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Friday, October 31, 2014

Metro Vancouver 2015 Organics Ban: Are You Ready?

It's Hallowe'en again -- an evening of ghosts, monsters, haunted houses, and other things nipping in the night. (Or so we're told.) Lots of things are scary or gross, but you know what isn't? Compost, soil, and worms (okay, maybe those wrigglers)!

Source: Metro Vancouver Regional District

Did you know?

Starting January 1, 2015, the Metro Vancouver Regional District will be banning the disposal of food scraps and other organics in general garbage.

This includes raw food, table scrapings (raw and cooked), leftovers, depackaged food, meat, food scraps, and more! The collected organic waste will be composted by the district and used throughout municipalities for parks, city landscaping, and other greenery.

Many municipalities across the region already have food scraps programs for single-family households. This region-wide program will expand the organics ban to everyone in Metro Vancouver: from single-family households to apartments, commercial and industrial buildings, and institutions.

Why are we doing this?

Over a third of what we send to the landfill are compostable organics. By diverting these materials, we can reduce how much goes to the landfill as well as provide a source of rich composting materials.

When food and other organic materials end up in the garbage, they create methane (a powerful greenhouse gas) and fail to decompose because they are buried under layers of waste without access to oxygen. Composting these organics instead means we can save and return those valuable resources (water, energy, etc.) back to the land.

What should I do with my organic waste?

Regardless of where you live or work, composting (backyard or apartment/indoor) is an easy and great way to turn those food scraps nutrient-rich compost. If you don't have a garden for your finished compost, consider donating it to a local community or other gardening program!

During farmers' market season, you can also drop off your food scraps at many locations throughout Vancouver. Check here for a list.

For people in multi-family and other buildings, who do not receive food scraps service by municipal garbage pick-up, organics recycling will be operated by independent contractors through building management or other individual arrangements. If you live in an apartment, consider asking your landlord about including food scraps pick-up and starting a program for your building!

More Information

For more information on the 2015 Metro Vancouver Organics Ban, visit the program website here.