COVID-19 Information on Garbage & Recycling Services

For general information, visit the COVID-19 informational page and see Frequently Asked Questions.

Curbside collection is operating normally.  Sign up for Service Alerts to be directly informed of any updates to the curbside collection services: download the Nanaimo Recycles app on Google Play or the App Store, or use the directions below to sign up on our website.

  1. Head to our Collection Schedules page.
  2. Input your address into the My Schedule tool.
  3. Select the "Get a Reminder" button.
  4. Pick which type of notification you would like to receive, and follow the directions to complete setting up the Service Alert or Reminder.

Garbage/Recycling COVID-19 FAQs

Will my garbage and recycling still be picked up?

Yes, City services are operating as normal. This includes garbage/recycling collection, water supply, sewer, drainage, roads, etc.

Please follow regular cart set out guidelines: have your carts out by 8:00 am on your scheduled collection day, and ensure your carts are accessible and not blocking sidewalks.

What can I do to keep sanitation staff safe during the pandemic?

Thank you for your efforts to keep these essential service workers safe!  Please follow Safe Waste practices by securely bagging and throwing the following items in the garbage:

  • Cleaning cloths and disposable wipes - even those listed as flushable/compostable
  • Used Kleenex
  • Personal hygiene products
  • Face masks & gloves
  • Any other similar items

If anyone in your household is sick, all personal waste should be securely double bagged and disposed in the garbage.

These are challenging times, and we recognize your household’s curbside waste volumes may be affected. All households are encouraged to follow good waste management practices: properly sorting recyclables and organics, rinsing recyclable containers so they are free of food residue and saving space by flattening cardboard boxes and other bulky recyclables.

Use the tools available on the Nanaimo Recycles app available for free download from the App Store and Google Play as well on the Garbage and Recycling Calendar page.

Please note: We are not taking any new cart exchange requests at this time. When our front counter services resume normal operations, we will begin accepting cart exchange forms and payments. We will continue deliveries to newly occupied homes that do not have an existing set of carts. Our apologies for inconvenience this may cause.

Are recycling depots open?

Most recycling depots within Nanaimo are open, but operating with limited hours and/or services. Please call the depot before you visit.

Limiting unessential trips to recycling depots and the landfill can help reduce the risk of spread to workers and residents.  Store depot-only recyclables whenever you are able, and practice good recycling standards of rinsing containers, and flattening boxes and other bulky recyclables. Click here for tips on storing recyclables during this time.

Find all drop-off depot locations using our "What Goes Where" tool on the Nanaimo Recycles App. Download the free app from the App Store or Google Play. If you don't have a smart phone, you can find the information on the Garbage and Recycling Calendar page on the City website.

Please do not put refundable beverage containers into curbside waste collection carts. If you do not have room to hold onto your beverage container recyclables, there are many Empties 4 Food donation bins across Nanaimo. Visit the Loaves & Fishes website for more information.

Is the landfill still open?

Yes, the regional landfill on Cedar Road remains open with regular operating hours. Do not visit the landfill or other depots if you are in quarantine or self-isolation related to COVID-19. To reduce the spread of COVID-19 and keep staff and public safe, consider delaying your visit to the landfill and recycling depots, unless absolutely necessary. The landfill is not accepting cash payments at this time, and please use the tap function on your credit/debit card whenever possible.

I'm following physical distancing measure by staying at home.  With sunshine in the forecast, now is a perfect time to do my spring cleaning!  What can I do with my depot-only recyclables and items for donation?

With this sunny weather we know you might have spring cleaning on your mind.  Please make a plan to responsibly manage your waste generated in a spring clean-up.  Many take-back locations in Nanaimo are closed, or open with limited operations, to keep staff and residents safe during this COVID-19 pandemic.  This includes a number of thrift stores and donation bins.

Whenever possible, consider reducing or delaying visits to recycling and disposal facilities to prevent adding stress on the essential waste services that remain open.  In the case of facility and donation bin closures, you may need to store recyclables and donate-able goods until further notice.  Remember to rinse containers, flatten bulky recyclables, and check out Recycle BC's website for more tips on storing recyclables during this time.

Do not illegally dump waste: absolutely no items should be left in front of closed drop-off locations, or donation bins that are already full.

I can't bring reusable bags into the grocery store anymore.  Do you have any tips on how to stay low-waste during the pandemic?

We're building our tip bank as the questions come in, so if you have any questions or low-waste tips to share, please email!

At the grocery store / market / farm stand:

  • Leave your reusable bags in your vehicle.  At the till, keep your groceries loose and place them back into the cart, no single-use bags are needed.  Once you get back to the car, pack your groceries into your reusable bags!
  • Car free?  Find the least bulky reusable bags you have, and fold and store them in your purse, backpack or pocket.  Once you're back outside and at a safe distance from others, load the groceries from the cart to your reusable bags.
  • Buy what you need.  Say no to food waste by making a meal plan, and sticking to it when you're at the grocery store.

Getting take-out food:

  • Support restaurants that offer low-waste food packaging: keep it minimal, ensuring any items are compostable or recyclable.
  • If you're eating at home, let your restaurant know you do not need cutlery, napkins/wipes or condiment packages.

Inside your home:

In the yard:

Contact Us

Sort Toss Roll Inquiries on Zero Waste | Sorting Recyclables and Organics
Monday to Friday | 8:00 - 4:30

Last updated: May 4, 2020

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