Vancouver expands food scraps recycling program
The City of Vancouver is expanding its recycling program to allow residents to include their food scraps in yard trimmings bins.
The expansion, announced by Mayor Gregor Robertson today (September 11), will apply to about 90,000 single-family homes across Vancouver.
The voluntary initiative is intended to get residents used to composting their food scraps in the lead-up to 2015, when a Metro Vancouver ban on organic materials in landfills and incinerators will take effect.
“That gives people an opportunity to get used to it, get accustomed to putting all of their food scraps in a bin in their kitchen, putting it all in their green bin in their lane,” Robertson told reporters.
In 2010, the residential food scraps recycling program was introduced to allow some items to be composted in yard trimmings bins, such as uncooked fruits and vegetables, coffee grounds, egg shells, and teabags. Now, all food scraps will be accepted, including meat, fish, bones, dairy, bread, cooked items and food-soiled paper. Scraps can be wrapped in newspaper or paper bag liners.
The expanded recycling program, which takes effect today, applies to all houses and duplexes.
According to the city, about 40 percent of the garbage currently sent to the landfill consists of food scraps and other naturally compostable materials.
“One of the great outcomes of this is if you think about it, it’s the food scraps going in the dump that creates all the methane, that creates the odour—and methane is a terrible greenhouse gas,” said city engineer Peter Judd.
“It’s 20 times more potent than C02. So if you take all that food waste out of the landfill, you’ll be generating much less gas.”
City staff are expected to go before council this fall with a plan to expand the program to require businesses and multi-unit residential buildings to have food scraps recycling services in place.
There will be no immediate change in the garbage collection schedule under the expansion announced today. Blue recycling boxes and regular garbage bins will continue to be collected once a week, while yard trimming bins will be collected every two weeks.
Another change scheduled to come to city council for approval in the coming months will see the garbage collection service reduced to every other week, and yard trimmings and food waste collection increased to once a week.