Vancouver moves to double food scraps recycling

Food scraps from all homes and duplexes in Vancouver will be picked up weekly starting next month, as part of a plan to double organic waste collection this year, Mayor Gregor Robertson announced Thursday.

Food waste accounts for 40 per cent of household garbage, said Robertson, as he unveiled the next phase of the city’s residential food scraps recycling program.

“That's a valuable resource. We don't want to be filling up the landfill with material that we can recycle into compost and be using in gardens and recycling through the city's system,” Robertson said.

Garbage pick-up will go down to once every two weeks, while green bins will be picked up weekly starting on May 1 in a program that will be rolled out over ten weeks, he said.

City staff is still looking at how to include condos and apartment buildings in the food scraps recycling program.

Meanwhile, the city will also spend $5.4 million — $16 per household — to build a new facility to compost an estimated 50 tonnes of organic waste a year.

The new transfer station will be built in the same place as the current facility on West Kent Avenue between Cambie and Main Street, known as Manitoba Yard.

It's expected to be in operation for a minimum of five years before any major relocation.

The current site is close to stylish new condo developments. Part of the request says that odour management will be a critical design consideration.

Some 26,000 tonnes of food scraps and yard waste — enough to fill 10 Olympic swimming pools — went through the current station in South Vancouver in 2011, and the city says it is expecting to collect twice that amount this year.

The changes are part of the ongoing expansion of Vancouver’s residential food scraps recycling program introduced in April 2010, and the next step towards the Metro Vancouver ban on all organic material going to the landfill by 2015.

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