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Cancelled Garbage Collection FAQs

collection updateMissed Garbage Collection Update - January 17, 2020

Thank you to the City of Nanaimo curbside collection customers for your patience and understanding with this week’s cancellations.

Due to the record breaking snow events we had between Monday January 13 and Thursday January 16, 2020, collection had to be cancelled for worker and resident safety. Resources and personnel were reassigned to help with snow related matters.  Curbside collection resumed Friday January 17, with the exception of streets where conditions posed risk to workers or residents.

We thank you for your patience during the snow events that impacted our City. If your garbage collection was missed, please set out one extra garbage bag on your next scheduled garbage collection day. Please ensure the extra bag weighs less than 50 pounds and is spaced at least three feet / one meter from your black and green carts.

Curbside Collection in Winter Road Conditions

Follow these tips to help ensure your carts are emptied:

  • Put your carts at the end of your snow-cleared driveway, or shovel away snow to create a cleared pad for your cart. Do not place carts behind or on top of a snow bank.
  • Place your carts so they are visible and accessible (i.e. close to the plowed lane). Park your carts as close to the street as possible, in front of your sidewalk and without blocking traffic.
  • Make sure cart lids are completely closed.
  • Loosen any waste that is frozen stuck to the inside of your carts.
  • Follow normal cart set-out guidelines:
    • Set your carts out by 8:00 am on your day of collection.
    • Point the arrow on the lid toward the street.
    • Space your carts one meter (three feet) apart and distanced from other obstacles like vehicles and basketball hoops.

Stay in the Loop

Please note that during extreme weather events, there will be times when streets or partial routes may not be collected due to road conditions, construction, or other traffic delays, or unexpected equipment breakdowns. Affected residents will be informed of these partial route delays through the following channels:

  • Service Alerts sent as emails, text messages or phone calls. If you haven't already, get set up on the My Schedule tool on our website.
  • Service Alert notifications through the Nanaimo Recycles app, available on the App Store and Google Play.

If an entire day is cancelled or delayed, information will be posted on the Service Alert channels posted above, as well as Announcements on the City of Nanaimo homepage and posts on our Facebook page and Twitter feed.

questions and answersCancelled Garbage Collection FAQs

My garbage cart is overflowing. What options do I have?

On your next scheduled garbage collection, you may place one extra bag of garbage out. Please ensure the extra bag weighs less than 50 pounds, and is spaced at least three feet (one metre) from your black and green carts. Residents with upsized black carts may place two bags (no more than 50 lbs each).

If you prefer to dispose of your garbage before your next scheduled garbage collection day, you may utilize the services of a private hauler, or self-haul your garbage to a disposal facility such as the Regional Landfill. Please contact the haulers and facilities for cost information.

Did you know a significant portion of waste heading to the landfill can actually be put into your recycling and organics carts? In addition to the vast environmental benefits, your garbage reduction efforts to help maintain low curbside utility fees, prolong the lifespan of the landfill, and employ workers in our local recycling and composting industries. 

Click here for a list of acceptable green cart organics.

I have an upsized garbage cart; can I set out more than one garbage bag?

Yes, if you have an upsized cart, you may set out up to two bags of garbage. Each bag should weigh under 50 lbs and be spaced three feet away from the black and green cart.

I’m worried leaving the extra garbage will attract animals such as raccoons. What about the mess they could make if they get into the garbage?

We understand and thank you for your concern with animals being attracted to your solid waste materials. Animal attractants are almost entirely food waste, and we ask all residents to fully utilize their green carts to minimize garbage production. If you are unsure of what can and cannot go into your green cart, please contact our Sort Toss Roll hotline by telephone at or call 250-756-5390.

What is being collected next week? Will there be an extra garbage collection next week to make up for the missed collections this week?

From today on our crews are following the regular scheduled pickups. Please follow your schedule as per your 2020 Curbside Collection Schedule.

Where is Curbside Collection Route 5?

Our routing goes south to north, generally flowing from Route 1 in the south end to Route 5 in the north end. You can check your route number by looking at the bottom right corner of your 2020 Curbside Collection Schedule, or by looking on your online calendar on the City of Nanaimo webpage and Nanaimo Recycles app.

What is my Route number?

Your Route number is posted on the bottom right hand corner of the mailed schedule.

Why can’t you switch to garbage collection from recycling collection next week?

We cannot revise the published 2020 Curbside Collection Schedules, and will be commencing recycling and organics collection next week as scheduled.

Why can’t you just make up for the missed collections?

Approximately 20,000 collections were missed between January 13 and 16 because snow and ice conditions made it unsafe for our collection trucks to be on the road. Making up for the missed collections is not a viable option.

We appreciate your understanding and patience as a result of this week’s cancellations.  As you may imagine, the winter weather and intense snowfall disrupted many routine services the City provides, most notably garbage collection. Many of the residential streets affected are the last to be plowed and the most difficult and unsafe for the passage of large trucks.

We used to have all-in-one collection days where garbage, recycling and organics were picked up on the same day once per year. Why can’t we do the same for the collections missed this week?

We can only collect two types of materials during a collection period, as there are two compartments in our curbside trucks. Recycling and garbage cannot be collected at the same time. 

In order to collect all three materials at the same time, our Sanitation unit would require a significant increase in fleet, labour and other associated resources, causing much higher annual curbside utility fees to prepare for events that occur once a year or less.

My garbage bin is overflowing. What options do I have?

Please fill your garbage cart and make sure the lid can fully close. Excess garbage can be put into a garbage bag to prepare for the extra allowable bag on your next garbage collection day.

If you are in areas with lots of wildlife, it may help to secure the extra bag in one of your old curbside bins, a garage, or another secure location.

Most animal attractants are food waste, and we ask all residents to fully utilize their green carts to minimize garbage production. If you are unsure of what can and cannot go into your green cart, please contact our Sort Toss Roll hotline by telephone at or call 250-756-5390.

If the odorous waste is not food waste or organics, we recommend putting the smelly garbage waste into your cart, then putting the non-smelly garbage into the extra garbage bag.

Can I put my extra garbage into my old garbage bin?

On the day we’re picking up your extra garbage bag, our entire fleet of trucks and crew will be deployed, and a second worker will accompany each truck and driver. Once the truck lifts and empties your garbage cart, the worker will put the extra garbage bag into the garbage cart to be lifted and emptied a second time. You can use your old garbage can to store the garbage until your collection day, but we ask that you set the extra bag out without the bin to make the process as efficient as possible. It’s very likely our crews will be working overtime to collect the additional garbage, and by following the above requests you can help ensure we collect your and your neighbours’ garbage without undue delay.

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