Organics Diversion

Organic Waste Diversion Program

The RDCK is pleased to announce the start of  of large-scale composting services for our communities. The first of two organic waste processing facilities has opened at the Creston Landfill and has started to receive organic waste collected from the Town of Creston’s residential curbside collection services. 

A second facility will be opening at the Central Landfill, near Salmo. Upgrades to the Ootischenia and Grohman Narrows Transfer Stations are being made and will deliver organic waste to the Central Composting Facility once operational. Curbside collection of organic waste is scheduled to begin for the City of Castlegar in 2023.  Residents and businesses of the region without curbside services will be able to bring their organic waste to public drop-off bins at each of these facilities, or engage the services of private waste haulers that include organic waste pick up.

Public Drop-off

Anyone can come to one of the following facilities the RDCK has built or upgraded (*once open) and drop off their household organic waste.

Facility Hours of Operation / Opening Date

Creston Composting Facility

Tuesday - Saturday
9:00 am - 4:00 pm
Central Composting Facility *Under construction.  Opening Winter 2022/Spring 2023.
Grohman Narrows Transfer Station *Opening Winter 2022/Spring 2023.
Ootischenia Landfill *Under construction.  Opening Winter 2022/Spring2023.

The fee is $2 per container (120L max), up to 4 containers (480L max). More than 4 containers will be charged the minimum fee of $8.00; or, if weighing more than 100kgs, 10% of tonnage at $80/tonne. Any loads from the public that could fill a pick-up truck bed (1.5m³) requires 48-hour notice. Call 250-352-8161 to book a disposal appointment.

Commercial Organic Waste

The Industrial, Commercial, and Institutional (ICI) sector is encouraged to participate in the RDCK Organic Waste Diversion Program.  Contact for support in starting organic waste diversion in your sector.

Curbside Collection Services

Curbside pickup is one of the most cost and fuel efficient ways of moving any waste from communities to our facilities, and results in the greatest amount of diversion from the landfill. Putting kitchen waste in your curbside organics bin is a simple and important habit to integrate into your daily life. The RDCK Composting Facilities can take a wider range of materials than can typically be composted at home, such as meats, small bones, dairy and cooked foods. We encourage anyone with curbside services to utilize them.

Rural communities and other municipalities may receive curbside or other organic waste recovery solutions if residents voice interest and provide positive feedback during Phase 2 Consultation. The RDCK will begin this consultation and outreach for expanded services to rural residents between January and March 2023.  Have feedback, questions, concerns or support?  Email

With the support of the RDCK, the Town of Creston has begun curbside collection of residential organic waste and recycling.  Visit the Town of Creston's website for municipality specific information on their curbside collection program.

Castlegar is planning to begin curbside collection of organic waste to City residents in 2023. This service change will be communicate to residents via the City of Castlegar.  Stay tuned.

City of Nelson
The City of Nelson has committed to providing organic waste diversion solutions to residents, but curbside or other collection services are still being developed. City of Nelson residents can expect to receive an in-home appliance that will dehydrate and grind food waste into a material that can be composted in the RDCK facilities or in backyard composters. Visit for more details.

Accepted Materials

Organic waste disposal is governed by the Resource Recovery Facilities Regulatory Bylaw.  Schedule I and H of the Bylaw outline the accepted and prohibited material list. Below is additional context on what can and cannot be accepted.

Kitchen Waste

Most of the organic waste produced by residents and businesses will be in the form of Kitchen Wastes. Kitchen waste is defined as organic, compostable plant and animal derived food waste material including raw and cooked food waste. Kitchen waste includes, but is not limited to:

  • fruits and vegetables (without stickers)
  • meat, fish, shellfish, poultry and small bones
  • dairy products
  • bread, pasta, grains and baked goods
  • tea bags (paper filters only), coffee grounds and filters
  • Food soiled paper towels and napkins
  • Food soiled parchment and butcher paper
  • Food soiled cardboard and paper (pizza boxes, paper take-out containers)
  • Egg shells

Other Accepted Materials

  • Animal bedding: straw, hay, wood shavings
  • Fish wastes: all parts of fish
  • Livestock Manure:  from cattle, goats, horses, sheep, pigs, poultry
  • Grass, leaves & straw: Think “soft” yard and garden – doesn’t need to be chipped
  • Small twigs, stems, and flowers: less than 2” in diameter and 12” in length
  • Brewery waste/winery waste: non-liquidspent grains, grapes, hops or yeast
  • Butchery Waste: meat, fat, skin and small bones
    • Would otherwise be saleable/consumable food
    • Bones less than 2” in diameter
  • Condemned Foods: spoiled and expired food that can’t be sold/consumed – without packaging
    • Must be less than 5% liquid
  • Dairy processing waste: non-liquid material from processing dairy
  • Yard and Garden:  Yard and garden waste will also be composted, but it must be disposed of separately, unless otherwise specified by your municipal curbside program. For public drop-off at facilities, leaves, straw, grass and twigs are fine to mix with kitchen waste, but everything has to be small and “soft”. Larger, woodier material must be chipped, and therefore put with separated yard and garden.  Yard and Garden is cheaper to dispose of than organics, so generally, it is best to separate these items from your kitchen wastes.

Not-Accepted Materials

Essentially, if it wasn’t once food you’d have in your kitchen, or made of 100% paper/cellulose, it probably doesn’t belong. One of the biggest headaches for us and you are compostable plastics.

Compostable & Biodegradable Plastics

Unfortunately, at this time, we cannot accept compostable plastic materials. Anything that resembles plastic, even if it is a certified compostable product (i.e., BPI) must stay out. Bags, cutlery, and most containers that display compostable labeling will be made of a material called Polylactic Acid (PLA). The Reason: PLA products will not break down fast enough in the aerated windrow system, and leave a micro-plastic residue that may be harmful to soil organisms. We will be trialing some of these PLA products in bio-solid windrows and may find they are OK. For now though, they need to stay out.

Here is a list of other Prohibited Materials:

  • Plastics:  Plastics of any kind will contaminate the compost. Produce stickers are made of plastic! Please ensure they have been removed prior to disposal.
  • Sharps:  Sharps in any size or quantity, or items that could produce sharps when put through the mixer will render the compost unsaleable. Examples: glass, plexiglass, needles, syringes, metal, blades.
  • Infested Vegetation:  This is prohibited from landfilling too, and it basically means trees, shrubs, plants, fruits that show the presence of disease, pathogens or pests.
  • Noxious/Invasive Weeds:  The RDCK has a great, free program for disposal (landfilling) of noxious weeds (or invasive species). We don’t want these seeds further spreading through our finished product, and some noxious weeds like scotch broom or knapweed can withstand more heat than the aerated windrows produce.

Other Prohibited Organic Wastes - Schedule H:

  • Animal Bones greater than 2” in diameter
  • Anything containing more than 5% Free Liquids
  • Cattle waste from abattoirs
  • Diatomaceous earth
  • Cooking oil or used cooking oil, (except within cooked or prepared foods i.e., less than 5% of the total volume)
  • Dead Animals and Parts
    • Full, unprocessed carcasses, Offal (entrails), hunting or slaughter wastes
    • Requires seperate declaration process to dispose of dead animals in the landfill
  • Domestic septic tank sludge 
  • Kitty litter and pet feces
  • Municipal Wastewater Biosolids
  • Pet hair or human hair

Tips and Tricks - Keeping Composting Clean and Wildlife Safe

Managing organic waste properly protects wildlife and keeps communities safe. It’s also cleaner, and less smelly. A few new simple habits are needed to successfully divert organic waste from the landfill.

Kitchen Catchers:  On your counter, keep a small “catcher” to collect your kitchen scraps.

  • Place paper towel, napkins, a paper bag or newspaper in the bottom to collect moisture
    • Remember:  No compostable plastic bags on liners!
  • Or, use a cellulose based liner – the only ones currently available are Bag to Earth's cellulose lined bags.
  • Always give your catcher a rinse after emptying.
  • In the summer months store your Kitchen Catcher in the freezer or fridge to minimize smells and reduce fruit flies.
  • Keep meats, bones, cheese and cooked food in the freezer until disposal day – to minimize smell.

Collection / Disposal Containers:  Whenever possible, keep your garbage and organics carts/bins behind a locking/enclosed structure. Of course, many have to store their waste outside, where the critters are. Either way:

  • Place straw, leaves, or paper in the bottom of your container
    • OR, use a Bag to Earth container liner
  • If possible, add leaves, straw, or paper (browns) each time you add kitchen waste to your bin
    • Adding browns keeps the smell down
  • Rinse your container after each collection/disposal
  • Spray the lid of your container with an Ammonia based cleaner – bears HATE the smell, and are more likely to avoid your bin if you do this. Just the lid though, not the organic waste
  • Take out meat, dairy and cooked food from the freezer only on collection/disposal day
  • Lock your bin to something, so it can’t be dragged away
    • There really are really no such things as a bear-proof bin.
    • Ideally, bins are kept inside a secure enclosure/indoors.
  • Purchase or install install a locking bin/mechanism for the bin lid – to increase the difficulty a bear may have in gaining access. Remember, this is only to delay a bear’s efforts. Most residential bins will eventually succumb to a determined bears attempts at entry. All other steps must be followed to reduce and prevent bear habituation to garbage.
  • Never put out your organics bin the night before collection/disposal day

 For more resources on Wildlife Safety, visit

Why Composting, Why Now?

Reduce Landfill Emissions

Rotting organic waste buried in the landfill creates methane (CH4). Methane is a Greenhouse Gas (GHG) more potent that CO2, and traps heat from the sun in the atmosphere. Landfill GHG emissions accelerate climate change, and we are more aware than ever that a changing climate is a problem for everyone. Now is the time to take these steps. Every action to reduce GHG emissions counts.  We've committed to it.

Extend Landfill Life

We don't have limitless space in our landfills. Keeping organic waste out of the trash frees up much needed capacity and extends their working life. While we’ve planned for the future and manage landfills for the long-term, the added space buys us time and reduces the long-term costs of putting what can’t be re-used or recycled in its final resting place. 

Reduce Landfill Leachates

Leachate, it’s as gross as it sounds. It’s the liquid runoff from landfills. Organic waste has a high moisture content which contributes to landfill leachate. When this liquid comes in contact with other buried waste it collects contamination and must be contained. Removing organics from landfills will reduce the amount and impact of this unpleasant substance, and lower the cost of managing it. 

Less Trash More Soil

Organic waste provides a valuable resource when properly composted. Compost helps recycle nutrients back into soil, and healthy soils grow healthy plants for the benefit of all. Additionally, soil itself stores carbon from the atmosphere - the more life within soil, the more carbon captured and stored. Indeed, less is more.

Programs and Funding

Development of an organics diversion program started in 2017 as part of the RDCK’s Resource Recovery Plan. The RDCK has since received two grants, totaling over $3.7 million to kick start the program. In 2019, the RDCK received the Organics Infrastructure Program grant, jointly funded by the federal and provincial governments, which covers two-thirds of the eligible costs of design and construction of composting facilities in both Creston and Salmo. In 2019, the RDCK received a CleanBC Organics Infrastructure and Collection Program grant to contribute two-thirds of eligible costs for establishing curbside collection of organic waste in Castlegar, Creston, and for a new curbside service under consideration for higher-density rural areas. The RDCK was also successful in securing $535,000 from the Columbia Basin Trust Climate Resiliency Program to assist with education and communication for the organics diversion program and for bear-proofing measures, such as bear-resistant lids for rural communities should a new curbside service proceed.

How it Works

Composting occurs when high nitrogen (greens) organic material is mixed with high carbon (browns) organic material in ideal ratios, with plenty of oxygen and proper moisture. This environment allows decomposing bacteria to thrive, and they rapidly break down these organic wastes into a rich, alive, nutrient dense product known as compost. Compost is an excellent soil amendment, as these nutrients, having been broken down by bacteria, are readily available to plants for their use and growth. Without the composting process, nutrients are not able to be used by plants. 

The Central and Creston Composting Facilities both use active aeration to maintain proper temperature and oxygen levels during the decomposition period. This simple and proven technology combines clean wood and yard and garden waste with food and other organic waste. The mixed material is then placed over aeration piping in long piles called windrows.


This method promotes active decomposition, limits odours, prevents methane generation, and produces a safe, high-quality product. Once available, the RDCK will be selling to the public and making available to partners the Class-A compost produced at these facilities. 

The content on this page was last updated October 24 2022 at 2:02 PM