Wildlife & Waste

Practice responsible waste management to keep wildlife and the environment safe.

Are you Bear Aware?

Did you know?  Garbage is the attractant named in more than 50% of problem bear calls in British Columbia.  Bears becoming food-conditioned to garbage poses a safety threat to both bears and humans.  Prevention is key to keeping bears safe, please follow the tips below to prevent wildlife from being attracted to your waste.

  • Reduce odours in your cart:
    • Wrap smelly food in newspaper and/or freeze until collection day.
    • Use vinegar/baking soda to naturally eliminate odours.
    • Periodically rinse carts with soapy water.
  • Keep carts secured on non-collection days:
    • Store carts in a secured location such as a garage or shed.
    • Place your carts out at the curb on the morning of your collection day, before the 8:00 a.m. set-out time.
    • Do not set your carts out the night before your collection day.
    • On the same day, following collection, remove your carts from the street.

Sorting it Right goes a long way in reducing wildlife attractionProperly sort food waste and food-soiled paper into your Green Cart to ensure there aren't smelly attractants in your Black Cart.  Remove food residue on recyclable containers by giving them a quick rinse before placing in your Blue Cart.

For more resources on conflict reduction strategies for wildlife, visit WildSafeBC.com and BearSmart.com

Your carts have a patented rim to keep critters out; they are wildlife resistant, but not wildlife proof.  To report wildlife that is aggressive or causing property damage, call the BC Conservation Officer Service at 1-877-952-7277.

Be bear aware: keep your carts secured when it's not collection day. [Image of a cartoon bear saying

Preventing Smaller Critters

  • Wrap food in newsprint or paper bags
  • Freeze any smelly foods and place them in your green bin on the day of collection
  • Keep carts clean by rinsing with soapy water; leaving soap residue may also mask food odors
  • Keep carts in a secured location such as garage or shed until collection day
  • Put carts in a secured location such as garage or shed until collection day
  • Put carts out as close to collection time (8 a.m.) as possible
  • Try using vinegar and baking soda - a natural odor eliminator
  • Use a bungee cord or weight on lid. The cord and weight must be removed for collection!

The carts feature a patented rodent-proof rim that is designed to keep critters out.  If your wildlife problem persist, please contact the Public Works Department.

Preventing Insects and Maggots

  • Maggots are attracted to cooked and raw meat.  Store these scraps in the freezer until collection day.
  • Tightly wrap meat scraps and plate scrapings in newspaper before placing in your cart, and then cover with yard waste.
  • Transfer waste food into your kitchen catcher as soon as you can and keep the lid tightly closed when not in use.
  • Using compostable or paper bags, closed and tied at the top, helps to prevent houseflies from getting in contact with your food waste.
  • Clean out your kitchen catcher regularly with a mild detergent or vinegar/water solution.
  • You can sprinkle baking soda or vinegar in your organics cart to reduce odour.

Reporting Environmental Violations

Notify the Bylaw Department when you observe illegal dumping within the City of Nanaimo.

The BC Report All Poachers and Polluters (RAPP) hotline can be used to report environmental violations province wide.  The RAPP program is a toll free tip line and online service that also allows you to report known or suspected violations of fisheries, wildlife, or environmental protection laws anonymously and without risk of confronting the offender.

Environmental Violations include illegal waste disposal and leaving attractants (e.g. garbage) accessible to dangerous wildlife.  A person leaving attractants accessible to dangerous wildlife may be subject to fine(s) by the BC Conservation Office per clause 33.1(2) in the Wildlife Act:

A person must not leave or place an attractant in, on or about any land or premises where there are or where there are likely to be people, in a manner in which the attractant could
(a) attract dangerous wildlife to the land or premises, and
(b) be accessible to dangerous wildlife.


Illegal Dumping Prevention & Enforcement

Illegally dumped material can have serious effects on the environment, wildlife habitat and the ability of others to use and enjoy outdoor recreational areas.  Visit the Regional District of Nanaimo (RDN) website for more information on the prevention and enforcement of illegal dumping in our region.

Plan a Community Clean-Up

Big or small, community clean up helps to stop illegal dumping and keeps our city's lands and waters healthy and clean.

If you are interested in doing a clean-up in a City of Nanaimo Park, check out the Partners in Parks program!  The RDN has produced a comprehensive guide for conducting community clean-ups in the region, click here to visit the website and learn more about how to get the landfill tipping fees waived for your event.

For non-profit community groups and charities, Public Works offers a bi-annual cleanup event program called Partners in a Cleaner Community.  The groups are provided with all the necessary litter picking materials and paid $50 for each kilometer covered. They have a lot of fun out there and even better, profits are used by the groups to continue their activities within the community. If you would like to register your group’s interest please call Public Works at 250-758-5222 or send us an email.

Know Before You Throw

Practice responsible waste management.  Many illegally dumped items are free or low-cost to recycle or dispose of at local depots.  Enter the item you are trying to recycle or dispose of using the What Goes Where tool.

Contact Us

Public Works Department 250-758-5222

Zero Waste 250-756-5390
Monday to Friday | 8:00 - 4:30

Last updated: June 14, 2022

Help us improve our website

Don't include private or financial information in this form.

Collection and use of your personal information

Information collected on this form is done so under the general authority of the Community Charter and Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FOIPPA), and is protected in accordance with FOIPPA. Questions about the collection of your personal information may be referred to the Legislative Services Department at 250-755-4405, or via email at foi@nanaimo.ca. Please also see our Privacy Policy.