Automated Collection FAQs


  1. When will the automated collection system begin?

    Automated collection of curbside carts will begin on the first collection day of January 2024. Sign up for reminders through the Courtenay Collects app.

  2. What is an automated waste collection system and how will the service change?

    Automated collection uses standardized wheeled carts for each residence and a collection vehicle with an automated arm that picks up the carts. Residential households within the program will be provided with three carts: one each for garbage, recycling and organics. Residents will wheel carts to the curb or collection point on collection day, and an automated truck will empty the contents.

    All waste will need to be contained inside the carts with the lids fully closed for collection. Similar to the current collection service, residents will continue to be responsible for storing, cleaning, sorting materials, and rolling carts to the collection area.

  3. Why is the system changing? What is the benefit?

    The overall goal of automated collection is providing efficient and effective service to residents. The new automated collection system will reduce the risk of worker injuries and service failures. Residents will be provided with easy to roll, durable carts that do not require lifting or dragging. Recycling will be contained in a lidded cart.

  4. Will I need to use the standardized carts? Can I use my existing garbage cans or existing container?

    Automated collection requires a standardized cart that is designed to work with the mechanical arm, including a hinged lid that opens when dumped. A regular garbage receptacle cannot be picked up by the mechanical arm.

  5. Will I be able to request a different cart size?

    Not initially. We ask that you try out your cart size for a twelve month trial period to see if it works for your household. After the trial period, there will be an option to change cart sizes. More information will be shared on the exchange process at a later date.

  6. Will I be able to request a second cart for my recycling or compost?

    Should your household need more space for recycling or organics, additional carts can be provided for an additional annual service fee based on full cost recovery for the selected cart size. An online portal is available at for additional cart requests. Based on availability additional carts will be dropped off after the intial cart deliveries are complete.

  7. Who will own the carts?

    The carts are owned by the solid waste service and are assigned by the City to each individual residential unit. The City's solid waste collection contractor is currently responsible for the management of the delivery and repair or replacement of all carts.

    Each cart will have a unique radio (RFID) tag and serial number. If you move, the carts stay with the house. General cleaning and standard care of the carts will be the resident's responsibility.

  8. Will there be changes to what is accepted as organics, garbage and recycling?

    There will be no change to the accepted materials. As of January 2023, even more items are accepted as curbside recycling. Review the changes here, or pick up the Residential Recycling Guide at one of the City's facilities. 

    Items such as glass, foam, flexible plastics and batteries still need to be delivered to the depot for recycling. Only items that are approved for curbside recycling collection can be put into the bins.

    Kitchen waste is accepted through the Organics Program (formerly yard waste.)


  9. Will I be able to put out extra bags of garbage, recycling and organics?

    No, to ensure efficient and safe collection, the drivers of the collection trucks cannot exit the vehicle at individual stops, and will not be able to manually load any additional materials. Materials will need to be fully contained inside a cart with the lid completely closed to be collected. Overflowing carts and items outside the cart will not be collected.


  10. Will my collection schedule change?

    Yes, garbage collection is moving to bi-weekly collection alternating with recycling, which will continue to be collected bi-weekly. Organics, including kitchen waste and yard waste, will continue to be collected weekly.   

  11. Will the collection schedule continue to move ahead a day after statutory holidays?

    Yes, the Add-a-Day collection schedule will remain in effect.

  12. Can I opt out?

    There will be no opt out options for households that are eligible to receive curbside collection.

  13. How much will the new system cost?

    Utilities like curbside collection are self-funding; this means the cost of the service is directly related to how much it costs the City to provide the service to households that use it. Solid waste fees include the contract with Emterra Environmental for curbside collection, plus the tipping fees at the regional landfill and the regional organics processing facility. About 2% of the fee is for administration costs. 2024 solid waste fees will be finalized once the City of Courtenay confirms projected tonnages for garbage and organics, which will be impacted by the new co-mingled organics program.

  14. How do I find my new schedule and keep track of collection days?

    We recommend downloading the free Courtenay Collects App (available through Apple store or Google Play) to access your schedule and information on what goes in which bin. You can also sign up for reminders to be received through the app, text, email, or by phone call on the Courtenay Collects page

  15. Will I still be able to use the paper yard waste bags if I put them into the new organics cart?

    Yes, the material is still going to the regional compost facility so paper yard waste bags will be permitted in the new organics cart as long as they are not plastic or cellulose lined.

  16. How do I place materials in the new carts?

    Garbage can be placed loose or in a garbage bag. The garbage bag must be closed/tied up so that it tips easily out of the cart and into the truck.

    Recycling must be placed loose. The exception is shredded paper that must be secured in a paper bag or cardboard box (cereal box, shoe box).

    Yard waste can be placed loose. Kitchen waste can be wrapped in newspaper or an unlined paper bag. The brown yard waste bags can also be placed in the cart as a liner.

  17. What size will the carts be?

    Each single residential dwelling and duplex dwelling will receive one set of the following carts:

    • 360 L Recycling cart with blue lid
    • 360 L Organics (yard waste and food waste) cart with green lid
    • 120 L Garbage cart with black lid

    Dwelings with a legal secondary suite or carriage house, who pay two garbage fees, will receive a second smaller set: 

    • 240 L Recycling car with blue lid
    • 120 L Organics cart with green lid
    • 120 L Garbage cart with black lid

    Each patio home, townhouse,fourplex and mobile home in a moble home park will receive one set of the following carts:

    • 240 L Recycling cart with blue lid
    • 120 L Organics (yard waste and food waste) cart with green lid
    • 120 L Garbage cart with black lid
  18. Where will I store the carts?

    Each household can decide the best storage method for their home. It is recommended to store them in a secure location within the property. Carts should not be left at the curb overnight to avoid attracting wildlife.