About Food Scraps Recycling

​Metro Vancouver and member municipalities encourage food scraps recycling because it takes waste out of our landfills, reduces our methane contributions, and creates compost and bioenergy.

 


The Organics Disposal Ban applies to everyone in the region

Food scraps separation has been mandatory for residents and businesses in Metro Vancouver since January 2015. This applies to apartments and condos as well as detached homes. 

Like with other recyclable materials, Metro Vancouver has placed a disposal ban on organic materials, like food scraps. This means food is banned as garbage at the region's waste facilities. Disposal bans are an enforcement tool that encourage recycling. A penalty is charged on loads of waste that contain excessive amounts of visible food scraps.

To learn more about food scraps recycling in your community, contact your municipality
 

What goes in the green bin?

  • All food, including produce, grains, dairy, and meat
  • Prepared food (leftovers)
  • Shells (egg shells, seafood shells) and bones
  • Small amounts of fat, oil, and grease
  • Wooden chopsticks, skewers, popsicle sticks
  • Coffee grounds and filters, tea bags
  • Food-soiled paper, like napkins, and food-soiled newsprint (often used to line a kitchen catcher)

Download printable PDF poster.

Learn more about what goes in the green bin.

 

What are the benefits of separating food scraps from regular garbage?

When food and other organic materials end up in the garbage, they can:

  • Create methane, a powerful greenhouse gas that adds to global warming. In the landfill, buried under layers of waste and without access to oxygen, food can't decompose properly.

  • Use up a lot of precious landfill space, which is already limited across the region. Creating more landfill space is undesirable yet more than 30% of what we send to landfill is compostable organics, like food scraps.

  • Make waste-to-energy processes less efficient because of their high moisture content. About a third of the region's waste is dumped in the waste-to-energy facility.

Composting is nature's way of recycling, turning organic waste (like food scraps) into a natural humus, which looks a lot like soil. This process requires natural organisms like fungi, bacteria and oxygen and results in humus, some heat, and a small amount of carbon dioxide. Want to see the heat? Turn over a pile of leaves on a cool fall day, and watch the warm steam rise.

 

 

Putting food scraps into plastic bags and burying it in a landfill blocks out oxygen, stops this natural process from occurring, and causes the production of methane gas. Methane is a powerful greenhouse gas linked to climate change. Sending food scraps to a processing facility or using a backyard composter allows the natural recycling process to happen, returning nutrients to the soil and helping keep the planet cool.

Recycling food scraps separately also creates more jobs than landfilling them, including jobs in recycling program development, education, collection, processing, marketing, and use of products.

 

Enforcement

The Organics Disposal Ban is enforced the same as the region's other disposal bans. Waste is inspected when it is delivered to a regional disposal facility. If a waste load contains excessive amounts of food scraps, the hauler pays a surcharge of 50% on the cost of disposal.

 

Questions?

To learn more about food scraps recycling in your community, contact your municipality.

For information about the Organics Disposal Ban or recycling signage and materials, contact Metro Vancouver's Info Centre.

The Recycling Council of BC staff can answer questions on food scraps recycling. Contact the Recycling Hotline at 604-RECYCLE (604-732-9253).