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