Wildlife & Waste
Secure waste to protect bears and other wildlife
Carts should be set out on the morning of your collection day, between 5:00-8:00 A.M.
To protect bears and other wildlife, the Regional District of Nanaimo and the Central Island Zone of the BC Conservation Officer Service are urging all residents to stop placing their carts out the night before collection day. Carts should be properly secured on residential property for all non-collection days.
Leaving garbage and organic waste unsecured is a safety threat to both bears and humans. Garbage lures bears, and is the attractant for half of the bear-related problem calls made to the BC Conservation Officer Service. Other attractants include bird seed, fruit trees, pet food and livestock. Once a bear becomes food-conditioned to garbage and other attractants, they associate people with food, and lose their fear of people. Every year in our province, hundreds of bears are destroyed due to human-wildlife conflicts.
Prevention is key to keeping bears and other wildlife safe. Follow the guidelines below, especially if you live within or nearby bear-frequented areas.
Keep carts secured on non-collection days:
- Do not set your carts out the night before your collection day.
- Place your carts out at the curb between 5:00-8:00 AM on the morning of your scheduled collection day.
- Remove your carts from the curb after they have been collected.
- Store carts in a secured location such as a garage or shed, especially if you live on the outer city limits, in a rural neighbourhood, near a park or in any location that may be close to a wildlife habitat.
- All Food Waste carts are fitted with a gravity lock, and will open when tipped upside-down by the mechanical arms of the truck. Always keep the handle in the locked position.
If your cart is outdoor waiting to be exchanged or repair, use another bin or heavy-duty bag to store your waste in a secured location on non-collection days.
Reduce odours in your carts:
- Wrap smelly food in newspaper and freeze until collection day.
- Follow our sorting guide: place food scraps and food-soiled paper in the Food Waste cart.
- Use vinegar and/or baking soda to naturally eliminate odours.
- Periodically rinse carts with soapy water.
Placing carts out the night before collection day goes against RDN Bylaw 1802 and provincial regulations. Under the BC Wildlife Act, a person leaving attractants accessible to dangerous wildlife may be subject to a $230 fine(s) issued by the BC Conservation Officer Service. In areas frequented by bears, setting carts out the night before collection is considered an offence. Our local Conservation Officers remind us the public is legally responsible to secure their attractants, and not place garbage and compost carts out the night before collection.
When dealing with problem wildlife, early intervention is best. The sooner the BC Conservation Officer Service is made aware of a bear in a neighbourhood, the more likely that there can be a positive outcome for the neighbourhood and the bear. If you observe dangerous wildlife in your neighbourhood, please report online through the Report All Poachers and Polluters (RAPP) or call the RAPP hotline at 1-877-952-7277 (RAPP) or #7277 on the TELUS Mobility Network. For more educational resources, visit the www.WildSafeBC.com website.
RDN Curbside - Bear Resistant Carts
Bear-resistant carts are available for purchase for RDN-serviced residents who live in bear-frequented areas and are unable to keep their carts secured. Bear-resistant carts are only a last line of defense to protect bears: under the BC Wildlife Act, the public is legally responsible to secure waste and other attractants away from dangerous wildlife.
Bear-resistant carts are resident-owned, so if you move they can be brought with you or re-sold. Bear-resistant carts are manufactured by Rehrig, and are WildSafeBC tested and IGBC Certified Bear Resistant.
If you are interested in purchasing a bear-resistant cart, please contact us at curbside [at] rdn.bc.ca or call 250-390-6501.
*All RDN standard-issued food waste carts are equipped with a gravity lock, and will open when tipped upside-down by the mechanical arms of the truck. Always keep the handle in the locked position.
Other Bear Smart Tips
- Vancouver Island bears are most active between early spring and late fall.
- Collect fruit from fruit trees as it ripens. Unpicked or ripe fruit left on the ground may attract bears or wildlife to your property and to your garbage can and green bin.
- Don't put meat, fish, cooked foods, bread, fruit, cereal etc. in your backyard composter.
- Sprinkle your compost with garden lime. Lime aids the composting process and reduces odours that might attract bears or wildlife.
- Bears may be attracted to outdoor bird feeders (especially suet), barbecue grills and domestic pet food. During bear season, keep barbecue grills clean, avoid hanging bird feeders, and store pet food inside your house.
If You See a Bear in a Residential Area
- Stay calm. Usually the bear is just passing through the area and if no food is available it will move on.
- Keep away from the bear and warn others to keep away. Bring children and pets into the house.
- Report into the BC Conservation Officer RAPP line at 1-877-952-7277.