Waste Management

Waste management includes the activities and actions required to manage waste from its inception to its disposal and applies to a variety of products from paper, plastics, yard and garden debris, grease and oil, and garbage collection. Appropriate waste management in Sooke requires the collaboration of numerous partners including the CRD, private businesses and service providers, and homeowners working together as stewards of our local environment.  This page includes waste management information in the areas of:

  • Recycling
  • Composting
  • Garbage collection
  • Handling of yard waste and garden debris
  • Caring for sewer and septic systems in Sooke – including grease and oil disposal

Recycling

Sooke residents have the Capital Regional District’s Blue Box Program as well as access to several recycling depots that accept items the Blue Box Program cannot.

Curbside pick up

The CRD picks up bi-weekly. To participate: Utilize at least one CRD Blue Box or Blue Bag to indicate to the recycling truck driver the materials are intended for this program; Have your recyclables at the curb by 7:30 a.m. on your collection day.

The blue box program provides residents with one CRD blue box and two blue bags per home. If you are a new resident or require a replacement blue box or blue bag, please visit the District of Sooke Municipal Hall, 2205 Otter Point Road (8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday-Friday, excluding statutory holidays).

Recycling depots

Hartland Recycling: The public drop-off area at Hartland receives garbage, recyclables, product stewardship items and household hazardous waste. Over 80 items from 25 product categories are accepted for recycling.

Island Return-It: Beverage containers are accepted at the Sooke Return-It Depot located at 2032 Idlemore Road

More recycling resources

If you’re not sure where to drop off your items, use the BC Recycles search tool for the nearest location for the material/specific item you wish to recycle.

Recycling information is also available through the Recycling Council of BC Hotline at 1-800-667-4321.


Composting

The CRD is committed to diverting kitchen scraps from the Hartland landfill. As such, kitchen scraps are restricted from your garbage.

In the District of Sooke, individual property owners are responsible for arranging garbage and kitchen scrap disposal. This means that residents must find methods of reducing, reusing or recycling their kitchen scraps. Consider:

  • Reduce waste through meal planning
  • Many local charities welcome non-perishable food donations
  • Compost in your own yard using bins
  • Contact your local refuse collector for information on the kitchen scrap program.

Learn more:


Garbage Collection

Garbage collection is Sooke is handled privately by individual property owners and is not a service provided by the District.

Sooke Disposal is the local service provider with Alpine Disposal also serving the Sooke area. Residents may contact their preferred supplier to arrange services.


Yard and Garden Debris

Yard waste disposal is offered by several local businesses in Sooke. These businesses include:

If you are a current yard waste disposal business in Sooke not listed above, please email cmoog@sooke.ca to be added to this listing.

Alternatives to removing yard waste from your yard or burning yard waste (in accordance with the District’s Burning Regulation Bylaw) include grasscycling and mulching.

Please do not dispose of yard waste in parks.

To learn about invasive species and disposal of invasive plants, please visit sooke.ca/nature.


Sewer and Septic in Sooke

Sooke properties within the Sewer Specified Area are connected to the District’s Wastewater Treatment System, while properties outside this area are on independent septic systems.

Sewer in Sooke

In caring for the environment and in collaboration with the T’Sou-ke First Nation, the District is expanding its Wastewater System. Enhancing our wastewater infrastructure is an essential factor in successfully managing out community’s long-term growth – the health and safety of our community and the surrounding environment.

Through 2021-2022, complex development of wastewater master planning for the District is underway. A major component of the masterplan development will include feasibility studies for the following areas:

  • Kaltasin area east of the bridge
  • Whiffin Spit area
  • Town Centre
  • Henlyn Drive Area (east of Erinan)
  • North Otter Point / Burr Road Area
  • Helgesen Road Area

Feasibility studies will include preliminary conceptual designs with associated cost estimates for the collection systems to service the above areas. Throughout this process, staff will continuously seek grant opportunities to offset the cost for these collection systems.

Septic in Sooke

Septic systems are an important wastewater treatment option for homeowners in Sooke where sewer connection is unavailable.

If your system is working properly, it is an environmentally friendly and economically sound treatment option.  If it’s not working properly it can cause environmental issues and health issues in our community. It is the homeowner’s responsibly to ensure their septic system is maintained regularly.

Learn more:

Trap it and trash it!

Regardless of the system, sewer or septic, fats, oils, and grease (FOG) are by-products of cooking. How you manage these by-products can have a tremendous impact on home, business and the environment.

What you pour down your sink can “drain” your bank account. Fats, oils, and grease (FOG) can cause sewer backups by blocking the main sewer lines as well as those on private property, causing expensive property damage.

Typically, FOG includes things such as:

  • Food scraps
  • Meat fats
  • Lard
  • Cooking oil
  • Butter and margarine
  • Sauces and more

Residents are asked to store oils, fats and grease in a disposable container such as a tin can and let it cool before disposing of small quantities with their kitchen scraps or garbage.

How do we know FOG products make their way into our wastewater system?

  • Oil and water do not mix. Grease is seen on the equipment during routine cleaning and grease build up is confirmed during regular inspections.

Why can’t the FOG be washed away with hot water and soap?

  • Hot water and soap may remove grease from the dishes but not from the walls of the sewer pipes. Sewer pipes in the ground are fairly cold so any liquid grease in the wastewater solidifies on the walls of the pipe – eventually building up and causing blockages.

Isn’t throwing containers full of grease into the landfill just creating a different problem?

  • Over time, fats, oils and grease are very effectively broken down under landfill conditions. Very low levels appear in landfill leachate. Fats, oils and grease cause greater environmental problems when they enter the wastewater system.

What should I do with large quantities of cooking oil?

  • Large quantities, up to 10 litres, of uncontaminated residential liquid cooking oil, such as used deep fryer oil, can be taken to Hartland Landfill for recycling. Cooking oil is accepted at recycling drop off area for no charge.

What about restaurants and food trucks and the large amount of fat and oil they use?

  • Before the District was incorporated, the CRD (since 1994) has worked with the industry through education, regulation and regular monitoring. Since 2003 properly sized grease traps have been mandatory in all commercial kitchens in the CRD.

Why should home and business owners take the responsibility for making the water cleaner? Isn’t this a CRD or District responsibility?

  • The responsibility to take care of our environment is shared amongst citizens, businesses and all levels of government. Citizens have proven to be very responsive to environmental initiatives such as recycling and we know that many citizens want to take action to protect our environment.

In short, avoid costly, messy, time-consuming clean-up: trap it and trash it.