The way we manage waste is changing- food will not be in the landfill
Metro Vancouver manages the waste for this region, including a system of transfer stations, landfills, and a waste-to-energy facility. Metro Vancouver will be banning organic materials (including food scraps) from all sources from its facilities by 2015.
About 40% of all food waste comes from businesses and institutions. This amounts to over 100,000 tonnes every year.
Why food scraps are a problem
When food and other organic materials end up in the garbage, it creates problems:
- food scraps end up in the landfill and can’t decompose properly, creating methane, a powerful greenhouse gas
- all the resources (energy, water, etc.) that went into producing the food are wasted
- we lose the chance to recover resources by turning food scraps into energy or compost
A lot of food waste is avoidable. Businesses can throw away less – and often save money- by reducing or composting their food waste, or donating usable food.
What will be banned
When the ban comes into effect, organic materials will not be allowed in regular garbage. This includes food scraps (such as raw food, plate scrapings, leftovers, packaged food, meat etc), food-soiled paper (such as greasy pizza boxes and napkins) and yard waste (already banned).
The ban will apply to everyone across the Metro Vancouver region.
- Commercial buildings (examples include grocery stores, restaurants, hotels, retail stores and shopping malls)
- Institutional and industrial buildings (examples include health care facilities and schools)
- Single family and multi-family residential buildings and mixed-use buildings (examples include apartments and offices)
When the ban comes into effect, your business or institution will be required to separate organic materials (food scraps, in most cases) from its regular garbage. Food scraps can either be dealt with on site (composting), donated (leftover food) or transported to an appropriate processing facility.
Start thinking now about how to be ready when the ban starts. If you’re in a business, talk to your current garbage or recycling hauler about starting an organics program ahead of time.