Project Information

    What is the CVRD?

    The Cowichan Valley Regional District (CVRD) is one of 27 regional districts in British Columbia. It is comprised of nine electoral areas, four municipalities, and ten First Nations  in the southern part of Vancouver Island. The CVRD has a population of over 90,000 residents, which is expected to grow to over 100,000 by 2040.

    What is a Solid Waste Management Plan?

    The province requires that each Regional District create a Solid Waste Management Plan (SWMP) to guide recycling and waste management in the region for the next 20-30 years. The CVRD’s most recent SWMP was approved in 2020, with 13 Zero Waste strategies to reduce landfill disposal between now and 2030.

    What is Zero Waste?

    Zero Waste means moving toward a circular economy, where reusable material is recovered or repurposed. A three-stream curbside collection service is one important step towards recovering reusable materials as it will remove organic material from the garbage stream.

    What is Three-Stream Curbside Collection?

    Three-stream curbside collection service includes the collection of organics (e.g., food and/or yard waste), recycling and garbage. Three-stream curbside collection is already provided in all four of the CVRD’s member municipalities (collection is provided by those municipalities) and one of the First Nations’ communities (collection is provided by the Nation). Meanwhile, curbside collection services offered to residents living in CVRD Electoral Areas vary widely – everyone has access to curbside recycling but only some have access to curbside garbage and organics collection. 

    In 2018 during the engagement process to update the Solid Waste Management Plan, residents indicated that equitable access to three-stream curbside collection was a priority. 


    What is the difference between Food Waste collection and Food and Yard Waste collection?

    Food Waste only collection and Food and Yard Waste collection require two different processes and take different timelines to successfully compost.

    If residents choose Food Waste only collection, that will mean that they cannot add yard or garden material to their curbside organics tote.  Food Waste includes things like cooked food, inedible parts of fruit and vegetables, meat and fish bones, coffee grinds and tea bags, bread, eggshells, food-soiled paper products like pizza boxes and napkins, etc. If residents choose Food and Yard Waste in the collection program, then garden material, grass clippings, small branches, weeds, and some unwanted plants such as English Ivy and Morning Glory can be put in their curbside organics tote. 

Benefits and Impacts from Three-Stream Curbside Collection Service

    How will I benefit from the Three-Stream Curbside Collection service?

    Three-stream curbside collection will mean that all residents in single-family dwellings across the CVRD will have the same access to curbside recycling, garbage, and organics collection services. With this service, CVRD Electoral Area residents will, at a minimum, have access to organics, recycling and garbage collection at the curb. Having access to convenient collection is helpful for residents when trying to reduce waste disposal and is especially important for residents with limited access to garbage and organics drop-off facilities.

    I generate very little garbage; do I need this service?

    It is important that everyone has equitable access to three-stream curbside collection.  Providing garbage pickup to all eligible Electoral Area residents will help keep the organics and recycling collection totes free from incompatible materials (e.g., contamination). Reducing contamination decreases waste and helps the CVRD meet contract agreements with organics and recycling processors.

    What if I already compost at home?

    We understand that our community has diverse waste management needs and that some residents compost at home. However, certain organic items (such as meat, fish, poultry, bones and dairy) are unsuitable for backyard composting and must, unfortunately, be disposed of in the garbage. Introducing a curbside organic collection service is an important measure of reducing landfill waste, as 33% of our region's waste contains organic material.

    How will Wildlife be Impacted by the Three-Stream Curbside Service?

    The three-stream curbside service will be implemented based on best practices for wildlife-safe waste management as set out by WildSafeBC. The CVRD has been working closely with WildSafeBC and Provincial Conservation Officers over the past five years to ensure that curbside recycling and garbage, as well as other attractants like fruit trees, backyard composters, and backyard chickens, are managed in a wild-safe manner. To reduce wildlife conflicts, the CVRD will be collecting curbside organics weekly, and totes will be equipped with mechanics to try to keep wildlife safe.

    It is important to note that there is no such thing as a “bear-proof” tote. A hungry bear will do whatever it takes to reach a desirable meal and no tote has been found to prevent determined wildlife from breaking into it. We have also seen that curbside recyclables can attract wildlife as well, so it is still important that all residents secure attractants to prevent human-wildlife conflicts. For more information and tips on wild-safe waste management visit the CVRD's Bear Aware webpage. For even more tips on how to manage attractants visit WildSafeBC's tips for a Wild Safe Yard webpage.

    I have long driveway – how will the service impact me?

    Changing the curbside service will mean an adjustment period for everyone. Similar to 2013, when the CVRD went from a manual curbside pick-up service to an automated pick up with new wheeled totes, residents and service providers had to form new habits. Electoral Area residents are already using the wheeled totes for automated curbside pick-up of recycling and some Electoral Areas have this program for garbage. Under the new service, residents that don’t already have a wheeled garbage tote will get one, and everyone will get a wheeled organics tote. Some creative solutions for long driveways are offered in this video by the Nanaimo Regional District.

Community Feedback and Implementation

    Is Three-Stream Curbside Collection an optional service?

    The service will be mandatory for all single-family Electoral Area homes under the CVRD’s curbside collection bylaw. Requiring that all eligible homes receive the same service ensures that costs for the service are evenly distributed throughout the district.  

    I live in a multi-family building that does not currently receive curbside collection from the CVRD. Will my home be included in the new service?

    The three-stream program is focused on Electoral Area residences that already receive curbside collection. However, Strategy 2 of the Solid Waste Management Plan identifies that reducing disposal rates from multi-family residential homes by requiring separation of garbage, recycling, and organics is a high priority. The CVRD will work with other jurisdictions in the future to make sure that all multi-family residents have access to a service like the three-stream collection program.

    What are the Three-Stream Curbside service options?

    The CVRD has identified two options for three-stream curbside collection service. These options incorporate what we learned in Phase 1 of the community engagement and aligns with requirements from the 2018 Solid Waste Management PlanProvincial best management practices for curbside collection of organics, and lessons learned from other regional districts and municipalities that have a three-stream curbside collection service. 

    The options presented will make curbside pickup equitable across the region. 

    What are the benefits to adding yard waste and glass to curbside collection?

    We heard from residents in Phase 1 of the community engagement process that there is a desire for a program with expanded material acceptance. Adding curbside yard waste and glass collection would reduce the number of trips that residents make to CVRD Recycling Centres, which in turn will decrease wait-times on-site. 

    Adding yard and garden material to food waste collection can reduce the “yuck” factor by absorbing odours associated with organic materials. Including yard waste in the program would also help reduce backyard burning and improve local air quality.  

    Will more recyclable materials be added to the curbside collection program in the future?

    The CVRD operates three conveniently located Recycling Centres for the responsible collection, management, and shipping of more than 650 recyclable materials. In addition to requiring specialized equipment to collect more material at the curbside, expanding curbside collection in addition to organics and garbage collection is outside of the scope of the current Solid Waste Management Plan.

    Who will provide the three-stream curbside collection service?

    The CVRD recognizes that a variety of private waste collection services and programs are available to service the region. We are committed to continuing to explore these services to ensure that the final curbside collection model reflects the needs of the community.

    How can I share my preferred option for Three-Stream Curbside Collection?

    We want to hear from our community, and any other residents or organizations who are interested in or affected by the curbside collection program. We are seeking your feedback to help the CVRD identify which of the two proposed service options is preferred for curbside collection. Provide your input between April 24– May 19 in the following ways:

    We want to ensure that Cowichan Valley residents and interested and affected parties have the information they need to participate and share their feedback.  Now is the time to connect, learn more and engage so that the CVRD can continue to advance this project with the community's voice as a key part of the decision-making process.

    What are the next steps?

    When the Phase 2 community engagement process has been completed and all feedback has been received in the summer of 2023, a final engagement summary report will be prepared and available on the CVRD website.  Based on community engagement findings, coupled with the financial review, the preferred service options will be presented to the CVRD Board for approval in the fall of 2023. The implementation of the new curbside collection program is anticipated in 2025.