Vancouver city council is mandating that all food scraps and green waste will have to be recycled as of next year. But not just next year, in a short five months, effective January 1. Six months ahead of NYC’s ban.
Just this week, the city council agreed to include hotels, restaurants, grocery stores and other commercial and industrial waste generators in a plan to divert all compostable materials from the city’s landfill and transfer stations as of Jan. 1, 2015.
Vancouver began food scraps recycling two years ago for single-family dwellings and some city-serviced, multi-unit buildings, but that only accounts for a third of all organic waste in the city.
This plan of requiring all waste generators to divert their compostable materials by the new year is an effort to meet a similar Metro Vancouver ban on all organic waste at regional landfills.
So far, no municipality has yet to capture organic waste from industrial, commercial and institutional (ICI) producers.
The one significant challenge is that the city doesn’t currently offer pickup service for the ICI sector. As a result, businesses will quickly have to either work with their commercial waste haulers to implement the new city directive or take matters into their own hands and seek out on-site solutions.
The ICI sector is estimated to produce 70 per cent of the city’s organic waste and are considered the big prizes in Vancouver’s effort to reduce waste at landfills by 50 per cent by 2020 over 2008 levels.
Initially, the city intends to educate people about the need to remove all organics from their garbage. But beginning in July, 2015, the city will initiate penalties directed toward large producers of waste of 50 per cent of the tipping fee for garbage loads that contain too much wet waste. Beginning in 2016, medium producers will be targeted, and in 2017, small generators could face fines.
Some of the city’s larger chain restaurants, stores, hotels and producers have already been looking to put food scrap diversion programs in place.
Alternative solutions, such as on-site aerobic technology allowing the digested food waste to slip effortlessly to the sewer systems is technology that has grown in popularity of late. The Eco-Safe Digester has emerged as the leader in Canadian installations primarily because in addition to being a compliant technology in respect to the diversion ban, it gives businesses exposure to the data about what is thrown out in order create less. This is seen as an added bonus.
For as long as people have produced garbage, tossing out the remains of meals has been a fact of life. But now, with a renewed push to cut greenhouse gases, reduce mankind’s environmental footprint, and learn more about what is wasted in order to create less, times are changing for the better.