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Expanded Green Bin Program marks its second anniversary

September 12 2014

Kitchen container and Green Bin

September marks the two-year anniversary of the City's expanded Green Bin Program that allows residents to recycle all their food scraps.

The program is now available to:

  • Approximately 100,000 single-family and duplex households
  • 1,800 multi-unit residential buildings that currently receive City waste collection services

Program success: More organics have been collected and less garbage is going to the landfill

Since we switched to weekly organics pick-up and bi-weekly garbage pick-up in 2012, we have collected approximately 64 per cent more compostable organics and 40 per cent less garbage. Each year, 24,500 tonnes less garbage is going to the landfill.

The City has also contributed funding to the Food Scraps Drop Spot Program through a Greenest City Grant that serves residents living in multi-unit residential building who don’t receive City collection service. As of July 1, 2014, the program expanded to seven locations and has collected more than 120 tonnes of food scraps from 38,000 drops since the program began in 2011.

Next steps: Preparing for the Metro Vancouver disposal ban of all food scraps going to the landfill

Achieving the Greenest City Zero Waste Goal to reduce solid waste going to the landfill or incinerators by 50 per cent from 2008 levels requires recovering organics from the waste stream.

The City continues to make changes now to prepare for the Metro Vancouver region-wide organics-disposal ban on all food scraps that will take effect in January 2015. The ban will mean that food scraps will no longer be permitted in regular garbage. We are also intending to make food scraps collection and diversion programs mandatory across all sectors of the City.

History of the Green Bin Program

The Green Bin Program is an initiative of the Greenest City 2020 Action Plan to:

  • Reduce the amount of garbage Vancouver produces
  • Cut down on global warming pollution
  • Create a useful compost product for local gardens

The City received strong support across all sectors for its plan to recycle food scraps during the Greenest City public engagement process, where more than 9,500 people, most living in Vancouver, actively contributed.

First introduced in 2010, the Green Bin Program allowed residents that received City waste collection services to add raw fruit and vegetables to their Green Bin. 

In 2011, the City launched a pilot project to test an expanded program where 2,000 homes could recycle all food scraps and food-soiled paper in their Green Bins. We also swapped the frequency of garbage bin and Green Bin collection. The pilot helped us test the impacts of switching the collection frequency, test different ways of communicating program information, and gather key operational information.

We expanded the program in 2012 to include all single-family and duplex households, and 1,800 multi-unit residential buildings that receive our collection services. 

How we engaged with residents

Green Team Ambassadors attended community events and high-traffic community centres to assist residents participating in the program. Ambassadors:

  • Attended 28 events
  • Conducted 6,916 interactions
  • Participated in 4,285 conversations

City staff had direct contact with representatives and residents of over 1,100 multi-unit residential buildings through:

  • Phone conversations
  • On-site assessments
  • Enrollment meetings with building representatives
  • Lobby talks with building residents

Find out more about the Green Bin Program

Yard waste bins and bags

Food scraps and yard waste

Food isn't garbage. Learn more about food scraps recycling and what other items go in your Green Bin.

How we are working towards our goal of becoming the world's greenest city by 2020

Couple at dusk on False Creek Habitat Island in Vancouver

Greenest City Action Plan

Greenest City is a bold initiative that addresses Vancouver's environmental challenges.