Garbage Services

Frequently Asked Questions

Biweekly Garbage Cart Program - Background Information
1. Why did the City adopt a biweekly Garbage Cart program?
Results from a Garbage Cart Pilot Project that started in March 2014 found that recycling increased significantly and garbage decreased significantly with the bi-weekly test group.

Residents in single-family homes currently have reduced their garbage by about 74% on average, and the City’s goal is to achieve an 80% reduction by 2020. With food scraps recycling now in place, moving to bi-weekly collection is a key factor in bridging the remaining gap towards our targets. It’s also worth noting that most lower mainland cities have already shifted to bi-weekly garbage collection as an effective method to increase recycling and reduce garbage.

2. How was the new program designed?
The new program is based on results and residents’ feedback from the pilot program. It was also based on best practices in other jurisdictions.

3. How can residents further reduce the amount of garbage they dispose of?
With the expanded recycling services that have been implemented over the past few years, including Green Cart recycling for food scraps and yard trimmings and expanded recycling options with the Blue Box/Blue Cart program through the partnership with Multi-materials BC (MMBC), residents have easy and convenient recycling to significantly reduce their garbage. 

Garbage Carts - Garbage Capacity, Odours and Extra Garbage
4. Can residents have a second garbage cart?
Yes, but there will be a fee for the second garbage service based on the cart size (this extra fee includes garbage, large item and green cart). Based on the Garbage Cart Pilot Project and data related to household waste, residents who recycle will not require an extra garbage cart.

5. What if a resident has additional garbage to dispose of?
For the occasional situations where a resident has extra garbage, the City offers the option of purchasing a $2 Garbage Tag, which can be used with a garbage bag or standard 100-litre garbage can for curbside collection. Residents will be receiving five free Garbage Tags with their new garbage carts.

For large amounts of excess garbage, residents can also purchase a $5 Garbage Disposal Voucher (one per household per year) available at City facilities, which can be used at the Vancouver Landfill located at 5400 72nd Street, in Delta. The voucher is good for up to $25 in value for garbage drop off.

6. What is being done about odours from garbage cans when garbage sits for two weeks?
With food scraps being recycled using Green Carts, which are collected weekly, most odours from garbage are significantly reduced. As well, garbage carts come with attached lids. Garbage cart odours can also be reduced by cleaning the carts regularly. Residents can use plastic bags to hold their garbage to help reduce odours.

A few additional tips for reducing odours:

  • Sprinkle a generous amount of baking soda in the bottom of the cart or on garbage to absorb odours, and it also helps with removing orders when rinsing out the cart.
  • Clean the carts with environmentally-friendly soap and water.
  • Place a small amount of vanilla extract on a couple of cotton balls, and let them stay overnight in the garbage cart.
  • Pour distilled white vinegar into the garbage cart. Use 2 to 3 cups of white vinegar and fill the rest of the garbage cart with hot water. Let the vinegar and water solution soak inside the garbage cart for an hour. Empty the solution out of the garbage cart and allow to air dry.
  • A combination of tea tree oil and lavender is great for covering biological smells.

7. How will missed collections be addressed?
We will be developing service options to address situations where collection is missed due to vacations.  Please contact Environmental Programs at 604-276-4010 or email Garbage and Recycling.

Biweekly Collection - How It Works
8. What is the charge for the new garbage program?
The annual biweekly curbside collection rates are based on the size of the cart being used by residents. The smaller the cart, the lower the fees. These are annual net fees, which mean they are based on the amount charged when residents pay by the deadline for utility fees. The following is a summary of the 2016 rate for biweekly curbside garbage collection based on cart size:

  • Small (80 litres)*: $83.00 / year ($23.00 / year reduction)
  • Medium (120 litres): $93.50 / year ($12.50 / year reduction) – Standard size for townhomes
  • Large (240 litres): $106.00 / year (No additional cost) – Standard size for single-family homes
  • Extra Large (360 litres): $196.00 / year ($90.00 / year increase) 

*Extra Small (46.5 litres) available on request at same rate as Small cart.

9. Why isn’t my bill being reduced by 50% if my service is now every other week?
The price of curbside garbage collection has been reduced for biweekly collection, and the smaller the cart size, the less garbage and the lower the cost. Curbside collection fees are based on cost-recovery for operational costs, which have been increasing steadily over the past few years. If the City had not switched to biweekly collection, the cost for curbside garbage collection would have increased by 5% compared to last year, rather than being reduced as they have under biweekly service.  The City will continue to monitor the cost for providing curbside garbage collection, and as garbage continues to decrease, the City will transfer those savings on to residents.

10. If residents choose an Extra Small cart (46.5 litres), why is the rate the same as a Small cart rather than reduced for the smaller cart size?
The Extra Small cart is a specialized size, and is being offered only as a convenience for residents that have extremely limited storage space.  There is a minimum charge, and therefore the lowest rate available is the same as that of an 80-litre cart.

Cart Exchange
11. What happens if resident want to exchange cart size?
Residents have the opportunity to exchange their cart for a different size, and their curbside garbage collection fee will be adjusted according to the size selected. While there will normally be a $25 charge for cart exchanges, the City is offering one free exchange during a grace period between April 18, 2016 and December 31, 2016.

13. Can residents exchange their garbage carts at the Richmond Recycling Depot?
Garbage carts are not available for exchange at the Recycle Depot. To request an exchange, residents are asked to call the Environmental Programs line at 604-276-4010 or email Garbage and Recycling.

14. What can residents do with their current garbage cans?

  • Use existing garbage can for extra garbage. Resident will need to purchase a $2 Garbage Tag
  • Attach a Green Can decal (available at City facilities) and use them for additional yard waste (80-litre or smaller containers only).
  • Bring cans for recycling to the Richmond Recycling Depot at 5555 Lynas Lane, Richmond, which is open Wednesday to Sunday from 9:00 a.m. to 6:15 p.m.
  • Schedule a Large Item Pick Up by calling Sierra Waste at 604-270-4722.
  • Use them to store household items.