Automated Curbside Collection


THE NEW AUTOMATED CURBSIDE COLLECTION SERVICE IS COMING FALL 2020!

The RDN Board has voted to transition to an automated curbside collection service at the end of the current manual service collection contract. The new service will provide RDN residents (except City of Nanaimo residents who already have this great service) with the following:

  1. Improved service offerings
    • Customizable collection cart sizes to best suit your household needs
    • No weight restrictions
    • Improved worker health and safety
    • Improved neighbourhood esthetics by keeping materials contained
    • Reduced human-wildlife interactions
  2. Easy to roll carts with attached lids for convenient and efficient disposal of recyclables, food waste and garbage
  3. Real-time information for better customer service

PICK YOUR CART SIZES!

We want to hear from you! You have a choice of cart sizes to best suit your household's disposal needs. We are seeking resident feedback -- from RDN Curbside Collection Service customers -- on your cart size preferences so that you will be delivered your desired cart sizes based on your household needs.

The online questionnaire will be open between September 23, 2019 to December 31, 2019.

If you do not provide your preference by the deadline, you will be provided a default set of carts (240L recycling, 100L food waste and 100L garbage).


NEXT STEPS

We will compile all feedback from the online questionnaire to place the cart order. In summer 2020, each RDN residential household (except City of Nanaimo residents) will receive a set of wheeled carts of your preferred cart sizes for recyclables and garbage, and a standard food waste cart. An information package outlining the details of the service will accompany the cart delivery.

The new automated curbside collection service will begin October 2020!


WANT TO LEARN MORE?

  • Please register (tab on the top right corner of this page) to receive notification of news and updates.

  • Visit the documents library for project history and technical information.

  • Do you have a question? Post it below and we will answer for all to see. A great way for all to learn.

  • Want to contact us directly? Contact the project team at zerowaste@rdn.bc.ca or 1-877-607-4111.

Looking ahead: Project updates will be posted on this page monthly and at milestones.

Thank you for taking the time to provide us with your cart size selection!



THE NEW AUTOMATED CURBSIDE COLLECTION SERVICE IS COMING FALL 2020!

The RDN Board has voted to transition to an automated curbside collection service at the end of the current manual service collection contract. The new service will provide RDN residents (except City of Nanaimo residents who already have this great service) with the following:

  1. Improved service offerings
    • Customizable collection cart sizes to best suit your household needs
    • No weight restrictions
    • Improved worker health and safety
    • Improved neighbourhood esthetics by keeping materials contained
    • Reduced human-wildlife interactions
  2. Easy to roll carts with attached lids for convenient and efficient disposal of recyclables, food waste and garbage
  3. Real-time information for better customer service

PICK YOUR CART SIZES!

We want to hear from you! You have a choice of cart sizes to best suit your household's disposal needs. We are seeking resident feedback -- from RDN Curbside Collection Service customers -- on your cart size preferences so that you will be delivered your desired cart sizes based on your household needs.

The online questionnaire will be open between September 23, 2019 to December 31, 2019.

If you do not provide your preference by the deadline, you will be provided a default set of carts (240L recycling, 100L food waste and 100L garbage).


NEXT STEPS

We will compile all feedback from the online questionnaire to place the cart order. In summer 2020, each RDN residential household (except City of Nanaimo residents) will receive a set of wheeled carts of your preferred cart sizes for recyclables and garbage, and a standard food waste cart. An information package outlining the details of the service will accompany the cart delivery.

The new automated curbside collection service will begin October 2020!


WANT TO LEARN MORE?

  • Please register (tab on the top right corner of this page) to receive notification of news and updates.

  • Visit the documents library for project history and technical information.

  • Do you have a question? Post it below and we will answer for all to see. A great way for all to learn.

  • Want to contact us directly? Contact the project team at zerowaste@rdn.bc.ca or 1-877-607-4111.

Looking ahead: Project updates will be posted on this page monthly and at milestones.

Thank you for taking the time to provide us with your cart size selection!


Do you have a curbside collection question for the RDN in regard to this project.  If so, please ask us here.

Q&A

  • How close to the toad will my garbage can have to be?

    Slow Down asked 6 days ago

    Thank you for your question! We will be starting a new campaign in in Spring/Summer 2020 regarding the details surrounding the usage of carts.

    Generally speaking, your carts should be placed as close to the road as possible without blocking the road or sidewalk (if applicable). It is important the carts are place away from trees or other overhead obstructions, and/or other parked vehicles so that the collection vehicles can reach your cart.


  • Once we have the new carts, what do we do with the old ones? Have you a plan to pick them up and recycle them? There will be no market for them at places like SOS, and given that this is your plan, I do not want to have to pay to take them to the transfer station. Further, many older residents and those with disabilities could not lift them and/or have no vehicle to transport them.

    shobson asked 11 days ago

    Thank you for your question.

    Your existing garbage, recycling and/or food waste containers are your property. There a number of creative and environmentally friendly ways to repurpose used garbage/food waste/recycling containers and keep them out of the landfill, such as:

    • extra storage for tools, potting soil, mulch, yard waste

    • animal feed storage

    • rain barrels

    • use it to save up your depot items such as film plastics, glass, Styrofoam or refundables

    • DYI potato/carrot planter!

    The RDN is currently in the process of coordinating the collection and recycling of unwanted containers for recycling. Please check back in the coming months for more information!

  • I am re-sending my questions to you, as it didn't confirm whether it went or not. When filling out the cart size questionaire, I was asked about the size of garbage and recycling containers but not about compost. Are we to use the green bin that we were given before? Please clarify. Also, will we have the same pick up schedule we have presently, as in compost every week, garbage & recyclables on alternating weeks?! Look forward to hearing from you. Penelope Long

    P. asked 12 days ago

    Thank you for your question and thank you for making your cart selection!

    The 100L food waste cart is standard for all service levels and therefore, did not require a selection from you. Please use the new food waste carts for the new automated service.

    Yes, the schedule and frequency will stay the same as the current manual collection system, the food waste cart will be emptied every week, and the garbage and recycling carts will be emptied every two weeks on alternating weeks.

  • I am in the RDN and there are two households on the property each having a separate Utility Invoice sent yearly. Currently each household has separate Green bins, blue box and garbage pick up. With the introduction of the carts, will we still continue to have separate Recycling, Food Waste and Garbage carts?

    C asked 27 days ago

    Thank you for your question.

    It is entirely up to you! You can use to combine your material into one set of carts by upsizing the carts, or you can opt to have two separate sets of carts for each individual household.

  • At the present time residents can put shredded paper out for curbside pickup provided it is in a clear plastic bag. What happens when the automated system gets under way. What do we do with shredded paper ?

    Frank Leach asked about 2 months ago

    Thank you for your question. Please continue to bag your shredded paper in a clear plastic bag and tied for collection at the curb under the new automated system.

    The RDN continues to mitigate all messaging for any film plastic material to be comingled in curbside materials. However, this is the only expception to the rule as loose shredded paper can pose operational issues for the collection trucks and at the processing facility.

  • I would like the smallest 80L bins for all 3 services, as I am 1 person and have little need for big containers. Is that possible. Deb

    debhalver asked about 1 month ago

    Thank you for your question. The 80L cart is only available in the GARBAGE cart size. The RDN has one of the lowest disposal per capita in Canada at 347kg/person/yr which can be attributed to the current 100L disposal limit, coupled with our recycling and composting program. Based on our consultation feedback, the current 100L size is favorable for majority of residents, while some residents (particularly those with larger families) preferred a larger cart size. There was a segment of residents that prefer the smaller cart as they generate little to no waste as a result of their recycling/composting efforts, which is in line with the RDN’s diversion goals. As such, we have opted to provide an 80L cart size to accommodate those residents’ and provide a small financial incentive as a reward for their diversion efforts.

    Based on feedback from a number of residents, the RDN will offer a 100L RECYCLING cart in addition to the 240L and 360L RECYCLING cart options. Please keep in mind, all recyclables must fit inside the cart with the lid closed for collection, including cardboard boxes and rigid plastic containers, as the drivers will not be getting out of the truck to pick up any extra material placed out of the carts. Please note, if you opt to downsize to the 100L RECYCLING cart now and choose to upgrade to a large cart in the future, a cart exchange fee will be applied. The 240L (default) and 350L RECYCLING cart options are intended to allow for the storage of bulky items, as well as provide extra capacity for future recycling growth.

    It is fine balance trying to manage both cart size options and inventory management. The cart options we have provided was determined based on what we heard from the consultation feedback to best meet the disposal needs of majority of residents.


  • Is there an online map that shows the area covered by this initiative. I’m in Parksville which I think is in the RDN.

    Gordo asked 3 months ago

    The new automated collection service will be provided to all RDN residential single family dwellings in the following communities (with the exception of City of Nanaimo residents who are serviced by City of Nanaimo Public Works) that currently receive manual curbside collection

    Area A - Cassidy, Cedar, Yellowpoint, South Wellington


  • How are you going to deal with people putting products like glass and single use plastics in their recycling bin? I assume you will also have people using it as an 'extra' place for garbage as well. With it being automated the driver will not see what is being deposited into the truck.

    Ruth asked about 2 months ago

    Excellent question! The RDN program contamination average has consistently been below the overall Recycle BC program average and is now approaching the 3% target. RDN residents’ recycling behaviours are well entrenched and is not anticipated to change significantly as a result of changes in the method of curbside collection. The RDN is committed to continually strive to reduce the overall contamination through our various education and promotion efforts.

    The RDN, in partnership with the Contractor, have a comprehensive contamination identification and monitoring plan. In addition to the onboard cameras, the RDN will have staff on foot to conduct spot checks. The RDN will be diligent in the use of the monitoring software and subsequent follow up to education residents regarding their non-compliance.


  • Why are the RDN default sizes smaller than Nanaimo's? RDN= 100 ltr Nanaimo 120 ltr.

    TANNIE MEYER asked about 2 months ago

    Great question! The new 100L garbage carts that you will be provided for the new automated collection service is the same size permitted under Bylaw 1591 for the current manual collection service. The 100L garbage limit was designed to best suit most single family dwellings' household disposal needs, and to encourage recycling and composting to reduce the amount of garbage going into the landfill.

    The City of Nanaimo administers their own curbside collection service, separate from the RDN service, and therefore, does not fall under the RDN's purview.


  • Will the blue box, yellow bag, and food waste container we presently have be picked up by the RDN. If not how do we dispose of these items after we receive the new carts?

    Shirley J. Peek asked about 2 months ago

    Yes! As with current manual collection service, the food waste cart will be emptied every week, and the garbage and recycling carts will be emptied every two weeks on alternating weeks.

  • What do we do with our current garbage containers. Will you be picking them up and recycling them?

    Rita TAYLOR asked 2 months ago

    Thank you for your question!

     Your existing garbage, recycling and/or food waste containers are your property. They can be repurposed for other uses or extra storage, such as rain barrels, use it to save up your depot items such as film plastics, glass, Styrofoam or refundables.

    The RDN is currently in the process of coordinating the collection and recycling of unwanted containers for recycling. Please check back in the coming months for more information!


  • If "the cost of the carts is included as part of your annual curbside utility fee", why are you listing prices? This makes it look as though residents have to pay an additional cost for the containers. I pay enough in taxes to have the District collect my garbage and recyclables. I do not wish to pay an additional fee on top of those taxes to make the District's job easier.

    RDN resident asked 2 months ago

    Based on the feedback from last year's public consultation, we heard from a number of residents that there are varying levels of disposal needs. As such, we have provided the 3 different garbage cart sizes to best accommodate the disposal needs of residents, which corresponds to different fees associated with the disposal costs.

    The curbside collection service is fully funded by RDN residents that receive the service. The new service will continue to be paid for by the curbside utility fee, which is separate from your property taxes. The costs listed for the estimated Annual Utility Fee will be a replacement of the Annual Utility Fee you currently pay.  For example, if you choose the default garbage cart size of 100 litres, your estimated Annual Utility Fee will change to $175.

  • I'm not seeing any questions or information on the use of compostable bags for the new larger food waste bins. I've not seen a compostable bag that would be large enough. I expect it is the responsibility of the homeowner to keep their bins clean and I will continue to use some type of compostable bag with my larger bin. Thank you!

    lrzilkie asked 2 months ago

    You are not required to line any of your carts. If you choose to line your kitchen catcher or your kitchen waste cart, you must use paper or 100% compostable bags that feature the compostable logo.


  • Where will paper and flat cardboard go that currently is put in the yellow plastic bag? When will you be picking up and disposing of the current green bins and blue boxes? Why not save the money and stop collecting recyclables, as most of it ends up in the landfill anyway due to a lack of places to send it to for processing?

    Garbage1 asked 2 months ago
    1. Everything can go into the new recycling cart! As with the current collection, the RDN is on a single stream recycling system, in which all paper fibers, plastics, metals, and other containers are mixed in a collection truck, instead of being sorted by the resident into separate commodities (newspaper, paperboard, corrugated fiberboard, plastic, glass, etc.) and handled separately throughout the collection process. In single-stream, both the collection and processing systems are designed to handle this fully commingled mixture of recyclables, with materials being separated for reuse at a materials recovery facility. Under the current program, the intent of the yellow bag is preserve the quality of the paper fibers to shelter it from the rain, and prevent loose material from littering the neighborhood as a result of the wind, which will no longer be an issue as everything will be housed inside the carts, away from the elements. When the RDN transitions to the new automated collection, you can continue to use the yellow bags inside your home to save up your depot items such as film plastics, glass, Styrofoam or refundables.
    2. Your existing garbage, recycling and/or food waste containers are your property. They can be repurposed for other uses or extra storage, such as rain barrels, use it to save up your depot items such as film plastics, glass, Styrofoam or refundables.
      The RDN is currently in the process of coordinating the collection and recycling of unwanted containers for recycling. Please check back in the coming months for more information.
    3. I believe your are referring to the recent CBC Marketplace segment. Waste Connections of Canada is contracted by the RDN to collect curbside collection services for residential single-family dwellings; however, the RDN is also partnered with Recycle BC for all packaging and printed paper collected at the curbside. This means that all recyclable material collected at the curbside is processed by Recycle BC. There is a great response from Recycle BC on their webpage https://recyclebc.ca/ including the highlighted statement below:

    “Our contracts stipulate that Recycle BC must approve the end markets for all of our materials before they are transferred. In the case of plastic, 99 percent remains in Canada. This end market is Merlin Plastics, who was found in the report to have recycled the plastic it received. Less than 1% of our plastic is shipped overseas in the form of densified polystyrene, and this constitutes only a portion of the foam we collect. We have personally visited this company to verify its end use. This foam is used in picture frames.”

    Recycle BC is a not-for-profit organization responsible for residential packaging and paper recycling throughout BC. Recycle BC is the stewardship agency for packaging and printed paper regulated under the Provincial Recycling Regulation. Recycle BC’s 5 year Packaging and Paper Product Extended Producer Responsibility Plan is approved by the BC Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy.

    The RDN works hard to achieve one of the lowest curbside contamination rates for curbside recycling which helps to ensure the materials we accept at the curbside are recycled. In terms of our other waste streams, organics are sent to Circular Waste in Duke Point for composting producing Grade A compost and garbage is disposed of at our Regional Landfill in Cedar.


  • Who have you contracted with? Can you share thier processes to ensure recyclables actually get recycled and not burned or put in landfill?

    Robinchev asked 2 months ago

    Thank you for your question!

    We have seen the recent CBC Marketplace segment. Waste Connections of Canada is contracted by the RDN to collect curbside collection services for residential single-family dwellings; however, the RDN is also partnered with Recycle BC for all packaging and printed paper collected at the curbside. This means that all recyclable material collected at the curbside is processed by Recycle BC. There is a great response from Recycle BC on their webpage https://recyclebc.ca/ including the highlighted statement below:

    “Our contracts stipulate that Recycle BC must approve the end markets for all of our materials before they are transferred. In the case of plastic, 99 percent remains in Canada. This end market is Merlin Plastics, who was found in the report to have recycled the plastic it received. Less than 1% of our plastic is shipped overseas in the form of densified polystyrene, and this constitutes only a portion of the foam we collect. We have personally visited this company to verify its end use. This foam is used in picture frames.”

    Recycle BC is a not-for-profit organization responsible for residential packaging and paper recycling throughout BC. Recycle BC is the stewardship agency for packaging and printed paper regulated under the Provincial Recycling Regulation. Recycle BC’s 5 year Packaging and Paper Product Extended Producer Responsibility Plan is approved by the BC Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy.

    The RDN works hard to achieve one of the lowest curbside contamination rates for curbside recycling which helps to ensure the materials we accept at the curbside are recycled. In terms of our other waste streams, organics are sent to Circular Waste in Duke Point for composting producing Grade A compost and garbage is disposed of at our Regional Landfill in Cedar.


  • I currently have my teenagers in the house. Can I upsize the size of the garbage can (to the 240L) later if the 100L turns out to be too small (I struggle with the current 75L)? Conversely down the road can I downsize when they move out 🙄?

    BA asked 2 months ago

    Yes, most certainly! We understand residents' circumstances may change over time. We are currently working through the cart exchange process with the contractor and will update the webpage with the details shortly.

  • We are seniors with a particularly long gravel driveway in rural Nanoose. It is one thing to lift a garbage can into a vehicle to drive it to the curb and entirely a different matter to try to get one of these large carts to the curb. I don't suppose there is an opt out option?

    Ejbjb asked 3 months ago

    Thank you for your question. Unfortunately no, there is no option to opt out of the program as the curbside collection service is a compulsory service that is provided to all single family dwellings within the RDN.

    We understand your concern regarding the long driveway. Residents who do not wish to roll their carts down a long or difficult driveway may choose to store them at the end of their driveway on their property, and move them to the edge of the roadway for collection on collection day.


  • Do we keep and use the existing green container for food waste or do we have to upgrade? Does the Recycling and Garbage go in the same container? How do we handle cardboard Boxes? Do seniors get a discount?......I’m a dreamer!!!!

    Donn Gardner asked 2 months ago

    Thank you for your questions!

    1. No, all RDN residents in single family dwellings are required to use the new automated carts for collection. The new RDN carts will be RFID tagged to your address. The carts that will be delivered to your home were chosen for their technical specifications, in particular, their durability and compatibility with the automated collection trucks.
    2. No, the recycling and garbage does not go in the same cart. In summer 2020, each RDN residential household will receive a set of wheeled carts: a blue recycling cart, a green food waste cart with gravity lock, and a black garbage cart.
    3. Cardboard boxes will go into your recycling cart. Please note, only material inside the carts, with the lid closed will be collected.
    4. While there is no senior specific discount, we have heard from a number of residents during the consultation period last year that would like to see a smaller cart size as they generate little or no waste as a result of their recycling/composting efforts, which is very much in line with the RDN's diversion goals. As such, we have provided an 80L cart size to accommodate those residents’ and provide a small financial incentive as a reward for their diversion efforts (as shown below).


  • where can we see pictures of the new carts or see them in person? Its hard to see envision the size just based on litres.....I am based in Parksville

    Don asked 2 months ago

    Great question! The carts are available at 10 locations throughout the RDN for residents to see and try out in person. The list of locations can be found here.

  • Will there be a full clear credit on our property tax bill for 2020 or will this charge be additional to what is already billed on the property taxes

    Gord Garratt asked 2 months ago

    The curbside collection service is fully funded by RDN residents that receive the service. The new service will continue to be paid for by the curbside utility fee, which is separate from your property taxes.

  • Could you provide me with the dimensions of the various size bins being proposed

    Gary Hackman asked 2 months ago

    Thank you for your email! The cart size dimension can be found in the FAQ and shown below:


  • Will the selected cart sizes incur different charges to each household based on our selections? Will large carts cost more in yearly service fees then small carts based on cart size alone not how much or how often we fill them?

    TW asked 3 months ago

    Thank you for your question! The RDN is in favor of a user pay model for curbside collection, whereby residents pay according to use. Therefore, residents who generate more waste (i.e. opt for the 240L garbage) will pay a higher fee, compared to residents who generate less waste (i.e. opt for the 100L garbage) to account for the incremental difference in cost of disposal and processing of the material collected in the carts.

    Please find below the projected fees for the cart options (pending final Board approval):


  • What is the bear cart used for? Is it for garbage? Or food waste? Or will all containers be bear carts if chosen to upgrade?

    Mandfelliott asked 3 months ago

    Great question! The bear cart is intended for food waste to reduce the chance of attracting wildlife. Ideally, all food waste ends up in the green cart but we understand, in bear country, nothing is safe! If you deem it to be necessary for your area, the bear cart can be used for garbage as well. 

    It is your decision which cart, or both, if you choose upgrade.

    Please keep in mind, the bear proof cart is only available in the 240L cart size. The manufacturer does not supply this type of cart in anything smaller.



  • Can I opt out of this program all together ? I’m thinking of just going with a large bin that can be emptied once a month through a company like alpine disposal

    Rich asked 2 months ago

    Thank you for your question. The RDN's residential curbside collection program is a compulsory service set out in Bylaw 1591 and therefore, all residential single family dwellings are included in the program. As such, individual households are not able to opt out of the program.

  • Is there a fee for the bins or will they be provided free of charge for the first set?

    anonymous asked 3 months ago

    Thank you for your question!

    The cost of the carts is included as part of your annual curbside utility fee. The curbside collection utility fee, determined by the garbage cart size, covers the cost of delivering solid waste collection services, including the collection of the 3 waste streams, as well as cost of the carts, the cost of disposal and processing of the material collected in the carts.


  • I recently looked at the new cans and was wondering if they are lockable. I didn't see any on them and that is a concern for us because we live in a raccoon and bear area.

    delite344 asked 3 months ago

    Thanks for checking out the new carts!

    The RDN is home to a variety of wildlife, including raccoons and bears. The FOOD WASTE carts supplied to all RDN residents are equipped with gravity locks that automatically unlatch upon collection which cannot be easily opened by wildlife.

    Residents will have the choice to upgrade to a more robust, WildSafeBC certified 240L bear-resistant cart at a one-time cost of $230 per cart, plus applicable annual waste processing cost. These carts are available on display at select locations:

    RDN Head Office 6300 Hammond Bay Road, Nanaimo

    RDN Regional Landfill: 1105 Cedar Road, Nanaimo

    For more information, please check out: bear-resistant cart


  • HOW AND WHEN ARE WE CHARGED FOR THESE CONTAINERS? IF WE SELECT THE LARGEST SIZE WILL OUR DISPOSAL FEES ALSO INCREASE?

    MarkC asked 3 months ago

    Great question! The curbside collection utility fee, determined by the garbage cart size, covers the cost of delivering solid waste collection services, including the collection of the 3 waste streams, as well as cost of the carts, the cost of disposal and processing of the material collected in the carts.

    Therefore, as you increase your garbage cart size, the fee will increase to cover the incremental difference of the disposal cost.


  • Are you considering including garden waste with the compost pick-up?

    hayleegould asked 3 months ago

    Thank you for your question! The inclusion of residential yard and garden waste as part of the curbside collection was considered as an option during the Solid Waste Management Plan review and the curbside collection contract procurement process. 

    Currently, most residents self-haul their yard and garden wastes to: 1) the Regional Landfill and the Church Road Transfer Station where the material is sent to Nanaimo Organic Waste for composting; 2) a number of private operated sites in the region where it is either composted or used as an industrial fuel; or 3) collected by a private hauling services. It is estimated that roughly 80% of yard and garden waste generated in the RDN is currently diverted from the landfill.  Therefore, the choice was largely a matter of convenience for residents, particularly for those living in the member municipalities and higher density electoral areas, rather than achieving the region’s diversion goal.

    Based on recent consultation surveys, support for introducing yard and garden waste were varied and did not provide a clear distinction of preferred service by a majority of users. Ultimately, the Board decided not to include yard and garden waste collection as part of the RDN curbside collection service.



  • What do I fill in the “login” blank to register?

    Linda asked about 1 year ago

    Thank you for your question!  Here are the steps to access the survey if you haven't yet created a login account:

    1. Go to the RDN Get Involved Registration page (you can click here).  You will be asked to fill in four boxes.  The first box is Login: create a login name, it can be anything from your real name, to your pet's name, or anything else you'd like.  In the second box enter your email address.  And in the third and fourth boxes, you'll create a password.  This login name can be used again for any RDN Get Involved project and survey.
    2. Once you are registered and logged in to your account, you can fill out the Automated Collection Cart Selection survey (access it by clicking here).
    If you have any more questions, please feel free to contact our office at 250-390-6560 or rcu@rdn.bc.ca.

  • Why has the RDN not have automated truck pick up containers like they have in the lower mainland in place of the little blue box(not nearly big enough) and customer supplied garbage cans. We are way beyond manual pick up in this day and age.

    konadev asked about 1 year ago

    That's a great question!  We listened to your feedback from the 2018 Curbside Services Survey to understand what RDN residents want to see for the new curbside contract. The RDN Regional Board has voted to transition from the current manual collection service to an automated collection service in October 2020!

  • Are you considering including soft plastic as part of curbside collection? Most people don’t even know that they can recycle soft plastics and when they do find out they often don’t want the trouble of having to take it in somewhere. Curbside collection of soft plastic would truly make it possible to be “zero waste”!

    JordanE asked over 1 year ago


    Great question! Recycle BC, a non-profit agency in charge of the residential stewardship plan for Packaging and Printed Paper, rolled out the Other Flexible Plastic Packaging (soft plastics) program on June 1, 2018. It is a program Recycle BC developed in partnership with Merlin Plastics to provide a commercially viable solution to recycle common but difficult-to-process items across BC.

    This type of packaging is difficult to collect and process because of the materials it’s made out of.  Although it may not look like it, it’s actually made of many different layers of  material. Because the material collected at the curb goes through a mechanical process to separate the material, these soft plastics get confused as paper or other plastics, contaminating large loads of material, making them non-recyclable. To learn more about how curbside material is separated, watch this video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DUH-u2TCq4g.   

    The program will roll out in 3 phases, intended to better serve British Columbians across the province. During the pilot phase starting June 1, 2018, there were a total of 116 depot across BC collecting this material. On September 1, 2018, additional voluntary depots will begin collection. As of January 1, 2019, all Recycle BC depots in the province are expected to collect this type of packaging.

    As you mentioned, not everyone knows about this program so we will focus on educating residents. We will be doing this is through our Zero Waste newsletters and a Winter campaign once the program is fully implemented.