Compost City: Vancouver to Ban All Food From Trash

Photo credit: Alfred Hermida | Flickr

Photo credit: Alfred Hermida | Flickr

Vancouver’s trash is about to get a little greener.

City council has just approved a new composting policy that changes the way the city’s condo dwellers throw out their trash, as reported by the Vancouver Sun. Starting in January 2015, all compostable materials from privately-serviced residential buildings – not to mention restaurants, hotels and other commercial operations – have to be separated for trash collection.

Currently, food scraps recycling programs are already in place for single-family homes and city-serviced buildings.  Special green bins are the final resting place for everything from egg shells and banana peels to cooked foods, coffee filters and lawn clippings.  After pick-up, the scraps are taken to central facilities and composted into soil for use across the region.

The overall goal is to reduce the amount of organic waste that ends up in landfills.  

Photo credit: Brent Granby | Flickr

Photo credit: Brent Granby | Flickr

Food scraps are a prime source of methane, a far more potent greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide. To curb emissions, provincial regulations are requiring landfills to cut methane gas production by 75 percent by 2016.  Household composting can have a significant impact: If every Vancouver resident recycled food scraps for a year, 5,500 trucks worth of waste would be diverted from landfills, according to the City of Vancouver website.

An estimated 152,000 Vancouver condo dwellers will be affected by the new composting requirement, according to an article by Jeff Lee in the Vancouver Sun.  They’ll be required to separate wet waste into buckets and then deposit that waste in a central collection area in the building.  Commercial waste haulers will then collect the scraps and transport them to composting areas.

Photo credit: Panphage | Wikimedia Commons

Photo credit: Panphage | Wikimedia Commons

The multi-unit buildings and commercial and industrial producers affected by the new requirements together produce 70 percent of the city’s organic waste.  To encourage compliance, beginning in 2015 the city will began issuing fines if garbage loads contain too much wet waste.  Large producers of waste will be targeted first, while homeowners likely won’t face fines until 2017.

What do you think about the city’s new composting policy for condo dwellers? 

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