As the event organizer for the annual Zero Waste Conference, the Metro Vancouver regional district showcases leading examples of waste reduction, recycling, and sustainability initiatives from around the world. In 2015, Metro Vancouver hopes to solidify its own reputation as a jurisdiction committed to zero waste principles, with a ban on food scraps and organic waste entering the landfill. While many municipalities in the region have already instituted similar rules for single family homes, this new set of regulations brings the program to a wider base, incorporating public facilities, restaurants, and other businesses into the program.
To facilitate a smooth transition, a short video was created to provide an overview of the new rules. It is also offered in alternate languages (French, Japanese, Mandarin, Punjabi, and Tagalog), to aid the restaurant industry in particular, where many workers do not have English as their first language. These communications efforts make it possible to leverage the power of online media and social sharing to reach a wide audience, with the goal of educating both industry and individuals about the new rules and the rationale behind them.
For additional information and background on the organic waste ban, visit the Metro Vancouver Organics Disposal Ban web page.
A change is coming in the way we handle food waste in the Metro Vancouver region in 2015.
“So the change that’s coming in 2015 is we are going to have to separate our food and our kitchen scraps from the rest of our garbage, explains Greg Moore, Metro Vancouver Board Chair. “Just as we’ve done recycling for decades now, we are going to have to do the same thing with organics. And it’s going to be different if you live in a single family home, or you live in a multi-family (building), or you’re at school or in your business.”
If you’ve been separating food scraps and organic waste at home, you’re already a part of this change. But now, the Metro Vancouver regional district is expanding this shift in waste disposal — to include businesses, schools, and public facilities across our region.
“Everyone is affected by this ban, whether you are at home, at work, or out in the community,” says Moore. “We need to think differently. We need to think about how do we separate our organics, our recycling, and our solid waste.”
The new waste disposal rules are being introduced by Metro Vancouver, after consultation with local governments and businesses throughout the region, some of whom have already made the switch.
“Most single family homes in this region already have organics pick ups,” explains Moore. “We know that restaurants and businesses and some schools have already embraced this change. And we look upon those leaders to help others as we bring forward this change into Metro Vancouver.”
The new rules for food scraps will come into effect in the new year. However, Metro Vancouver is hoping to facilitate a smooth transition — by giving waste haulers and their customers time to adjust to the new rules. Mayor Moore explains how compliance and enforcement efforts will be phased in.
“So although the ban comes in on Jan 1st 2015 there will be a six month window where we will work with the haulers to identify the organics material that’s in their garbage. After the six month grace period enforcement will be phased in to enforce compliance.”
Changing the way we handle waste has long-term benefits for our region. It reduces our dependence on landfills, cuts down on greenhouse gas emissions, and creates new opportunities to repurpose organic materials.
“Separating out our food waste from our garbage makes sense from so many different perspectives. It allows us to take out that good quality material and create compost with it, or put it into a bio-energy facility to fuel engines. It’s something we should do now to protect our environment now and into the future.
For more information on the new food waste rules, useful tips for implementing waste separation strategies, and print and video educational resources please visit the Metro Vancouver Organics Disposal Ban web page.