To ensure your Blue Bag recycling is picked up, residents should note the following guidelines:
- Blue Bags must not weigh more than 20kgs (44lbs)
- Blue Bags must not be larger than 66cm X 97cm (26" X 38")
- Recycling bags must be transparent.
- Only permitted recycling items are allowed. For a complete list, click here.
- Blue bags cannot contain any glass, styrofoam or plastic bags and other soft plastics (eg. plastic food wrapping or small grocery bags).
**Plastic shopping bags may display a recycle symbol, but they are not permiited to be recycled as part of our Blue Bag recycling program. Due to the flimsy nature of the soft plastics, they often detoriate in the blue bag during transport, which basically means they cannot be recycled once they reach processing. Please take your soft plastics to the RDCK depot for recycling.**
For a quick reference guide and tips on garbage and recycling information, please click here.
Why use the Blue Bag Recycling Program?
The Blue Bag program eliminates the need to separate most recyclables. Nelson residents can simply place their blue bags outside on collection day, in a location adjacent to where you put your garbage out for collection. A garbage sticker is NOT required.
Food-grade rigid plastics displaying the # 1, 2,3, 4, 5 or 7 will be accepted.
#6 is NOT accepted. Eg. Foam Packaging such as take-out containers or meat trays.
- Such as shipping boxes, grocery and liquor store boxes, pizza boxes.
- Flatten large corrugated boxes and cut down to no larger than 30” wide (78 cm) X 30” tall (78 cm); staples and tape are OK.
- Cardboard must be flattened and placed in a transparent recycling bag.
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 30-by-30 inches or 78-by-78 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, 3, 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 do I do with items that are 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 at this time.
- Plastic Film/Bags - Grocery bags and soft plastics can be deposited at some local retailers such as Save-On Foods or Walmart and the RDCK Depots.
- Juice Cartons (Tetrapaks) - Take these to the bottle depot for refund.
- Organics - If possible, please compost.
If you have any questions please call the City of Nelson at 352-8238 or the BC Recycling hotline at 1-800-667-4321.
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.).
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
Where can I return my electronics?
For more information on where you can recycle electronics, visit the Nelson Leafs Depot.
Can I use any kind of bag to collect my recyclables?
Only transparent plastic bags will be accepted in the program.
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 transparent.
I live in Nelson. Do I need to put a special sticker on my blue bag like I have to with my garbage?
The City of Nelson employs 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 Grohman Transfer Station?
I live in a multi-residential dwelling. Can I still participate in a recycling program?
Yes, but it is the residents' responsibility to take their recycling to the appropriate recycling depot. Residents of Nelson are able to take their recyclables to the Grohman Transfer Station. However, residents who use the RDCK recycling depot must follow the guidelines set out by the RDCK.
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 time will be garbage and recycling be collected on the designated day?
Between 7:00 am and 3:00 pm.
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