Mayor's Report - February 2017

The Importance of Diverting Organic Waste from Landfills

Mayor Ralph Drew

Currently, even with our region's relatively successful recycling level of 66% for the single-family residential sector, we still generate well over one million tonnes of garbage each year. As a region, Metro Vancouver residents have collectively agreed to increase the recycling rate to 70%, and recycling organics and food waste is one of the key actions to achieving that objective.

Food waste doesn't break down well in the landfill because once it is buried there is no oxygen to help it decay. In the landfill, organic waste creates methane, which is a potent greenhouse gas that contributes to global warming. However, if organic waste is recycled, and allowed to break down under the right conditions, it can be processed into useful compost or biofuel.

Organics, kitchen and food waste account for an estimated 40% of all Metro Vancouver garbage, and Metro Vancouver now has an organics disposal ban that includes almost all types of food and food-soiled papers, such as fruit, vegetables, meat, fish, eggs, dairy, frozen food, packaged food, floral, deli and bakery items. During 2016, Belcarra residents achieved a very credible 29.7% diversion of organic waste, but there is still plenty of scope to in increase that number toward 40%.

Metro Vancouver also has fines associated with the enforcement of its disposal bans; however, the priority is not to develop an extensive fining process. The objective is to keep food scraps and other organic waste out of the landfill. The organics disposal ban is an important way to manage organic waste, and like blue box recycling, this practice will seem more normal over time.

The composting facilities in our region make high-quality compost, but function more effectively without plastics, and this includes those plastics labelled "compostable" or similar. As a consequence, residential organic waste collection programs do not accept plastic liners used for food collection containers. However, paper liners are acceptable, and there are different sizes of leak resistant food waste bags for this purpose available at grocery stores. If a load of food waste comes to a facility for compost or biofuel and contains plastic bags, it will likely be put back into the garbage. Use leak resistant paper liners for food collection containers, and rinse the containers to keep them clean.

Belcarra's organics diversion program has had a very successful start, but there remains more that Belcarra residents can do to assist the region in achieving its waste diversion objective. Please ensure that your household participates in diverting its organics and food waste, and help keep waste disposal costs from increasing in the future.


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Village of Belcarra
4084 Bedwell Bay Road
Belcarra, BCCANADA
V3H 4P8

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