Curbside Collection Program Overview


Curbside Collection Service

The RDN curbside collection service is provided to residential single-family dwellings in RDN electoral areas, the District of Lantzville, Snaw-Naw-As First Nation, the City of Parksville and the Town of Qualicum Beach. The RDN does not service households within the City of Nanaimo, and region-wide does not service apartments, condos or commercial businesses.

Curbside Collection

Sign up for updates to follow along with the Curbside Expanded Organics Program at

Collection Schedule

Recycling Carts and Garbage Carts are collected every two weeks, on an alternating cycle. Organics (Food Waste) Carts are collected every week. The collection day will bump ahead for every statutory holiday.


Sign Up for Weekly Collection Reminders and Service Alerts

Residents receiving RDN curbside collection services are encouraged to sign up for weekly collection reminders and service alerts by email, phone call, or the “RDN Curbside” smartphone app.

Option 1: Email or phone call reminders
  • Enter your address into the calendar search form (above) and press search
  • Select “Get a reminder!”
  • Pick the type of reminder you would like to receive
  • Follow the prompts on the screen to complete the sign-up
Option 2: “RDN Curbside” smartphone app

Remember to allow app notifications in your device's app permission settings.

Curbside Collection in Winter Weather

During severe winter weather, every effort is made to collect the curbside materials. Please ensure your carts are at the curb for the entire 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. collection window.

If your side of the street was not collected by 6 p.m. on your scheduled collection day due to unsafe winter weather conditions, you can confirm a service alert is active in your area by entering your address into the Calendar tool, above.

Safety with collection trucks and winter road conditions

Safety for workers and our community is the top priority for the RDN and our curbside contractor.

Snow and ice pose a very high safety risk, with each collection vehicle making 700 stops per day and needing up to five times the stopping distance in winter conditions compared to a passenger vehicle on dry roads.

Stopping distances for vehicles in winter road conditions

Road maintenance responsibilities

Please note that the Regional District is not responsible for road maintenance (such as snow clearing). To contact the Ministry of Transportation or their contractor, please Click Here. Roads and streets within municipalities are maintained by municipal crews.

Cart set-out in snowy conditions
  • Please have your carts out from 8 a.m. until 6 p.m. on collection day.
  • Keep carts off the travelled portion of the roadway so as not to interfere with snowplows - do not place carts in a location where the snowplow will hit them.
  • Keep carts 1m (3 feet) apart from each other and other obstacles to make enough room for automated collection.
  • Clear your cart of snow and ice to ensure the lid opens when the cart is tipped.
  • Place carts in an area clear of snow around them. Do not place carts behind or on top of snowbanks.
Cart set-out in windy conditions

Cart set-out tips:

  • Keep lids fully shut to reduce the risk of blown litter on curbs.
  • Place carts at the curb between 5 and 8 a.m. on your collection day. Do not set carts out the night before.
  • Put heavier items on the bottom of the cart to keep a low centre of gravity. Put lighter items on top, but set one bulkier piece of cardboard at the very top in case the lid flies open.

If you can wait until the next collection day or easily access a depot for drop-off, consider not setting out your recycling cart on extremely windy days.

Email curbside [at] to have warranty-complaint stickers mailed out to you. Do not permanently mark or label your cart.

2024 Curbside Collection Calendars

Options to get your 2024 curbside collection calendar

1) Enter your address into the calendar tool above, then click:

  • Option A) The link in the advisory message to get a copy for download or print (8.5x11 PDF).
  • Option B) 'Get a calendar' to print or add to your calendar application.
  • Option C) 'Get a reminder' to sign up for weekly phone call and/or email reminders.

2) Through the RDN Curbside app:

Calendar PDF files for download or print

It is recommended to type your address into the calendar tool, above, to get the direct link to the route your address is assigned to.

Expanded Organics Program

As of March 1, 2023, you can top up your green-lidded 100-litre organics cart with leaves, grass and light yard trimmings!

Guidelines for using your green-lidded organics cart

When setting your organics cart out at the curb for pick-up, please leave the lid in the unlocked position if the cart:

  • Is more than 75% (3/4) full; or,
  • Only contains yard waste.

Please leave the lid locked when the organics cart is not set out for collection unless you have it stored in a garage, shed or other secure location. Thank you for doing your part to keep bears and other wildlife safe.

Continue to follow the standard RDN curbside cart set-out guidelines:

  • Roll your carts out between 5-8 am on your scheduled collection day.
  • Place your carts as close to the roadway as possible, without blocking traffic sidewalks, and bike lanes.
  • Leave at least 1 meter (3 feet) of clearance between the carts and any obstacles, such as parked cars, poles, fire hydrants, etc.
  • Leave 3 meters of clearance above the carts.
  • All material must be placed in the cart with the lid completely closed.
  • Make sure the arrows on the cart lid are pointing toward the street.
Accepted types of yard waste - leaves, grass and light trimmings

Leaves, grass, and light trimmings are accepted. Light trimmings include prunings, hedge clippings, flowers, weeds, and stems and branches.

The size restrictions for light trimmings and other yard waste are:

  • No larger than 1.5 cm (0.5 inches) in diameter; and,
  • No longer than 60 cm (2 feet) in length.

Continue to compost food scraps and food-soiled paper in your organics cart, including:

  • Kitchen scraps 
  • Flowers 
  • Food-soiled paper towel
  • Food-soiled paper take-out packaging
    • Do not compost paper packaging that has a shiny coating or liner. These should be rinsed and recycled (blue-lidded cart).
Not accepted as yard waste
  • All items larger than 1.5 cm (0.5 inches) in diameter and/or longer than 60 cm (2 feet) in length.
  • Soil, rods and sod.
    • Please shake plant roots to remove soil before placing them in your cart.
  • Sawdust or garage/shop sweepings
  • Lumber, construction or renovation waste
  • Pet waste, including cat litter

The following invasive plants are not accepted in the organics cart:

  • Giant Hogweed (Heracleum mantegazzianum)
  • Invasive Knotweeds (Fallopia x / Polygonum polystachum)
  • Garlic Mustard (Alliaria petiolata)
  • Spotted Knapweed (Centaurea maculosa)
  • Wild Chervil (Anthriscus sylvestris)
  • Poison Hemlock (Conium maculatum (T)
  • Gorse* (Ulex europaeus) 
  • Daphne/Spurge-Laurel* (Daphne laureola)

Find out more on the expanded curbside organics program at

The Basics of the RDN Curbside Collection Program

Missed collection

The RDN's collection day window is from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 P.M. Please leave your carts out until 6:00 p.m. on your scheduled collection day before reporting a missed collection.

If just your cart(s) were missed, but the neighbours to either side of you were emptied, you can report a missed collection by calling the RDN's contractor, Waste Connections of Canada, at 250-248-8109 or by email to CustomerService7312 [at]

If your neighbourhood or entire route is missed due to winter weather, notices will be sent out through the RDN Curbside collection reminder and service alert notification system. Enter your address into the calendar tool (near the top of the page) to check for winter weather advisories, service alerts, and to sign up for email or phone call notifications.

Cart exchanges, reporting damaged & missing carts

Go to our Curbside Collection Online Portal to submit a cart exchange request, report a missing or damaged cart, and find out more information on cart exchange options.

Who receives curbside collection services from the RDN?

The RDN curbside collection service is provided to all RDN residential single-family dwellings in the following communities: 

Area A - Cedar, South Wellington, Yellowpoint, Cassidy Area B - Gabriola Island Area C - Extension, Nanaimo Lakes, East Wellington, Pleasant Valley


Single-family dwellings within the City of Nanaimo receive curbside collection service from the municipality, and not the RDN.

RDN does not provide service to apartments and condos, industrial, commercial, or institutional properties. Bare land strata and townhouse developments may apply to receive RDN curbside collection service, provided they can be safely, legally, and efficiently serviced.

  • Area E - Nanoose Bay
  • Area F - Coombs, Hilliers, Errington, Whiskey Creek, Meadowood
  • Area G - Englishman River, San Pareil, French Creek, Little Qualicum, Dashwood
  • Area H - Bowser, Qualicum Bay, Deep Bay
  • District of Lantzville
  • City of Parksville
  • Town of Qualicum Beach
  • Snaw-Naw-As First Nation
Starting or discontinuing RDN curbside collection service

The RDN's curbside collection service is mandatory for all eligible single-family dwellings, secondary suites, duplexes, triplexes, fourplexes, and manufactured homes within the service area, per RDN Bylaw 1802

Bare land strata and townhouse developments may apply to receive RDN curbside collection service, provided they can be safely, legally, and efficiently serviced.

RDN does not provide service to apartments and condos, industrial, commercial, or institutional properties.

How to use your carts

By 8 a.m. on your scheduled collection day:

  • Space your carts 1m (3ft) apart
  • Check that there is enough clearance – 3m (10ft) above, and 1m to the side – away from nearby obstacles like parked cars, fences and power poles and lines
  • Face carts so that the arrows on the lid point to the street
  • Ensure the lids are closed

To provide service to your route safely and on time, carts that do not meet these placement guidelines may not be collected.

Using the Lock on your Organics Cart

When setting your organics cart out at the curb for pick-up, please leave the lid in the unlocked position if the cart:

  • Is more than 75% (3/4) full; or,
  • Only contains yard waste.

Please leave the lid locked when the organics cart is not set out for collection unless you have it stored in a garage, shed or other secure location. Thank you for doing your part to keep bears and other wildlife safe.

Thank you for staying safe and being a kind neighbour:

  • Avoid setting your carts out on sidewalks and bike lanes
  • Be bear aware – do not set carts out the night before your collection day
  • Stay 10m (30ft) away from carts and the automated truck when it is operating

This short video illustrates how the carts are to be used.

Cart Types: Garbage, Recycling & Organics

Each RDN residential single-family home will have three-wheeled carts:

  • Recycling cart (blue lid)
  • Organics cart (green lid) with a gravity lock
  • Garbage Cart (black lid)

You can select the sizes of Recycling Carts and Garbage Carts that best suit your household's needs. The annual utility fee is based on the size of the Garbage Cart. There is one standard size available for the Organics (Food Waste) cart. 

Allowable Cart Sizes

You can find out more about cart exchange options and request smaller or larger Recycling and Garbage Carts through our Curbside Collection Online Portal.

Bear-resistant carts are available for purchase for residents living in bear-frequented areas. Please visit for more information.

What Goes Where

For quick reference on which items go in which cart, please refer to the Curbside Collection Sorting Guide.

Restricted Waste - Not Accepted in any of the curbside collection carts:

  • Oversize items exceeding two feet in any dimension
  • Highly flammable materials, hazardous waste, containers of liquids such as cooking oil or motor oil
  • Products such as batteries, paint, pesticides, and electronic equipment collected at depots
  • Construction or renovation waste

 Unsure of where an item should go? Use the What Goes Where lookup tool to search hundreds of items.

COVID-19 and curbside collection

Please visit for more information.

To protect collection and facility workers, please continue to bag and dispose of the following items in your garbage cart:

  • Tissues/Kleenex
  • Single-use face masks
  • Disposable gloves
  • Sanitary wipes (even those labelled flushable/compostable)
Tips for automated collection carts
  • Place only acceptable materials in the carts. If you are uncertain about an item, use the "What Goes Where" feature on the RDN Curbside app or RDN website.
  • Place items loosely in the cart, forcing items in makes it hard for the collection truck to empty the cart.
  • Close the lid before moving the carts.
  • Do not sit, climb or stand on the carts. Children should not play in or around the carts.
  • Do not place or store carts on elevated platforms, including snowbanks and avoid placing carts on a steep slope.
  • During snow events, pulling the cart behind you over the snow will be easier than pushing the cart ahead of you.
Cart serial numbers

All carts are identical, having the address on the carts will make it easy for you and your neighbour(s) to distinguish the carts. A unique serial number is stamped on the front of each cart. These numbers will identify your carts if they are lost.

DO NOT write your address directly onto the cart as this will void the warranty with the manufacturer.

If you find a cart that does not belong to your property, please call Waste Connections at 250-248-8109.

If your cart is damaged or missing, please report it on the Curbside Collection Online Portal or email curbside [at]

Cart attachments for long and/or steep driveways

This short video profiles several cart attachments available on the market that can be affixed to vehicles (car, truck, ATV, lawn tractor, etc.) to allow residents to easily tow the carts.

If you are interested in learning more about the cart attachments, please contact curbside [at]