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Collection Services

General Description

There are over 26,000 homes on the City's collection program, and that number is growing every year. Limiting or reducing the amount of solid waste or garbage we produce benefits everyone. In 2013, approximately 10,600 tonnes of household waste was collected from homes on the program. That's enough to fill more than 1,800 garbage trucks. The good news was that in 2013, 61% of our household waste went to recycling or compost facilities instead of the landfill. This figure was over 30% higher than the 2007 diverted waste figure. WELL DONE, NANAIMO!

In our local environment, where landfill space is extremely limited and increasingly more expensive (the cost per tonne will likely increase above the $125 / tonne being paid in 2014), the community has recognized the importance of their participation in available recycling and reuse alternatives. The public and our users have indicated they want costs controlled as much as possible, landfill space conserved wherever possible and an environmentally conscious approach that supports a user pay system. If you use more, you pay more. City of Nanaimo service levels are designed with this in mind.

Nanaimo residents already divert more than 60% of their household waste from the landfill through recycling and composting (Green Bin food waste collection service). By participating in the expanded curbside recycling service for packing and printed paper materials, residents can build on this success.

User Pay

Our User Pay Food Waste, Garbage and Curbside Recycling Collection programs provide residents an incentive to control the amount of garbage they generate. Households served have garbage collection limited to 1 standard size container every 2 weeks and weekly collection of food waste through the Green Bin Program. For more information on Green Bin Service, go to the side bar on the left of the page or click here Beyond Composting. Additional containers of garbage may be put out for garbage collection under an Extended Service option by purchasing and attaching a $3 tag purchased for each additional standard size container put out for collection. See Basic Service information below for container size limits.

Reduced User Fees

Starting May 19, 2014, the City will not collect packging and printed paper recyclables under an agreement with Multi-Material BC (MMBC), a non-profit association set up to operate the provincially mandated program. MMBC will compensate the City for providing curbside recycling collection and public education to its residential households. Households served will automatically receive a corresponding reduction in their Garbage and Recycling User Fees after May 19.

Collection Frequency (Add-a-Day System)

Garbage, recycling and Green Bin Services are scheduled using an add-a-day system. Curbside recycling and garbage services are scheduled once every second week (bi-weekly), on an alternating schedule. Food and kitchen waste is collected weekly (48 litres).

Add-a-Day scheduling results in the scheduled day of collection advancing (eg Tuesday to Wednesday) by one day following each scheduled statutory holiday. The Garbage Calendar section on the left of the screen can be used to access your City Of Nanaimo garbage and recycling schedule (printable pdf file / address location).

Please have food waste, garbage and recyclables out by 8 a.m. on your collection day!



Curbside Garbage Collection Services

Basic Service

Basic Service implies 1 standard-size container of garbage is collected every second scheduled collection (bi-weekly) and food waste is collected weekly from a municipally provided container (48 litres). Curbside recycling service is bi-weekly (every second week). Residential clients can put out recyclable cardboard, newspaper, mixed paper, metal food and beverage cans and plastic household containers (some restrictions apply). Further down the page, the heading Curbside Recycling Service provides more details.

Yard and Garden Waste is not collected under garbage, City food waste or recycling programs. Private contractors are available and typically offer services that collect this waste weekly, on a seasonal basis or on an as needed basis. Other alternatives also exist. A list of Unacceptable Waste, items that should not be placed in your garbage, is included below. The list to the left of this page with the heading Recycling / Disposal Alternatives provides information on some yard waste services available and other alternatives. Recycling and disposal information for other items that may be of interest is also provided under this heading. To better understand food waste collection, go to the green bin program section contained in the list on the left side of this page or click here. Beyond Composting.

Standard Size Container Limits ( garbage and food waste ):

  • Only City provided 48 litre Green Bins for food waste collection will be serviced by the City.
  • Maximum weight per standard size container of 22 kilograms or 50 pounds (garbage, recycling and food waste)
  • Maximum volume of 77 litres or 2 1/2 cubic feet (garbage only)
  • Maximum garbage bag size 28" by 36" or 31" by 33" (garbage only)

Garbage put out in an oversized garbage can (more than 77 litre volume or 2 1/2 cubic feet) will only be picked up if contents are bagged in a standard-size garbage bag (28" by 36" or 31" by 33" max ). The oversize can is considered a vehicle to transport your garbage to the curb, the bag is considered your container.

Extended Service for Additional Garbage

By utilizing resident-purchased user pay garbage tags, additional standard size containers of garbage may be put out and collected on your scheduled garbage collection day. Each extra container put out for collection requires a $3 garbage tag. To assist residents who have garbage collection needs beyond the one (1) container per collection limit, a maximum of two additional standard-sized containers of garbage per scheduled collection may be put out for collection with the use of garbage tags. Information below explains the method. Further down the page, the heading Where to Buy Garbage Tags provides locations where tags may be purchased.

To Acquire Additional Garbage Service:

  • Buy a $3.00 garbage tag or tags to access this service.
  • Attach tag to a prominent place on top of each additional standard size container or bag.
  • Put containers out by 8 a.m. on regular scheduled garbage collection day.

Acceptable Waste ( Garbage )

Household waste not collected through the City's Curbside Recycling Service or Green Bin Program. Food waste and other organics included in this service will not generally be acceptable as garbage except in extreme situations. See Beyond Composting.

Unacceptable Waste

  • Explosives, highly flammable materials and other dangerous or offensive wastes.
  • Items exceeding 0.6 meters (2 feet) in any dimension.
  • Yard and garden waste.
  • Food or kitchen waste.
  • Materials collected through the curbside recycling program including cardboard, newspaper, mixed paper, metal food and beverage containers, and plastic household containers.
  • Trade, demolition or construction waste, rocks and ashes.
  • Raw sewage or septic tank sludge.
  • Dead animals, animal waste, litter or feces.
  • Controlled wastes including paint, engine oil, oil filters, gypsum, drywall, syringes, medications and other biomedical waste.
  • Items recognized as banned at the Regional Landfill or contained within provincial Product Stewardship programs.

As part of a system designed to deal with many household hazardous wastes and other items, the Province of BC has developed a provincially mandated Stewardship Program. They focus on small electrical appliances, computers and associated equipment, motor oil, automotive oil filters, paint, pesticides, hypodermic needles, prescription and non-prescription drug disposal, waste fuels and solvents and their associated containers etc. Under these programs, industries that generate hazardous waste and their consumers assume the full cost of collection and disposal.

As of July 2011, household batteries, florescent light bulbs, automotive antifreeze and an increased number of electronics, such as stereo equipment and cell phones came under Product Stewardship programs. These items plus computers, motor oil, automotive oil filters, old or unwanted paint, pesticide, solvent and old fuel products are among the list of products associated with the Stewardship Program facilitated by Nanaimo Recycling Exchange. They will be adding to this list as new Stewardship initiatives take place.

In October 2011, a new Stewardship Program directed at small electrical appliances was initiated. This program is directed at most things with an electrical cord including personal care items such as curling irons and hair dryers and counter top appliances such as coffee makers, toasters and microwave ovens. There is an extensive list available at or contact the Nanaimo Recycling Exchange depot for more information.

The Fall 2012 edition of the Wasteline, the City garbage, recycling and green bin newsletter, contains a list of the many stewardship programs that exist in B.C.  See publications and forms tab on the left.

Nanaimo Recycling Exchange

Under Product Stewardship Programs, the Nanaimo Recycling Exchange (NRE) provides a large variety of collection for containers and products related to Product Stewardship.

The NRE is one of four local Multi-Material BC Drop-off Depots that accept many items not accepted in the curbside recycling program. These include:

  • non-deposit glass jars and bottles
  • plastic bags and overwrap
  • plastic foam (Styrofoam) containers, trays and cushion packaging

The NRE also accepts all packing and printed paper materials accepted through the curbside recycling program.

Location and Contact Info:

2477 Kenworth Road
Nanaimo B.C. V9S 4M8
Phone: (250) 758-7777; Website:

For more information about industry sponsored Product Stewardship Programs and the waste diverted by them, visit or cal the BC Recycling Hotline at 1-800-667-4321 (toll free).

Pharmaceuticals & Hypodermic Needles

Pharmaceuticals including unwanted prescription & non-prescription drugs and hypodermic needles may be returned to many local pharmacies. Please contact your favourite pharmacy to confirm.

Where to Buy Garbage Tags:


North Nanaimo

  • Fairway Market, North Town Centre
  • London Drugs, North Town Centre
  • Oliver Woods Community Centre
  • Quality Foods, Northridge Village
  • Shoppers Drug Mart, Country Club Mall
  • Shoppers Drug Mart, Mary Ellen Drive
  • Thrifty Foods, Longwood Station
  • Uplands Convenience Store, Uplands & Rutherford
  • Wal-Mart Lottery Centre, Woodgrove Mall

Central Nanaimo

  • Beban Park Recreation Centre
  • Bowen Complex Recreation Centre
  • Central Drugs, Beban Plaza
  • Jingle Pot General Store, Jingle Pot Rd
  • Mid-Island Co-op, 103 2517 Bowen Rd
  • Nanaimo Aquatic Centre
  • Pharmasave, Bowen & Dufferin
  • Pharmasave, Boundary Cres
  • Public Works Yard
  • Quality Foods, Beban Plaza
  • Rexall Drugs, Bowen & Dufferin
  • Save on Foods, Brooks Landing


  • Service & Resource Centre, 411 Dunsmuir St
  • London Drugs, Port Place
  • Thrifty Foods, Port Place

South Nanaimo

  • Country Grocer, Southgate Centre
  • Pharmasave, South Parkway Plaza, Chase River
  • Quality Foods, University Village Shopping Centre
  • Rexall Drug Store, Southgate Centre, Chase River
  • Shoppers Drug Mart, University Village Shopping Centre


Curbside Recycling Collection Service – "It's in the Bag"

BFI provides bi-weekly (once every second week) curbside recycling collection to all homes on City service. See your "ADD-A-DAY" Garbage and Recycling Collection Calendar for your schedule. The City also supplies the Curbside Recycling Guide (see link below) which provides information on how to prepare your materials for recycling and collection at the curb. Materials collected under this service are not accepted as garbage.

Curbside Recycling Guide

Recyclables are collected utilizing reusable blue and yellow bags supplied to residents. Please note the blue bag has been eliminated and all materials go in the yellow bag. Plastic bags, film plastic and glass containers are not accepted in curbside recycling. These materials can be taken to the Multi-Material BC Drop-Off Depots listed on the Curbside Recycling Guide.

Materials collected and preparation instructions are as indicated on bags provided and as described in the Curbside Recycling Guide. As an option, residents may wish to purchase a "Blue Box" or even a garbage can instead of the yellow bag supplied. These alternative containers do need to be properly labelled so recycling collection crews can easily recognize them. Call or e-mail Public Works for more information or labels for your alternate container.

Call BFI at (250) 758-5360 if you need recycling bags or pick one up at most major City of Nanaimo facilities, including: Bowen Park, Beban Park, Public Works, Nanaimo Ice Centre, Nanaimo Aquatic Centre, City Hall and Oliver Woods Community Centre.

For information contact: 250-758-5222 or email

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