What you need to know about Metro Vancouver’s Organic Waste Ban

New rules for organic waste such as food scraps are coming into effect for the Metro Vancouver region this year. The changes will affect a wide cross-section of Metro Vancouver businesses and residents, including waste haulers, public facilities, the food services industry, multi-family buildings, and some single family homes.  Here’s an overview of some of the key things you need to know, plus links to alternate language versions of the video: (French, JapaneseMandarin, Punjabi, and Tagalog). For additional information and background, visit the Metro Vancouver Organics Disposal Ban web page.

A change is coming in the way we handle food waste in the Metro Vancouver region in 2015.

“So the change that’s coming in 2015 is we are going to have to separate our food and our kitchen scraps from the rest of our garbage, explains Greg Moore, Metro Vancouver Board Chair. “Just as we’ve done recycling for decades now, we are going to have to do the same thing with organics. And it’s going to be different if you live in a single family home, or you live in a multi-family (building), or you’re at school or in your business.”

If you’ve been separating food scraps and organic waste at home, you’re already a part of this change. But now, the Metro Vancouver regional district is expanding this shift in waste disposal — to include businesses, schools, and public facilities across our region.

“Everyone is affected by this ban, whether you are at home, at work, or out in the community,” says Moore. “We need to think differently. We need to think about how do we separate our organics, our recycling, and our solid waste.”

The new waste disposal rules are being introduced by Metro Vancouver, after consultation with local governments and businesses throughout the region, some of whom have already made the switch.

“Most single family homes in this region already have organics pick ups,” explains Moore. “We know that restaurants and businesses and some schools have already embraced this change. And we look upon those leaders to help others as we bring forward this change into Metro Vancouver.”

The new rules for food scraps will come into effect in the new year. However, Metro Vancouver is hoping to facilitate a smooth transition — by giving waste haulers and their customers time to adjust to the new rules. Mayor Moore explains how compliance and enforcement efforts will be phased in.

“So although the ban comes in on Jan 1st 2015 there will be a six month window where we will work with the haulers to identify the organics material that’s in their garbage. After the six month grace period enforcement will be phased in to enforce compliance.”

Changing the way we handle waste has long-term benefits for our region. It reduces our dependence on landfills, cuts down on greenhouse gas emissions, and creates new opportunities to repurpose organic materials.

“Separating out our food waste from our garbage makes sense from so many different perspectives. It allows us to take out that good quality material and create compost with it, or put it into a bio-energy facility to fuel engines. It’s something we should do now to protect our environment now and into the future.

For more information on the new food waste rules, useful tips for implementing waste separation strategies, and print and video educational resources  please visit the Metro Vancouver Organics Disposal Ban web page.