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Update: Plastic Bags No Longer Accepted at RDCK Depots

The RDCK’s current recycling service provider, Waste Management, has recently announced that it can no longer accept plastic bags and films for recycling in the co-mingled ‘green bins’ at RDCK recycling depots.

Many bins have already been affixed with signs communicating this new policy. Plastic bags have always been difficult to sort out of mixed recyclables and are easily contaminated by other items commonly found in recycling bins. Changes in recycling markets have now made accepting bags uneconomical and unfeasible to collect mixed with other materials.

This new policy for bags extends to the commonly used ‘blue bags’ that many residents use to bring their recycling to the depot. Everyone should empty their recyclables into the bins loose so materials can be sorted more easily.

Fortunately for RDCK residents this change will be temporary – new expanded depot recycling service is set to begin in spring 2020. At that time RDCK recycling depots will launch under the Recycle BC program, the same program that operates curbside collection of recycling in Nelson, Castlegar, Nakusp, Kaslo and parts of Electoral Areas H, I and J.  The new depot program will accept all materials that are collected at the curb plus plastic bags, Styrofoam and glass. These materials will be collected in separate streams, sorted on site to reduce contamination and ensure their collection remains sustainable. Stay tuned for more updates about this transition in the coming months!

Recycling in the RDCK

Did you know that up to 60% of your household waste can be diverted from entering landfills just by recycling and composting? Recycling programs are available to all residents in the Regional District of Central Kootenay for materials such as glass food & beverage containers, tin & aluminum cans, newspaper, cardboard, plastic containers and mixed paper.

Putting your household waste on a "Waste Reduction Diet" involves the 5 "R" approach:

  • Reducing your consumption of resources
  • Reusing your resources
  • Returning your resources and
  • Recycling
  • Recovering 

Visit our composting page for information on how you can produce valuable material from your household organic waste.

For more information on Recycling please call: Recycling Council of British Columbia toll free at 1-800-667-4321 OR visit their website at

How does the RDCK divert waste?

Recycling doesn’t end at your local depot. Your Regional District is committed to finding more opportunities to divert waste from entering the landfill.  When you visit a local landfill or transfer station you will soon discover that we too recycle and compost! All our facilities are sort-sites, meaning that if a material can be recovered or recycled we make sure that it is separated and recycled or re-used.

The benefits of recycling are endless!

  • Reduces unnecessary waste
  • Reduces consumption of resources
  • Reduces your disposal costs
  • Reduces landfilling costs and extends landfill life
  • Recovers non-renewable resources

Zero Waste

The Regional District of Central Kootenay Board has directed staff to incorporate Zero Waste and Zero Pollution as long terms goals in the RDCK's Resource Recovery Plan.  A Zero Waste and Zero Pollution philosophy is the foundation of the Resource Recovery Plan and guides all of our future actions and policies.

What is Zero Waste?

Zero Waste means many things but one thing is common, Zero Waste promotes a future without the need for landfills. Zero Waste is a goal that is both pragmatic and visionary. It is intended to encourage people to think more about a circular flow for materials rather than a linear one. With this mindset in place, all discarded materials are considered to be resources that still have use. Zero Waste means designing and managing products and processes to reduce the volume and toxicity of waste and materials, and to conserve and recover everything. Implementing Zero Waste will eliminate all negative discharges to land, water or air that may be a threat to human or environmental health. Achieving Zero Waste will require everyone's support and participation.

Our Achievements

50% Target Met - In 1998 the Regional District of Central Kootenay successfully reduced the volume of residual waste heading to landfill by 50% compared with 1990's figures. Only a small handful of regional districts managed to meet that target. We were one of them.

Reuse Centres - The majority of our waste handling facilities have "Reuse" centres on site. These centres offer a location where residents may place household items that still have use (e.g. small appliances, home decorations, certain kids toys, books, etc.).  The Mixed Waste fee applies to drop of items.

NOTE:  Child and infant/child car seats are not accepted at Reuse Centres.  Furniture is not accepted due to limited space.

Localized Glass Recovery - Glass bottles collected at our recycling facilities are crushed and used as road building material.  This represents an excellent way to reuse an otherwise difficult to manage material.

Resource Recovery Plan (RRP) - We have selected "Zero Waste" as an end goal for the RRP. As part of the Plan will be focussing on source reduction as a way of decreasing the amount of residual waste being landfilled. This will require a total shift of mindset in all of our residents and in all of our communities.

Community Partnerships - The RDCK values our many community partners who assist with our ongoing efforts to eliminate the concept of "waste". Some of our partner organizations include Salmo Community Services, the Nelson Food Coalition, Earth Matters, the Nelson Leafs Bottle Depot, the Kaslo Jazz Fest, and the Nelson Eco Society.

Final Cover Composting Project - All garden/yard waste and discarded wood product is mulched and composted on site at a number of our waste handling facilities.  This material is then used as final cover at our landfills, thus eliminating the need to import material from elsewhere. 

Local Media - Waste reduction adverts have been regularly appearing in local newspapers as well as broadcasting on local air waves in an effort to spread the word about Zero Waste and waste reduction initiatives. 

The content on this page was last updated March 31 2020 at 8:00 AM