British Columbia

Coquitlam switches over to automated waste collection system

A new garbage program rolls out Wednesday in Coquitlam, meaning residents will have to sort their trash into three standardized bins to allow for automated collection.

Residents now have to sort their garbage into three standardized bins to allow for automated collection

Standardized bins for garbage, recycling and compost are increasing common across Canada.

A new garbage program rolls out Wednesday in Coquitlam, meaning residents will have to sort their trash into three standardized bins to allow for automated collection.

The new system features a new range of new sorting containers that will allow residents' trash to be collected by automated arms on the sides of new environmentally friendly collection trucks.

The changes have been months in the making and will affect 25,000 homes. The new bins — green cart for food scraps, black cart for garbage and a blue box for recycling — have been delivered to residents over the past six weeks.

Coquitlam resident Jon Lundquist says he supports the changes, but he has concerns about how people will adapt.

"If everyone buys in, I think it will be good, but it's a lot harder than the garbage system use to be. So I think a lot of people will be putting their recyclables in the garbage," said Lundquist. 

He says the new bins make the neighbourhood look better, but he is worried about the smell from the green food scraps carts — and how those carts could attract wildlife.

"We have seen bears in the area quite a bit. They walk across the yard all the time. [The carts] do have bear clips on them but if they don't [get used], it's an invitation for them to come in."

The new system is part of Multi Material BC (MMBC), a controversial new provincial program, in which some businesses cover the cost of recycling their products by funding a non-profit organization to operate curbside recycling collections.

MMBC has been rolled out across the province since May. In Coquitlam, the city’s contractor will collect garbage and food scraps, while MMBC’s contractor will collect recyclables.

Tracy Kyle, acting manager of environmental services, is reminding residents they need to check the schedule for pick up times.

"Be sure you know which week is the correct week to put out your garbage cart," said Kyle. "Your recycling and green cart will be picked up every week".

Any residents who have not yet swapped out their old cans for the new ones, should contact the city. 

Pick up schedules, curbside collect apps for iPhone and Android and full details of the new collection system have been posted online by the City of Coquitlam.

What materials can I recycle under MMBC?


Newspapers, inserts and flyers
Phone books; directories
Paper gift wrap and greeting cards
Writing/home office paper and correspondence


Cardboard boxes e.g. pizza or dessert boxes
Egg cartons
Paper bags
Paper pet food bags
Paper cups e.g. coffee cups
Milk cartons


Steel, aluminum or spiral cans e.g. soup tins or baby formula
Aerosol cans
Aluminum foil and containers
Plastic jugs, bottles or jars e.g. for milk, detergent or peanut butter
Plastic clamshell or tray packaging e.g. for fruit, pastries, chicken
Plastic tubs, pails or cups e.g. for margarine, ice-cream or take-out beverages
Microwaveable plates, cups
Glass bottles and jars

For more details, visit the Multi-materials B.C. website​.


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