Frequently Asked Questions

Why should I participate in the program?

Residents will find using their green bin an easy way to send much less garbage to the landfill, turn food waste into a renewable resource and help reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Food waste collection enhances home composting and complements recycling, providing a service that enables households to divert 90 per cent of their waste for processing into new products.

By using their Green Bin to collect and put out food waste at the curbside, households will:

  • Reduce the Municipality's dependence on landfill disposal, help ensure the landfill can keep working for residents for years to come;
  • Take action on climate change by keeping methane-causing organic waste out of      the landfill;

Be a part of a local, sustainable solution to waste management. A landfill has a limited lifespan, while a composting facility can continue to process our food and other organic waste indefinitely and create finished compost - a beneficial , renewable resource.

How much waste is diverted from the landfill through the organics program?

By providing North Cowichan households with organics collection, even more material is being prevented from being transported to and stored indefinitely in a landfill.  According to the following graph, organics account for approximately 31% of all household waste (the largest proportion of our waste stream). Composting allows us to separate these organics and return their nutrients to the soil instead of sequestering their value in garbage that ends up in a landfill.

2004 Regional District of Nanaimo Waste Composition Study

How do I get an organics bin?

These bins are currently available at Home Depot and Canadian Tire.

What can I use to line my organics bin?

100% compostable bin liners, paper towel or newspaper can all be used to line your organics bin.  Do not use biodegradable bags or liners as they do not degrade when they are put through the composting process. If you are unsure look for these certifications when you are purchasing organic bags: 

Why are my organics and garbage picked up by the same truck?

Garbage and organics are collected by a split packer truck. Although it may appear that these items are being mixed together after you spent time separating them, the materials are completely separated and do not get mixed with each other. Split packer vehicles collect both refuse and organics in the same truck, but in different compartments.  Garbage and organics are kept separate, compressed and emptied at different locations.  These trucks are split this way to make the collection more efficient instead of having one designated truck for each material type.

What about Backyard Compsting?

We encourage residents to compost in thier backyard, but please do so in a manner that limits rodent/ pest activity. Backyard composting can provide your household with a nutrient rich soil source for your garden.  Our curbside collection program for organics accepts some additional kitchen waste items that is not suitable for backyard composting (eg. meat and bones).