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Food Scraps Recycling 

Most municipalities in Metro Vancouver are now collecting food waste – this means all food, such as meat, cheese, dairy, bones, fruit & vegetables from single family households, and are in the process of expanding collection into multi-family buildings (apartments and condos).

  • About one third of the average home’s garbage is food scraps, representing hundreds of dollars of groceries. How can you waste less food?
  • In the landfill rotting food produces methane, a powerful green house gas. When composted properly, food does not produce methane. Instead it produces compost (like soil) and biofuel that can run vehicles, including garbage trucks.
  • Please don’t use plastic or biodegradable bags. Most residents are using no liner (rinsing out their container) or wrapping food waste in newspaper or a paper bag. Our region’s compost facilities make high quality compost for landscaping and don’t want plastic.
  • In 2012, residents and businesses in our region composted about 270,000 tonnes of food waste that would otherwise go to the landfill.

 ‭(Hidden)‬ Hungry Bins

Now that you know you can recycle your food scraps in your real life, how about trying it in an animated world? Everyday items are coming out of the house, some are garbage and some are recyclable in the yard bin. Do you know what to do with cheese, pizza boxes, diapers and other items? Hint: the yard bin likes food and food-soiled paper. And remember – don’t annoy the yard bin!

PLAY THE GAME (The game is supported in IE9 or higher, Firefox, Safari, and Chrome)

Hungry Bins Game

Reduce
Stop letting fruits and vegetables go rotten. Make smoothies, soups or some other crafty meal. Shop carefully, use meal plans and grocery lists. Buy only what you need and you’ll save money too.

Compost
Food scraps can be composted in your yard, and recycled ‘at the curb’ like your blue box. Find out more about backyard composting and worm bins.

Recycle
Here are a few Food Scraps Recycling FAQs to get you started.... but please note, there are slight variations in every program – check with your municipality.

How does food scraps collection work?
If your neighbourhood has curb-side food scraps collection, you can now put leftovers or spoiled food into your yard waste bin.

After your city picks up the contents of your bin, it goes to a regional composting facility where high-quality compost is made and sold to local landscapers and farmers.
Why are cities picking up food scraps?
Hundreds of thousands of tonnes of organic material can be kept out of landfills each year with composting. This garbage produces methane, a powerful greenhouse gas that is created as food breaks down in the landfill.

Metro Vancouver residents and businesses are working towards a target of achieving 70 per cent waste diversion by 2015 as part of the Zero Waste Challenge.

Meat and dairy are difficult to safely compost at home. Curbside collection can keep these items out of the landfill and allow those who don’t have space for a back yard composter to participate.
How does this fit with backyard composting?
Home composting is the most cost-effective and environmentally friendly way to dispose of food scraps, not to mention the ‘black gold’ compost you’ll get as a result. If you have a backyard composter, please continue to use it. You might use this new program for ‘other’ stuff like meat, bones, fish and bread.
Can I use plastic bags to line my kitchen container or yard waste bin?
No. Plastic or biodegradable plastic bags are not allowed in the food scraps recycling bin; the composting facility does not accept them. These bags contaminate and interrupt the composting process.
Do I need to use a liner with my kitchen container?
You don’t need to line your bin or kitchen container, but using a liner will reduce the effort needed to keep the container clean and odour free.. If you choose to make or use a liner you can use paper—not plastic--if you wish. Newspaper, paper bags and paper towels are acceptable to use. Please do not use plastic , not even compostable plastic products, as the composting facility doesn’t accept them.
What about animals getting into my bins?
You were already putting food scraps outside in your garbage, now you’re just putting them in a different bin. If you’ve had issues with animals getting into your bins, here are some tips to help prevent that:
  • keep the yard and food bin in your garage and put it out in the morning—not the night before 
  • wrap fish & meats with newspaper 
  • store scraps in the freezer until collection day

Here are links to the West Vancouver and City of Coquitlam Bear Aware resources.

Where can I get more information?
From your city. Check your city online resources for more information about food scraps recycling in your neighbourhood.