Residents who receive regular residential household garbage pickup can also have their blue recycling bags picked up. There is no limit to the number of blue bags that can be put out for pick up, and they do NOT need an orange garbage tag.

To ensure your Blue Bag recycling is picked up, residents should follow the following guidelines:

  1. Blue Bags must not weigh more than 20kgs (44lbs)                                          
  2. Blue Bags must not be larger than 66cm X 97cm (26" X 38")
  3. Recycling bags must be clear and blue.
  4. Only permitted recycling items are allowed. For a complete list, click here.
  5. Blue bags cannot contain any glass.

If you have any questions please call the City of Nelson at 352-8238 or the BC Recycling hotline at 1-800-667-4321.

Garbage & Recycling Collection Schedule 2017 [PDF]

Residential Garbage & Recycling Pickup Map

The City of Nelson is a participant of Multi Material BC. Link to facts Sheet [PDF - 430 KB].

Frequently Asked Questions Regarding the Blue Bag Recycling Program

Why is the Blue Bag recycling program such a good thing?

The Blue Bag program eliminates the need to separate most recyclables and to drive them to local recycling depots. Nelson residents can simply place their blue bags outside on garbage day, in a location close to where garbage cans would normally be placed. No garbage sticker is required. Central sub-region residents can collect their acceptable items together in an appropriate clear blue bag, tie it tightly and bring it to a local recycling depot.

The Blue Bag program means that more areas will be able to recycle a larger variety of plastics. Most food-grade rigid plastics displaying the # 1, 2, 4, 5 or 7 will now be accepted. If you live out side of Nelson the RDCK has changed their Blue Bag policy  follow this link for details.

How do I know if I live in the Central sub-region?

Only those residents who live within the Nelson are included in the Blue Bag program at this time. The Central sub-region includes the communities of Salmo, Ymir, Nelson, the North Shore, Balfour, Harrop-Procter, Ainsworth, Kaslo, Meadow Creek and those living within Electoral Areas D, E, F and G do not.

Why doesn't the entire Regional District receive the Blue Bag program?

The RDCK manages resource recovery according to three separate sub-regions, East, Central and West, each of which is governed by a separate regional board. For information on the RDCK's recycling policy follow this link.

What can I put in my blue bag?

The materials listed below can be put in the blue bag

  • Dry mixed paper (magazines, inserts, junk mail, paper bags, envelopes, paper egg cartons, phone books, catalogues, box board, cereal boxes, etc.)
  • Dry newspaper
  • Dry flattened cardboard (maximum size 24-by-36 inches or 61-by-91 cm)
  • Numbered rigid plastics. Look for the mobius loop on the container. The container must have that symbol if it is to be accepted. Most food-grade rigid plastics with #1, 2, 4, 5 and 7 are acceptable. These include toiletry and cleaning containers, margarine and yogurt containers, food and drink containers and plastic milk jugs
  • Metal food and beverage cans and containers.

Please empty, rinse and flatten (if possible) all containers and cans before including them in the blue bag. Remove paper labels when possible and include as mixed paper. Always ensure that the blue bag is securely tied or fastened shut.

What can be recycled in the City of Nelson's Blue Bag Program

What can I not put in my blue bag?

The materials listed below cannot be put in the blue bag at this time

  • Styrofoam
  • Plastic film and plastic bags
  • Glass
  • Organic material
  • Products and materials covered under existing product stewardship programs, such as computer equipment, televisions, paint, used motor oil, tires and tetrapak dairy cartons

What do I do with glass?

In order to protect the health and safety of those who will be collecting and sorting blue bags, glass will not be accepted in the program. It will be the responsibility of residents to bring their glass (food and beverage containers only, please) to their closest recycling depot. You do not need to bag your glass. Each depot will have an igloo on site intended for loose glass containers.

Only food and beverage glass containers can be recycled at recycling depots. Window glass, dinnerware, eyeglasses, light bulbs, fish tanks, tabletops, vases, knick-knacks and flowerpots are not accepted.

Glass containers that have a deposit on them should be returned to the appropriate end point for refund (bottle depot, participating grocery store, BC Government Liquor Store, etc.).

What do I do with items not accepted in the Blue Bag program?

  • Glass - RDCK recycling depots have bins on site to accept glass for recycling
  • Styrofoam - There is no recycling option for Styrofoam
  • Plastic Film - Some grocery stores accept plastic grocery bags for recycling
  • Milk/Juice Cartons (Tetrapaks) - Take these to your closest participating bottle depot
  • Organics - Put these in your backyard compost pile

For more information on options for recycling items not covered by the Blue Bag program, contact the BC Recycling Hotline at 1-800-667-4321.

Where do I recycle my CFL's (Compact Fluorescent Lights)?

Nelson Hydro customers can recycle their used CFL's at the following recycling depot locations in Nelson.

  • Home Hardware Building Centre, 101 McDonald Drive
  • Hipperson Hardware, 395 Baker Street.

For more information view the LightRecycle FAQ [PDF - 358 KB]

Can I use any kind of bag to collect my recyclables?

Only clear, blue plastic bags will be accepted in the program. If you live outside of Nelson, blue bags must be no larger than 30-by-36 inches (76-by-91 cm). If you live within Nelson city limits, blue bags may not exceed 26-by-38 inches (66-by-97 cm). Blue bags must be transparent and tinted blue. 

Where can I buy blue bags?

Blue bags are available at most stores that sell garbage bags. Check the box to ensure that the bags are clear and tinted blue and are also the right size.

I live in Nelson. What do I do with my recyclables once they are bagged?

Tie the bag tightly. Nelson residents have their blue bags picked up on the same day as garbage pickup (consult the City of Nelson Garbage Pickup Calendar at the top of this page). Blue bags that contain any contamination (i.e., items not accepted in the program) will be left behind. Residents are responsible to determine which materials are and are not acceptable. The variety of materials that are now accepted has expanded, so there are very few items that cannot be recycled 

How many blue bags can I generate per week?

There is no limit to the number of blue bags you may generate, so long as each bag does not exceed the maximum acceptable size and is clear blue.

I live in Nelson. Do I need to put a special sticker on my blue bag like I have to with my garbage?

The Regional District and the City of Nelson employ a user pay system for garbage pick up. There is no user fee attached to recyclables. “Tag-a-Bag” stickers are not required but blue bags must be securely tied or fastened shut.

I live in Nelson. Can I take my blue bag to the Nelson Transfer Station?

The RDCK has changed their policy please follow this link for details. 

I live outside of the City of Nelson in the Central sub-region. Where do I take my blue bagged materials?

The RDCK has started a new policy for recycling follow this link for details. 

What do I do with large quantities of cardboard?

Large quantities of cardboard or pieces larger than 24-by-36 inches (61-by-91 cm) should be kept outside of the blue bag. A large bin at your local recycling depot is available for this material.

I live in a multi-residential dwelling. Can I still participate in the Blue Bag program?

Yes, but it is the residents' responsibility to take their blue bags to the appropriate recycling depot. You might want to arrange with the property owner or manager to have an on-site collection system installed through a commercial hauler.

I live in the City of Nelson. How do I know if my dwelling will be included in the Blue Bag program curbside pickup service?

In general, if your dwelling already receives municipal garbage pickup from City of Nelson staff, you will be included in the Blue Bag program.

Can I put regular garbage into the bins at the recycling depots that are intended for blue bags?

No. This is considered illegal dumping. Residents caught dumping garbage into the blue bag recycling bins will be issued a fine.


What prevents people from putting garbage into blue bags?

Putting garbage in blue bags and including it into the recycling stream is also considered illegal dumping and is subject to a financial penalty. Nelson residents who include garbage in their blue bags will not have their blue bags picked up.

Where do my recyclables go after they are collected?

Blue bag materials are taken to Cranbrook for sorting and processing. Materials are then baled and sold to markets throughout BC, Alberta, the US, and even Asia.

What happens to the bag once all the items are emptied from it?

In Cranbrook, bags are torn open and emptied of their contents. Blue bags are then baled together to be recycled as well.

What happens when a Statutory Holiday falls on a day during a garbage and recycling collection week?

Normally the garbage and recycling will be picked up on the next regular work day, with the following exceptions for 2015:

Easter:  Friday, April 3rd – will be done on Thursday, April 2nd

Christmas:  Friday, December 25th – will be done on Thursday, December 24th

What time will be garbage and recycling be collected on the designated day?

Between 7:00 am and 3:00 pm.


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