Recycling in North Cowichan is collected by a contractor. Questions and concerns about recycling collection should be directed to Waste Connections at 250-715-0955.

Recycling is a mandatory program as garbage collection may be refused should it contain recyclable material. Your recycling may also be rejected at the curbside if your bins include non-acceptable items.

Non-acceptable items can contaminate the recycling stream, and make it harder and more costly for the recycling program to be successful. Currently, North Cowichan’s contamination rate is above the required 3% set out by Recycle BC, which means we have some work to do to improve as a community!

Curbside Recycling Guide

Download the Municipality of North Cowichan's curbside recycling guide here [PDF - 1 MB]

Tips for Sorting Recyclables

What can be recycled curbside?

Items that can go in your recycling for curbside collection include:

Paper: clean and dry paper only

Containers: empty and rinse containers

Depot Items:

Flexible Plastics: empty bags and remove non-plastic items

Glass: empty and rinse containers

Foam Packaging:

Common Recycling Mistakes

Items that are currently being found in curbside bins that should instead be recycled at a depot such as Bings Creek Solid Waste Management Complex are:

  • Film plastics (ie: plastic bags or plastic wrappers)
  • Foam packaging
  • Glass
  • Electronics 
  • Scrap metal
  • Construction and renovation waste

Common items that are currently being found in curbside bins that should instead go to other streams are:

  • Food/yard waste – compost using green bin
  • Hard and soft cover books – donate to a second-hand store or dispose of in garbage.
  • Clothing - donate to a second-hand store or dispose of in garbage


Use the following tools to learn what can and cannot be recycled curbside:

  • MNC Curbside App: Quickly and easily learn where your items belong by downloading the "MNC Curbside" app (for Android and iPhones, available through the Apple Store or Google Play) and using the Waste Wizard sorting tool which allows you to quick search specific items and gives you details on where and how to dispose of items if they don’t belong curbside for recycling.
  • Waste Wizard online: The Waste Wizard tool is also available for desktop users at the top of the Curbside Collection webpage.

Common questions

Why is glass not collected in the curbside recycling program?

Glass can easily break during collection. When broken glass mixes with paper and other containers it becomes difficult to properly recycle these materials, meaning that less glass—and less of the other material—is recycled. Broken glass is also a safety hazard. Glass can be disposed of at Bings Creek Solid Waste Management Complex (3900 Drinkwater Road, Duncan).

What do I do with soft plastics, plastic bags and film plastics?

Plastic bags and film plastics (such as overwrap) are accepted at Island Return-It Bottle Depots, Bing’s Creek, and Peerless Road Recycling depots at no cost:

Additionally, some grocery stores accept single use grocery bags for recycling at no cost. Please make sure that the bags are clean before taking them to be recycled.

Where can I dispose of old appliances, paint, etc.?

Any paint cans, whether full, half-full, or empty can be dropped off at a local recycling depot, along with items such as old appliances or computers. If appliances or electronic devices are in good working order please consider donating to a reuse centre, like the Salvation Army.

What type of container can I use for my recyclables?

North Cowichan does not supply containers for recycling. Recycle containers need to be clearly labelled to avoid confusion. Municipal Hall has yellow recycling stickers for containers free of charge and yellow bags for $2.00 each. Acceptable recycle containers must:

  • have a removable lid with two handles
  • be designed to be manually lifted (no commercial totes/carts);
  • have capacity no greater than 120 litres (30 US Gal);
  • not to exceed 20 kgs or 44 lbs (including contents) when placed at the curb for collection.

Is there a limit on recyclable material I can put out?

There is no limit on the amount of recyclable materials you can put out on your collection day; however, each container should be no more than 120 L (30 US gallons) in size so the collection contractor can easily lift the materials into the truck. Some other jurisdictions allow much larger bins (up to 240L) as their recycling trucks are equipped with hydraulic arms that can lift these heavier recycling containers. North Cowichan's recycling contractor trucks are not equipped with these arms, so recycling containers must be lifted by hand, necessitating smaller bins.

Why is my recycling day different from my neighbours’?

The recycling routes are not the same as the garbage pickup zones. Your recycling day is identified by your colour zone and whether it is an “A” zone, or a “B” zone. Your neighbours’ may differ from yours, as they may be in the opposite “A” or “B” zone. Recycling is collected on an alternating cycle; normally every two weeks. Download the "MNC Curbside" app from the App Store or Google Play store to receive reminders sent to you before your collection day.

Does North Cowichan coordinate the commercial collection of Recycling?

No, all apartment, strata, business, and institutional complexes within the municipality must arrange their own recycling services. Buildings may either self-haul recyclables to drop-off depot locations or utilise the services of a private waste hauler.