Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

The City of Port Alberni in partnership with Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District is providing a three stream solid waste disposal management program, Sort'n Go.  Residents of single family homes will be able to dispose of organics (food and yard waste) in green cart, recyclable materials in blue cart and other garbage refuse in black cart.  Doing our part for the regional organics diversion program, is a critical step that will reduce residential waste and extend the lifespan of the landfill.  Below are frequently asked questions about the program.     


What is the automated curbside collection system?

An Automated Curbside Collection System involves the use of specialized collection carts that are emptied into a solid waste collection truck using a mechanical arm, instead of lifting and emptying cans by hand.  The specialized carts provided by the City are specifically designed for the use of the mechanical gripper and lifting arm. The truck will ONLY pick up the specialized carts.

  • Residents must register with the City for a specially designed wheeled carts. 
  • The carts are the property of the City and are assigned to the property not to the property owner. A serial number identifies the property to which the carts belong.
  • All organics, recycling and garbage must be placed inside the carts so that the lid can be properly closed and the cart does not overflow. Carts that are overflowing, or refuse placed outside of the carts will not be picked up.
  • If you move you do not take your carts.  They are to remain with the property for the next resident.
  • Residents are responsible for routine maintenance such as cleaning the carts, removing them from the street after collection and storing them in a safe place.
  • The carts carry a 10-year warranty and the City will take care of any warranty repairs.
  • Any stolen carts or those damaged through neglect or misuse will be replaced at the property owner’s expense.
How do I register for Curbside Collection? 


If you just moved into a property you can call 250-720-2841 to find out the size of the carts that were delivered for your property. If you require different size carts, please see What If I want to change the size of the cart I ordered? for information on how to request a cart change. To arrange for a new account contact the Utilities Clerk.

How often will the carts be collected?

Organics (green) will be collected each week, while garbage (black) and recycling (blue) will be collected every two weeks, on alternating weeks.  Garbage collection can be reduced because waste composition studies show that up to 50% of household waste is organic or compostable.  Once these items are diverted, garbage carts will take twice as long to fill.

City residents can keep track of collection schedules, sign up for alerts and check which cart is suited for specific items with the Sort'n Go app.   

How do I set out my carts for collection?

On collection day, residents wheel their carts to the street.  Improperly placed carts will not be emptied so use the following guidelines when placing your cart out:  

  1. Point it - Place carts so the arrows on the lid point towards the centre of the lane or street (handles will face your property). 
  2. Space it - Place your carts so that there is approximately 1m (3ft) between carts and any obstacles(i.e. cars, power poles) and at least 3m (10ft) of clearance above so the mechanical arms of hte truck can work properly.  
  3. Make sure to unclip the animal resistant locking mechanism from cart when placed at roadside. Please hook clip together to remove the possibility of damge to the cart.
  4. Bring it back in after your carts have been emptied, remember to remove them from the lane or street and back to your property.


What size garbage container will I have?

To promote greater waste reduction and to create incentives, the automated collection program offers residents the flexibility to choose the size of garbage cart that will best meet their needs.

Cart Dimensions (l x w x h)

80 L = 22” long x 20” wide x 35” high (false bottom)
120 L = 22” long x 20” wide x 35” high
240 L = 27” long x 26” wide x 41” high
What do I do if I want to exchange my cart for a different size or type?

Cart size options are available for garbage cart only.  Please contact the City at 720-2840 to notify them of your cart exchange request. Any changes to carts are subject to a service fee of $50.00. Charges for the cart exchange will appear on the next utilities invoice for property and included with water, sewer and curbside collection fees for the period. 

I have physical limitations; how will I move the carts?

Residents living with a disability may find it difficult to take their carts out. For those who apply for and are granted an exemption based on a disability, City crews will assist the resident at annual fee of $52.00 (weekly cost of $1.00). However, if other people in the household are capable of rolling the cart to the street, this service will not be offered. Forms for this service can be picked up at City Hall or downloaded here.

Do I need the animal resistant features on my carts?

Garbage attracts animals such as dogs, bears and raccoons. The organics and garbage carts provided to the resident can be fitted with animal resistant hardware that greatly reduces the risk of access, it is standard on all City organics carts and can be requested for garbage carts without.  The resident operates a clip mechanism that locks and unlocks the lid. When the cart is put out on the day of collection the resident unlocks the lid for the automated collection truck to pick up and dump. If your carts are stored in a location that is not vulnerable to animals, then the animal resistant hardware for the carts are not required. The price of the service doesn’t change with or without the animal resistant hardware.

What do I do if my cart is lost or stolen?

If your cart is lost or stolen contact the City immediately (250-720-2840). City staff will make arrangements to replace your cart. Residents are responsible for purchasing replacement carts for those reported lost or stolen. The cost of new carts is based on actual cost of replacement cart.

Should I use a liner in the carts?

Recycling (Blue cart): Do not use a liner, contents must be loose, not bagged or nested and cardboard boxes broken down to be flat and fitting in cart with lid closed.

Organics (Green cart): Only paper bags and newspaper can be used to line the green cart and the "kitchen buddy". Lining your cart with newspaper/cardboard can help items such as food waste and wet grass clippings from sticking to the bottom of the cart.

Garbage (Black cart): Not necessarily.  Large garbage bags are not required. Many items can be put in loose. 

Lids on all carts should remain closed to prevent animals and birds from entering the cart and to avoid rainwater from accumulating inside the cart.

What if I sometimes have more garbage than fits into my cart?

Carts that are overflowing, or garbage placed outside of the carts will not be picked up.  Do not overfill your cart. Lids must close completely.  The City encourages residents to choose the size garbage cart that will meet their needs year round and encourages residents to utilize the recycling program as much as possible for all recyclable materials. Garbage will be picked up by the City in the specified cart only and any excess garbage will have to be placed in the emptied cart for pick up on the next collection day.

Where should I store my collections carts?

The three carts can be stored in garage, carport, shed or stored outside on property. The cart lid will keep the material dry and intact during inclement weather, but it is best to use animal resistant locks when stored outside.   

Why wasn't my cart collected?

There are several common reasons your carts will not get collected:

  • Carts were not at the curb by 7am
  • Cart was overflowing and did not have closed lid
  • Placement of carts was incorrect or access to carts was blocked
  • Animal resistant locks were not unclipped

If none of these apply and your carts were not emptied, you can report a missed collection by calling 250-720-2840 

What should I do if I move to a new address?

The carts belong to each specific property/home.  If you move, please leave your carts behind to be used by the new homeowners. 

Can I opt out of Curbside Collection Services?

This service will be provided to all single family residential homes in the City of Port Alberni - and opting out is not an option.  Implementing a three stream Curbside Collection services, organics, recycling and garbage will prevent ACRD from having to install a pricey gas capture system at the landfill and extend the lifespan of the landfill, which would have a significant cost impact on users.