Starting yesterday, Vancouver residents who live in a house or duplex can add all food scraps and food soiled paper along with yard waste to their green bin and no longer throw it in the regular garbage bin.
Now in addition to uncooked fruits and vegetables, coffee grounds, egg shells and teabags, residents can now add meat, fish, bones, dairy, bread, cooked items and food soiled paper such as napkins, pizza boxes and paper plates.
“Expanding food scraps recycling is a big step towards meeting our Greenest City goals and will substantially cut back the amount of garbage disposed of at the landfill,” said Mayor Gregor Robertson. “If we remove all food scraps and compostables from Vancouver’s landfill, it reduces pollution by the same amount as taking 10,000 cars off the road.”
This expansion is significant as almost 40 per cent of the garbage we send to the landfill is food scraps and other naturally compostable materials. The food scraps collected from residents’ homes can be recycled into nutrient-rich compost and soil for use throughout the region.
The changes announced today are an expansion of Vancouver’s residential food scraps recycling program introduced in April 2010, and the next step towards the Metro Vancouver ban on all organic material going to the landfill by 2015.
City staff will bring forward a plan for Council’s approval in the coming weeks that will require businesses and multi-unit residential buildings, such as condominium complexes and apartment buildings, to have food scraps recycling services in place in the near future.
At this time, there is no change to residents’ garbage collection schedule. Blue recycling boxes and garbage bins will continue to be collected weekly, while green (yard and food waste) bins will continue to be collected every other week.
However, City staff will bring forward recommendations for the final phase of expanded food scraps recycling for single-family/duplex homes for Council’s approval in the coming months. This will involve a reduction in the frequency of garbage collection from weekly to bi-weekly service and an increase from bi-weekly to weekly collection for yard and food waste. Changes to the collection schedule are expected to occur in the spring of 2013.
Residents can wrap their food scraps in newspaper or place them in paper bag liners. However, plastic bags, even if labeled ‘biodegradable’ or ‘compostable’, cannot be used and will not be accepted by the compost processing facility.
For tips on how to properly dispose of food scraps, please visit vancouver.ca/foodscraps or call 3-1-1.
Image: Vancouver Observer