Vancouver council hatches food scrap plan

7/10/2011 22:47:34 PM

Vancouver could have more compost and less garbage in its future if city council gives the go-ahead Thursday to a pilot that would expand its food scrap collection program.

“It’s a great step forward and a long time coming,” Coun. Andrea Reimer said Sunday.

Currently, the city collects vegetable, fruit, eggshell, coffee and tea scraps from single-family properties bi-weekly, in addition to weekly garbage collection.

If council approves the pilot, about 2,000 single-family properties in the Sunset and Riley Park neighbourhoods would have compostable food scraps, including dairy, meat, fish, and food-soiled paper items, collected every week and garbage shifted to bi-weekly pickup.

The change would start in September and run for six months.

Reimer said Western Canada and the city are far behind the rest of the world when it comes to waste management.

“Compost is our single most requested service that we don’t provide,” she said.

According to the city, compostable scraps make up about 35 per cent, or 129,000 tonnes, of the garbage dumped in the Vancouver landfill every year.

“It’s about turning waste into a resource,” Reimer said, adding that once compost is recovered, it can be reused in gardens and nurseries, and by landscape companies.

Reimer said under the pilot, compost needs to be collected every week because dairy, meat and fish putrefy quickly and anything left longer than a week poses health, safety and pest risks.

Garbage would only be picked up every second week because it would be foodless and smaller in volume, she added.

The pilot also includes full weekly compost collection for two or three local businesses and three or four low-rise apartment buildings for four months, starting in November. Garbage collection for them would remain the same.

The project costs $383,000, which would be covered by fees the city charges for commercial garbage to be disposed at its landfill, according to a city report.

The pilots would provide the chance to fine-tune the system for possible city-wide implementation mid-2012.

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