Zero waste—diverting waste from the landfill— is critical to solving today's climate crisis.
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These priority actions represent important systemic and behavioral changes that can be achieved through engaged partnerships. They support moving to a closed-loop, cradle-to-cradle economy where resources are put to the highest and best use.
In early 2015, Metro Vancouver placed a regional ban on the disposal of food scraps in the garbage. In preparation for this, over the last year 93% of multi-unit residential buildings serviced by us switched over to our Green Bin program for organics.
We worked with buildings that are serviced by private haulers to start an organics disposal program for their buildings. A regional awareness program, led by Metro Vancouver and supported by us helped spread the word that “food isn’t garbage!”
As of May 2014, materials such as milk cartons, Tetra Paks, paper cups, ice cream tubs, and paper/metal containers such as frozen juice cans can go into our curbside recycling program. Styrofoam and plastic bags can be dropped off for recycling at our depots.
Expanded recycling helps divert more waste from the landfill and is a key strategy for meeting the our Zero Waste goal. This expansion was rolled out in part because of the Multi-Materials BC Program, which shifts the responsibility for recycling packaging and paper to the businesses that produce the materials. Programs like this and other extended producer responsibility (EPR) programs help change the way producers do business by driving “cradle-to-cradle” product development.
As part of the Heritage Action Plan, the Green Demolition ByLaw was approved in June 2014. The bylaw states that pre-1940 homes for one or two families must divert 70-90% of waste during demolition. The expected waste that will be diverted from the landfill is around 6,000 to 9,000 tonnes each year.
The plan aims to encourage preservation and renewal of character homes, while increasing the reuse and recycling of materials that hold character value. Across the region, clean wood (lumber and pallets that are unpainted, unstained, free of glue and untreated) makes up approximately 9% of all landfill waste.
Metro Vancouver’s Clean Wood Waste Disposal Ban will be implemented at our transfer stations and landfill. The ban is expected to divert approximately 15,000 tonnes of wood regionally each year. This clean wood can be used as alternative fuel, composting, landscaping, or in select cases, reuse in construction.
The metrics for Zero Waste rely on city and regional waste collection data and models.
Solid waste data is compiled first at a regional level and then at the city level. As a result, Vancouver’s data is always one year behind the reporting period.
These metrics are maintained by the Waste Management and Resource Recovery Division within Engineering Services at the City.
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Demolishing a building in Vancouver often requires at least one permit. Find out the requirements for your project, including for reusing and recycling demolition materials.
Food isn't garbage. Learn more about food scraps recycling and what other items go in your Green Bin.
Make your event more sustainable with our Green Events Planning Guide. How will you manage garbage and recycling? Hire the City, a business or do it yourself.