Mandatory Waste Source Separation and Waste Hauler Licensing Bylaws

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Update: The consultation is now closed.


The Regional District of Nanaimo (RDN) is consulting on two bylaws set out out in the RDN Solid Waste Management Plan that aim to build the business of diversion in the Commercial and Institutional (CI) sectors and ensure that all residents have the ability to recycle and compost their waste:

Mandatory Waste Source Separation – All businesses, multi-family buildings and institutions will be required to have a system to separate their waste into organics, recycling and garbage containers for collection. Collection can be done by an RDN Licensed Hauler, or businesses could make their own arrangements.

Waste Hauler Licensing – Businesses that haul waste for profit – usually the same companies who pick up waste from commercial buildings will be required to obtain a license. These Licensed Haulers would help ensure their commercial customers have systems in place for separating and collecting organics, recycling and garbage. The bylaw would provide an opportunity to give licensed haulers a discounted tipping rate at the landfill for waste that does not contain any recyclable or compostable materials. The discounted tipping rate for waste haulers is to encourage the flow of waste from generators to the waste industry rather than directly to the landfill.

The bylaw will also allow the introduction of a disposal levy for waste landfilled or incinerated in or out of region. The levy will not be applied to material that is recycled or composted. The purpose is to encourage industry’s focus on waste reduction by making it more profitable to divert than dispose. This model will also provide reliable tracking of waste diversion/disposal and has the economic benefit of growing the local waste industry.



Key areas of consultation for the Mandatory Waste Source Separation Bylaw will include:

  • Who the bylaw applies to
  • Conditions of bylaw
  • Compliance and enforcement of the bylaw

Key areas of consultation for the Waste Hauler Licensing Bylaw will include:

  • Who the bylaw applies to
  • Application process
  • Fees
  • Conditions of license
  • Compliance Enforcement

How you can find out more or provide feedback:

  • Register (tab at the top right of this page) to be kept up-to-date with progress on this project through our email communication
  • Explore this webpage to find out more about the project - staff reports and other documents can be accessed in the document library
  • Ask us a question in the Q & A tab below and we will respond

*If you would like your feedback included in the report to the Regional Board and in the final submission to the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change, please have all feedback submitted by October 1, 2021.

Two webinars will be held on August 19 and September 9 at 10:00am. If you would like to attend, please contact Travis Tanner at ttanner@rdn.bc.ca, with you name and which webinar you would like to attend. If you are unable to attend either of these webinars, recordings will be made available on this page. For those groups interested, staff are available for private presentations as well.

Update: The consultation is now closed.


The Regional District of Nanaimo (RDN) is consulting on two bylaws set out out in the RDN Solid Waste Management Plan that aim to build the business of diversion in the Commercial and Institutional (CI) sectors and ensure that all residents have the ability to recycle and compost their waste:

Mandatory Waste Source Separation – All businesses, multi-family buildings and institutions will be required to have a system to separate their waste into organics, recycling and garbage containers for collection. Collection can be done by an RDN Licensed Hauler, or businesses could make their own arrangements.

Waste Hauler Licensing – Businesses that haul waste for profit – usually the same companies who pick up waste from commercial buildings will be required to obtain a license. These Licensed Haulers would help ensure their commercial customers have systems in place for separating and collecting organics, recycling and garbage. The bylaw would provide an opportunity to give licensed haulers a discounted tipping rate at the landfill for waste that does not contain any recyclable or compostable materials. The discounted tipping rate for waste haulers is to encourage the flow of waste from generators to the waste industry rather than directly to the landfill.

The bylaw will also allow the introduction of a disposal levy for waste landfilled or incinerated in or out of region. The levy will not be applied to material that is recycled or composted. The purpose is to encourage industry’s focus on waste reduction by making it more profitable to divert than dispose. This model will also provide reliable tracking of waste diversion/disposal and has the economic benefit of growing the local waste industry.



Key areas of consultation for the Mandatory Waste Source Separation Bylaw will include:

  • Who the bylaw applies to
  • Conditions of bylaw
  • Compliance and enforcement of the bylaw

Key areas of consultation for the Waste Hauler Licensing Bylaw will include:

  • Who the bylaw applies to
  • Application process
  • Fees
  • Conditions of license
  • Compliance Enforcement

How you can find out more or provide feedback:

  • Register (tab at the top right of this page) to be kept up-to-date with progress on this project through our email communication
  • Explore this webpage to find out more about the project - staff reports and other documents can be accessed in the document library
  • Ask us a question in the Q & A tab below and we will respond

*If you would like your feedback included in the report to the Regional Board and in the final submission to the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change, please have all feedback submitted by October 1, 2021.

Two webinars will be held on August 19 and September 9 at 10:00am. If you would like to attend, please contact Travis Tanner at ttanner@rdn.bc.ca, with you name and which webinar you would like to attend. If you are unable to attend either of these webinars, recordings will be made available on this page. For those groups interested, staff are available for private presentations as well.

Q&A

Do you have a question about the Mandatory Waste Source Separation bylaw or Waste Hauler Licensing bylaw? If so, please ask us here and we will post the question and answer for all to see. 

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    Hi there. I am curious to know how much of our current waste stream is comprised of organics/recyclable materials is, and what those are. The only one I can find is from 2012. Can you please point me in the direction of a more recent waste audit/landfill audit or what not that shows this info? Thanks in advance!

    lmcleod asked 10 months ago

    Thank you for your inquiry.  

    While our last formal composition audit was conducted in 2012, we know that the relative percentages of organics, recycling, and waste had been fairly stable year-over-year.  However, both the pandemic and the RDN's automated cart collection program have altered the both the volume and composition of our waste streams. 2019 presented us with the last clear picture of our waste composition before these substantial changes took effect: Reporting data includes the total tonnage of landfilled and diverted materials and it shows the following percentage breakdown of collected material: 70% recycled; 23% landfilled; 6% composted; 1% reused. Preliminary data from our curbside program from the past year reveals that volume has increased for every waste stream.

    The RDN will be commissioning another third-party waste composition audit in 2022 similar to that of 2012.  This audit will reveal the extent to which the pandemic, our automated curbside program, and Solid Waste Management Plan programs has effected material volumes and composition.

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    I think "home based" businesses are a gap that needs to be addressed. We own a food truck business and I used to take a utility trailer 3/4 full of recycling every 2 weeks to the Recycling Center on old Victoria Road but now I have been officially turned away from there because my product is generated from a "business" activity even though it is a residential address. Where do home based businesses fall in this category? A small business that is based at a residential address? We run a food truck and try to divert as much waste as possible from landfill. Today I was turned away from this Regional Recycling location when trying to recycle clean plastic ice cream pails, milk jugs, and various other plastic containers that food comes in. We buy all the items at regular grocery stores - 4L milk, 4L ice cream pails, ketchup bottles, spice containers, mayonnaise containers etc etc. These are no different than any other household besides volume. We just have more of it that you would expect from one household. Why do I need to send this recyclable material to landfill? Thanks Craig

    10 months ago

    Thank you for your very pertinent questions. Privately-owned recycling depots, such as the Nanaimo Regional Recycling (NRR) depots, generally do not accept recyclable items generated by small businesses.  Typically, depots receive a nominal amount of funding from Recycle BC to collect so-called "In-Scope Paper and Product Packaging (PPP)" when the source of the material is strictly residential. This stipulation is enforced by a very explicit contract between Recycle BC and the depots.  The contract does allow for the depot owners to collect In-Scope PPP from industrial, commercial, and institutional (ICI) generators, but the depot is responsible for all costs associated with separating, weighing, storing, and shipping ICI material.  In short, collecting ICI in-scope materials may end up costing the depots money, which is an untenable and unsustainable consideration for a privately-owned business.

    However, the implementation of the Mandatory Source Separation bylaw will necessarily result in a more developed and competitive local recycling market. We anticipate the costs for associated for recycling clean, source separated ICI recycling to decrease over time.  Furthermore, the Retail Council of Canada has announced that BC will move to a deposit system for milk containers similar to beer and beverage containers, which means that your milk jugs can be returned to a bottle depot for refund.  You can find more information here: https://resource-recycling.com/plastics/2020/07/29/british-columbia-expands-epr-and-bottle-deposit-systems/ 

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    Cox Bay on Gabriola is post and shown by the DFO as contaminated for shell fish. A creek flows into this Bay from the Village area. Would this be looked into with this new Bylaw?

    Don Elkington asked 10 months ago

    These bylaws pertain only to the mandatory separation of recyclables and organics from commercial, institutional, and multi-family waste streams and the implementation of licenses for waste haulers.  Fisheries management is the purview of Fisheries and Oceans Canada.  You can find more information about the Pacific region at their website:  https://www.pac.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/index-eng.html 

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    Why cant wee build a gasification waste to energy plant and have zero landfill and zero emissions @ the same time instead of wasted $$ on Site C dam of billions and there are foundations problems. https://www.cheknews.ca/rdns-proposed-solid-waste-bylaws-would-divert-10-per-cent-from-landfill-861333/

    cheknews asked 11 months ago

    Thank you for your excellent question.  

    While working to update the RDN’s Solid Waste Management Plan - our comprehensive long-term plan for waste management in the region, approved by the Ministry in 2020 – we thoroughly investigated a wide variety of solutions as they pertain to waste diversion and the residual waste management (what remains after reusable, recyclable, and compostable materials been adequately removed).

    The Plan (which was developed with guidance from a committee of First Nations, public, business, not-for-profit, environmental, and governmental representatives) focuses on diversion first, and lays out the practical steps to achieving our Zero Waste goal of 90% diversion; a diversion rate that would elevate the RDN to a global class of its own. Getting to 90% (and beyond) means continuing to build and support a robust local, circular economy based on reclaiming, reusing, repurposing, recycling, and remanufacturing materials.

    When determining the future of residual waste management in the region we considered landfilling and a number of energy recovery technologies. These options were evaluated on multiple criteria including capital and operating costs, short- and long-term feasibility, environmental impacts, scalability and energy recovery. Ultimately, we and the plan committee decided that continuing to landfill our material was the most beneficial for the following reasons: It allows us to maximize the use of our existing site which has a life expectancy of an additional 22 years; it keeps our disposal costs among the lowest in BC, and; it allows us to dedicate resources to achieving our diversion goals.  

    At this time, gasification of municipal solid waste is a new technology that comes with prohibitive capital and operational cost burdens. A 2016 study into the feasibility of gasification, conducted by a third party on behalf of the RDN, revealed that the disposal cost per tonne of garbage would more than double from simply constructing the necessary facility. This number would increase factoring in appreciable operation and maintenance costs. The RDN currently produces little enough waste that it would require a small-module gasifier, a technology which has not been proven at scale and may not be available. Additionally, gasification feed stocks require substantial pre-processing, and it has been shown that energy recovery falls short of conventional waste-to-energy technologies.  

    If you would like to learn more about our current and future solid waste programs, we would be happy to have a discussion with you and to share our extensive research.

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    We already recycle plastics/paper etc but not food waste. What training support will be provided by RDN to assist multi family buildings to enable their residents to implement food waste recycling

    what does this mean asked 11 months ago

    Thank you for the excellent question.

     As you can imagine, instituting recycling and compost at all multi-family buildings, as well as all businesses and institutions, is no small endeavor.  Each customer will have different needs based on the amount of waste they generate and divert and the space they have for sorting and storage. On the other hand, each hauler will provide a unique service based on a variety of factors, such as compatibility of existing vehicles with expanded services, scheduling constraints, their facility dimensions and permissions, and end processing facility types and locations. The RDN’s role will be to provide support to haulers to create communications materials that consider their operational capabilities and the needs of the customers.  In turn, the haulers will be able to provide communications tailored to suit their customers distinct requirements.

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    How will the Source Separation Bylaw apply to existing strata developments?

    KH asked 11 months ago

    Thank you for your question. An existing strata whose curbside collection is managed by a licensed hauler or haulers will have two options under the Source Separation bylaw. First, they can separate their garbage, recyclables, and organics into dedicated or partitioned containers on the premises. Alternatively, a strata may choose collect their non-separated garbage, recyclables, and organics into one or more container(s) which will be sent to a facility that separates and sorts recyclables and organic materials. 

    For most strata, achieving a three-stream system will require only the addition of receptacles for organics collection.  Materials effectively separated at their source contain fewer contaminants, which increases their market values, reduces processing costs, and improves facility worker safety when compared facility-sorted materials.  With that in mind, the Waste Hauler Licensing bylaw will encourage private haulers to provide separate containers and promote proper diversion by offering them reduced disposal fees for garbage free of recyclable and organic materials.  

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    I live in a strata consisting of 4-plexes, duplexes, and single-family dwellings. What options will we have to comply with the Source Separation Bylaw?

    KH asked 11 months ago

    Thank you for your question. An existing strata whose curbside collection is managed by a licensed hauler or haulers will have two options under the Source Separation bylaw. First, they can separate their garbage, recyclables, and organics into dedicated or partitioned containers on the premises.  For strata with a variety of dwelling types and/or space constraints, strata councils are encouraged to reach out to their haulers to discuss suitable service options. Alternatively, a strata may choose collect their non-separated garbage, recyclables, and organics into one or more container(s) which will be sent to a facility that separates and sorts recyclables and organic materials.  

    For most strata, achieving a three-stream system will require only the addition of receptacles for organics collection.  Materials effectively separated at their source contain fewer contaminants, which increases their market values, reduces processing costs, and improves facility worker safety when compared facility-sorted materials.  With that in mind, the Waste Hauler Licensing bylaw will encourage private haulers to provide separate containers and promote proper diversion by offering them reduced disposal fees for garbage free of recyclable and organic materials.  

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    Is the Source Separation Bylaw expected to apply to residents of the municipalities of Nanaimo, Lantzville, Parksville, and Qualicum Beach ?

    KH asked 11 months ago

    Yes, the Mandatory Waste Source Separation bylaw will apply to businesses, institutions, and multi-family buildings throughout the RDN, including the City of Nanaimo, District of Lantzville, City of Parksville, Town of Qualicum Beach, and electoral areas.

Page last updated: 26 Jan 2022, 04:19 PM