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Frequently Asked Questions

Curbside Collection

Who are our customers?

Through its contractor, Progressive Waste Solutions (formerly BFI) the RDN provides curbside collection services to single family homes in the following jurisdictions:

The City of Nanaimo operates its own residential garbage, recycling and green bin food waste collection program.

How do new residents access the garbage, green bin and recycling program? If you are moving into an existing single family home, you will likely be on the program. If you have built a new house, you will automatically be put on the program when your occupancy permit is issued.

Where do I get a collection schedule, green bin, blue box, and yellow recycling bag?

Collection schedules, green bins, and yellow bags are available from the Progressive Waste Solutions (formerly BFI) office in Parksville. Call 1-866-999-8227 for information on purchasing a green bin, blue box, yellow bag or collection schedule. Additional locations to purchase green bins are listed under Information for New Residents. Blue boxes can be purchased from most hardware stores.

How much does the program cost?

Households located within RDN Electoral Areas A, B, C, E, F, G and H will pay $125.15 in Solid Waste user fees in 2016, if payment is received within 30 days of the billing date (not the date when the customer receives the bill). Garbage, green bin and recycling collection user rates are reviewed and approved by the RDN Board as part of the annual budgeting process.

How is the program funded?

The program is paid for by user fees and no taxes are used. Program costs include contracted pick-up, waste disposal, administration and communications. Can I opt out of the program?

No, the program is mandatory.


How much garbage can I put out?

Basic service allows for one standard-size 100 litre garbage can or bag to be collected once every two weeks.

Why is there a one-can basic service?

The one-can garbage limit or basic service makes individuals responsible for the cost of the garbage they generate, and encourages waste reduction and participation in the green bin food waste collection and curbside recycling program. This has contributed to our success in diverting waste from the landfill. By participating in the green bin and curbside recycling program the vast majority of our customers can easily accommodate the one-can limit.

Extra Tags What if I have more than one can of garbage?

Tags for extra containers of garbage may be purchased for $3 each. A maximum of two additional containers may be put out on your scheduled collection day, provided a garbage tag is attached to each additional container.

Where can I buy garbage tags?

Garbage tags are available at the following locations:

Georgia Park Store Bowser
Meadowood Store North Qualicum
Ravensong Aquatic Centre Qualicum
Town of Qualicum Beach municipal office Qualicum
Church Rd Transfer Station Parksville
City of Parksville municipal office Parksville
Oceanside Place arena Parksville
Progressive Waste Solutions Parksville
Quality Foods Nanoose Bay
District of Lantzville Lantzville
Regional District of Nanaimo administration office Nanaimo
Jingle Pot Store Nanaimo
Country Grocer (Chase River) Nanaimo
Millway Market Cedar
Cedar General Store Cedar
Regional Landfill Cedar
49th Parallel Grocer Cedar
Tempo/Cassidy General Store Cassidy
Village Food Market Gabriola Island


A new Province-wide program developed by Multi-Material BC (MMBC) has expanded residential recycling in the region. Starting May 19, 2014, additional items will be accepted in curbside recycling. These new materials include milk cartons, aseptic boxes (Tetra-Paks for soups, sauces etc.), frozen juice cans, empty aerosol cans (not spray paint), plastic drink cups and lids, as well as plastic garden pots and seedling trays. This website (www.recycling2016.ca) provides information on the new Province-wide program.

Please note that some items are not accepted in the curbside recycling collection. These unaccepted items include: soft plastic (such as plastic bags and plastic wrapping); household glass containers; Styrofoam packaging (cushion packaging and food trays); and textiles.

What is accepted in the curbside recycling collection program?

Household plastic containers, newspaper, mixed paper, cardboard, magazines, metal food and beverage containers, foil containers and trays are accepted in the RDN curbside recycling program. For detailed information on materials accepted and how to prepare them, refer to the Curbside Collection Guide. Click here to download a copy.
Why is glass not collected in the curbside recycling program?
When food waste collection began in October 2010, household glass food and beverage containers were no longer accepted in the curbside recycling program. Although glass has been included in the blue box for almost 20 years, after balancing the social, economic and environmental impacts associated with this issue, the Regional Board decided in October 2009 that removing glass from the blue box to enable food waste collection was an acceptable and sustainable trade-off.

Deposit or refundable glass containers such as pop, juice, wine, beer, and liquor bottles should be returned to Return-It Centre for refund. Non-deposit glass containers such as jars and condiment bottles can be placed in your regular garbage. Please see Glass Disposal & Recycling Options for more information on the sustainability factors behind eliminating glass from the blue box and recycling opportunities.

What are the acceptable plastics?
Most rigid (not film or foam plastic) household containers are accepted. This includes all containers such as soap, yogurt, shampoo, cleaning, spreads and condiments, dairy, and plant and garden containers. Exclusions are containers that contained motor oil, lubricants and antifreeze, and deposit beverage containers which should be returned to a Return-it depot.
Why is it necessary to break down and bundle cardboard?
So that it fits easily into the receptacle on the collection vehicle and so that drivers can quickly and efficiently pick it up and throw it into the truck.
Is there a limit on the amount of recyclables that can be put out?
Any reasonable amount of recyclables will be collected. If you are generating excessive amounts of recyclables limits may be placed, but only on a case by case basis.
Where do I get a blue box or a yellow bag? How much does one cost?
Blue boxes can be purchased from most hardware stores.

Yellow recycling bags are available from Progressive Waste Solutions (formerly BFI), from the Regional Landfill on Cedar Road in Nanaimo, and from the RDN Administration offices located at 6300 Hammond Bay Road in Nanaimo. There is no charge for yellow recycling bags.

Where are the drop-off sites for recycling?
There are many drop-off recycling opportunities in the RDN. This link lists the depots accepting a wide range of Multi-Material BC (MMBC) items as well as soft plastic, household glass containers and Styrofoam packaging. Check the RDN on-line Recycling Directory for a list of where to take a wide range of other items not accepted at the curb. Here are some locations:

Nanaimo Recycling Exchange, 2477 Kenworth Rd., Nanaimo
Accepts a wide range of recyclables, residential yard and garden waste (fees apply), (paints, solvents, used oil etc.), used electronic goods (computers and TVs) and clean reusable household items. Ph. (250) 758-7777 or visit www.recycling.bc.ca

Gabriola Island Recycling Organization, 700 Tin Can Alley, Gabriola Island
Accepts a wide range of recyclables and reusable items. Ph. (250) 247-9257

Parksville Bottle & Recycling Depot, 611 Alberni Hwy, Parksville
Accepts refundable alcoholic & non-alcoholic beverage containers, automotive batteries, cardboard, milk jugs, newspaper, paint (Product Care Paint Depot), used electronic goods (computers and TVs) Ph. (250) 248-0224

Qualicum Bottle & Recycling Depot, 147 E Fern Ave # 5, Qualicum Beach
Accepts refundable alcoholic & non-alcoholic beverage containers, plastic milk jugs, cardboard, & paint (Product Care Paint Depot). Ph. 250-752-8884


Where can I get a new or replacement green bin?

If you are new to the area and need a green bin, or if an older bin has become damaged and unusable, locations selling new green bins stamped with the "Beyond Composting" logo are listed here under Information for New Residents

What is the Green Bin Program?

The Green Bin Program is a new curbside service that collects residential food and kitchen waste (food scraps and food-soiled or wax-coated paper products). A local licensed composting facility converts food waste into fertilizer, compost and eventually renewable fuels.

Residents will find using their green bin an easy way to send much less garbage to the landfill, turn food waste into a renewable resource and help reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Food waste collection enhances home composting and complements recycling, providing a service that enables households to divert 70 per cent of their waste for processing into new products.

For detailed information on acceptable materials and how to prepare them, please refer to the Curbside Collection Guide. For information on the Green Bin Program including a how-to-video, visit www.beyondcomposting.ca.

Why have the RDN and its member municipalities introduced the Green Bin Program?

The Green Bin Program is an integral part of the region's Zero Waste Plan, and a key step in achieving the overall goal of diverting 75 per cent of the region's waste from the landfill. Local studies have shown that food waste and compostable paper makes up approximately 50 per cent of household garbage. By using their Green Bin to collect and put out food waste at the curbside, households will:

A one-year pilot project conducted between October 2007 and October 2008 tested the equipment and confirmed the diversion potential, participation levels and acceptance of the Green Bin Program.

What materials are accepted in the Green Bin Program?

Materials accepted in the green bin include plate scrapings, meat, fish and poultry, bones, dairy products and wax-coated or soiled paper products such as takeout food containers and cups, paper towels and tissues. These materials are unsuitable for home composting. Compostable food and kitchen waste and compostable paper makes up to 50 per cent of household garbage by weight.


What are my green bin food waste, garbage and recycling collection days?

Check your printed Food Waste, Garbage and Recycling schedule or on-line at Garbage and Recycling Schedules for your collection days. If you do not have a schedule and cannot access the internet call 1-866-999-8227 to have a schedule mailed.

Why do I have to have my food waste, garbage and recyclables out by 8 a.m. when the truck doesn't come by until later in the day?

The order that the contractor does the routes can change without notice. The contractor is obliged to collect your waste on your collection day but the time is not specified. If you put your green bin, garbage or recyclables out after 8:00 AM and the truck has already passed your house, it will not be picked up.

What happens to my collection day after a holiday?

Garbage, recycling and green bin collection schedules follow an add-a-day system. After each statutory holiday that falls on a weekday (Mon. - Fri.) your collection day will advance by one day. For example, if your collection day is Wednesday, and Friday is a statutory holiday, your collection day will move ahead to Thursday the following week. If you are unsure of your collection day check your schedule.

What happens if it snows and the collection truck can't get down my road?

Severe winter weather, such snowy and icy conditions or roads blocked by downed trees or power lines, may cause the contractor to temporarily cancel food waste, garbage and recycling collection. Please see Snow and Adverse Weather Service Cancellations for details. Call 1-866-999-8227 for detailed information.

How often is my food waste, garbage and recycling collected?

The green bin containing food and kitchen waste is scheduled for weekly collection. One standard-size container is scheduled for collection every two weeks. Recyclables are scheduled for collection every two weeks.

Scheduled collection days will look like this:


I have a vacation home that is unoccupied most of the year, why do I have to pay for food waste garbage and recycling collection for the whole year?

Unfortunately, we have no way of knowing whether a property is occupied or not and have no ability to adjust your bill accordingly. The administrative work required to keep track of occupancy of every residence would be significant and likely increase the cost of service.

I have a rental property that is vacant, why do I have to pay for garbage and recycling collection?

It is impossible for our billing system to track of the occupancy of rental properties. The administrative work required to keep track of occupancy of every residence would be significant and likely increase the cost of service. If the dwelling is habitable, that is, has electricity, running water, plumbing and heat, the owner will be billed for collection services.

Why did I receive a bill belonging to the previous owner of the house I've bought?

At the time of billing, utility bills are sent to the owner of the property on record. We update our records with new owner information when a lawyer/notary contacts us for information to do a conveyance. The statement of adjustments that you receive from your lawyer/notary should show an adjustment for a portion of this bill. Please contact them directly if this adjustment was not done.

I sold a house last year, what should I do with this bill?

Please return the bill to the Regional District of Nanaimo, so that we can research ownership, update our records and re-direct the bill.

Why can't you send the bill to my tenant?

It is RDN policy to bill the property owner. It is between the owner and the tenant as to how that cost is passed along. The property owner is ultimately responsible for the bill, and if unpaid at year end, it will be added to property taxes.


Who is served by RDN Solid Waste Disposal Facilities and programs?

The RDN owns and operates two solid waste management facilities in the Regional District of Nanaimo: the Regional Landfill and Church Road Transfer Station. These facilities receive municipal solid waste, recyclables, and Construction/Demolition Waste from the general public and commercial haulers. Both facilities operate under an approved Solid Waste Management Plan and serve 140,000 people. For more information, visit the Solid Waste section of the RDN Website at www.rdn.bc.ca

Who is responsible for collecting and disposing of my waste and collecting my green bin food waste and recyclables?

The RDN has the mandate for solid waste management and operates the garbage disposal facilities and residential garbage and recycling services in the regional district. Depending on the location and type of dwelling, your waste collection may be provided by the RDN, your municipality or in the case of apartment buildings and condominiums, by a private contractor.

All garbage collected in the RDN is eventually disposed of at the Regional Landfill, the only solid waste disposal facility in the region. Recyclables are sorted and processed at the Vancouver Island Recycling Centre and food and kitchen waste at the ICC Group composting facility at Duke Point in Nanaimo.

Where are the RDN disposal facilities and when are they open?

The Regional Landfill is located at 1105 Cedar Road, Nanaimo and is open Monday to Sunday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. It is closed on statutory holidays. The Church Rd. Transfer Station is located at 860 Church Road, just west of Parksville and is open Monday to Sunday from 8 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. It is closed on statutory holidays. For more information, visit the Solid Waste Disposal Facilities.

Why are there charges to drop off waste?

Garbage costs money to manage. With ever increasing environmental protection standards and increasing fuel, labour and equipment costs, modern waste management is an expensive business. To pay for safe and responsible garbage management there are only two possible revenue sources: taxes or user fees. The RDN has chosen to finance the operation of its Solid Waste Disposal facilities with user fees.

Why are user fees used to fund garbage disposal instead of taxes? If we all produce garbage, shouldn't the cost be shared equally amongst our citizens?

Using taxes to fund garbage collection and disposal is unfair. Paying for garbage with taxes removes a powerful incentive to reduce waste and explore alternatives to expensive waste management and disposal. Using taxes to fund garbage collection and disposal creates the impression that garbage disposal is free, distorting costs and devaluing the service.

A tax based system forces those who produce little waste to subsidize those who produce a lot of waste. User pay garbage disposal is a very simple system; if you make more garbage you pay more, if you make less garbage you pay less.

Wouldn't people rather have a simple tax based system that they can use for free?

No. User pay is overwhelmingly supported by the citizens of the RDN. A survey conducted in 2000 showed 79% of residents supported a user pay system for garbage.

With user pay garbage disposal, how much one spends on disposal can be controlled and wise businesses and individuals can virtually eliminate disposal costs through waste reduction, reuse and recycling.

Doesn't charging for waste encourage illegal dumping to avoid charges?

No. Studies and our local experience indicate that there is not a strong connection between disposal fees and illegal dumping. The most recent information indicates that those dumping illegally are mainly marginalized members of our community and often dump illegally simply because they are unaware of the proper disposal procedures or are unwilling to do the right thing.

ZERO WASTE | Return to top |

What is Zero Waste?

Zero Waste:

Is the Regional District of Nanaimo the only organization pursuing Zero Waste?

No. The Cowichan Valley Regional District, Regional District of Kootenay Boundary, Metro Vancouver and Toronto have declared Zero Waste as their long term waste management goal. New Zealand is a leader in Zero Waste with the majority of its local councils declaring Zero Waste as their goal. A number of large corporations in the U.S. have set Zero Waste goals. This is a common sense idea that really engages people.

It's impossible to totally eliminate waste so why bother with the Zero Waste idea?

Many important objectives may be impossible to achieve completely, for example, eliminating traffic fatalities, or premature death or illness caused by poor lifestyle choices. While arguably impossible to achieve Zero Waste remains a worthwhile long term goal to improve the health of our environment and conserve scare resources.

What is wrong with the 3R's (reduce, reuse, recycle)?

Nothing. The 3R's have increased awareness of how the waste we generate impacts our environment but have become primarily associated with recycling. Greater awareness around reducing and reusing is needed to move beyond recycling. Zero Waste is a broader concept that re-emphasizes waste reduction.

Zero Waste seems to call for cutting back. Won't this eliminate jobs and economic prosperity?

No. With most changes, economic activity shifts, but is rarely eliminated. 'Jobs, Not Landfills' is one of the Zero Waste slogans of the Regional District of Kootenay Boundary. Our garbage has value; Zero Waste is about recognizing and utilizing that value, creating local jobs instead of landfills.

Last Modified:  Aug 10, 2016
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