Read about Metro Vancouver’s current climate action projects related to Waste, search for technical data, and explore best practices from our region. You can also browse our management plans and policies, and find links to what other cities, provinces and countries are doing to address climate change.

About This Priority

Managing the region’s waste is a core Metro Vancouver responsibility and this region has opted to do this in a sustainable way. For example, the region promotes aggressive waste reduction campaigns, and has set an ambitious goal of an 80% recycling rate. Transitioning to a circular economy further reduces waste, and associated emissions. A thorough description of Metro Vancouver’s approach to waste is found in the region’s Integrated Solid Waste and Resource Management Plan.

While Metro Vancouver’s priority is to reduce, and recycle as much of our waste as possible, the remaining garbage must be dealt with now and not left for future generations to clean up.

Managing the solid waste generated in this region contributes about 3% of the regional greenhouse gas emissions inventory.

Climate 2050: Waste

GHG emissions from waste include both direct emissions as waste decomposes and produces methane (a particularly powerful GHG), and embodied emissions associated with energy use to acquire raw materials, and for manufacturing and transportation. Reduction is the key for this small but actionable source of GHG emissions, including a shift to thinking about waste as a potential resource.

Download a full description of this priority.


Anticipated Impacts

  • Most waste and recycling collection infrastructure is not at risk from climate change impacts. However, waste will continue to contribute to the region’s emissions through hauling and disposal.
  • In Metro Vancouver’s emissions inventories, emissions from waste currently reflect fossil fuels used in transportation (hauling waste) and buildings (collection and disposal facilities). They do not reflect consumption.
  • A consumption-based inventory attributes the greenhouse gas emissions associated with the full lifecycle of goods and services including emissions from the production, transport, wholesale and retail, use and disposal. This kind of inventory can provide a more complete picture of the region’s greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Metro Vancouver is exploring a consumption-based inventory.

Featured Story: 2018 Zero Waste Conference

Metro Vancouver's 8th annual Zero Waste Conference brought together some of the circular economy's biggest thinkers and innovators to share their ideas and experiences in disrupting the status quo (2018). zwc.ca #zwc18

 

Opportunities

There remain opportunities to increase efficiency and effectiveness of recycling waste in this region- particularly paper, wood, plastics, organics (largely food waste) and electronics. There is also a consistent push to revisit how we design and consume goods through the circular economy. Developing a consumption-based inventory will better reveal the climate impacts of the decisions consumers make every day.

Examples include:

  • Develop a consumption-based inventory
  • Grow the circular economy
  • Increase recycling of paper, wood, plastics, organics (food waste) and electronics
  • Reduce air pollution and greenhouse gasses from waste hauling and disposa
  • Increase the use of residual heat from the region's waste-to-energy facility
  • Reduce air pollution and greenhouse gasses from waste hauling and disposal

Learn More About Climate Change

Climate change is already affecting our planet and our region in profound ways, making our summers hotter and drier, our winters warmer and wetter, and increasing the occurrence of extreme weather events.

Learn More