to divert 40 per cent of household waste from the landfill to the recycling centre, by the end of 2015.

Currently 70 per cent of households are using the blue bin program.

"When we first started out there were some odd things we found in there like a pressure cooker," Fougere noted. "That was a bit odd. But people are generally understanding what they should be recycling and doing a good job at it."

An official with Emterra said plastic bags do not work with their recycling machines.

"Because the plastic bags are mixed together that makes it totally non-recyclable material," Paulina Leung said Monday.

Another contractor in Regina, Crown Shred and Recycling, told CBC News that the company doesn't have a problem with plastic bags.

Saskatoon's recycling program is also open to plastic bags.

Fougere suggested citizens take their plastic bags to another company, instead of using their blue bins. He also noted that there are drop off sites for plastic bags at some grocery stores.

(With files from CBC's Adam Hunter)