Vancouver condos and apartments face mandatory food scrap recycling

City wants programs in place by 2015

Condominium complexes and businesses will be required to have recycling services for food scraps in place by 2015 or face a penalty, says the citys chief engineer.

Peter Judd said the requirement and penalties for owners of multi-family buildings and businesses will be outlined in detail in the coming weeks at a council meeting.

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Yes, people will have to participate and, yes, ultimately there will be penalties if they dont, Judd told the Courier. We need to come back to council with recommendations and what those regulations might look like for business and multi-family [buildings].

The reason for the citys push for the food scraps recycling requirement is connected to Metro Vancouvers solid waste management plan that was approved by the provincial government.

The plan says all organic material in the region must be diverted from the landfill by 2015. If the city doesnt comply with the requirement, it would find itself in trouble with the province.

Judd suggested city bylaws or Metro Vancouver regulations would be used to enforce owners to comply with the management plan.

People have to organize recycling now, they have to organize garbage collection now, he said, noting societys desire to recycle. It gets done.

In addition, many condo residents and business owners have their own recycling systems in place. But whether owners without recycling in their buildings, particularly for food scraps, will comply with the plan is unclear at this point.

Terry Clark, the acting director of the B.C. Apartment Owners and Managers Association, said the recycling requirement is an issue for owners and he planned to discuss it with the board of directors Sept. 20.

Im on it and once the board has determined some policy on it, Id be more than happy to share that, Clark said.

London Drugs, which operates 20 stores in Vancouver, expects to have all of its 76 stores in Western Canada equipped with a food scrap recycling system by November.

Maury McCausland, who oversees the companys recycling program, said the London Drugs that recently opened at the former Olympic Village site has a food scrap system.

Ive probably got six streams of recycling in our lunch roomsfrom organics to paper to soft plastic to hard plastic to refundable bottles, said McCausland, noting the companys shift to recycling saves money. Garbage costs money and landfill fees are not going down and thats why were really doing it. It just makes really good business sense to pull this stuff out of the garbage and put it into recycling stream, where Im paying half the cost that I normally would to landfill it.

The city has a list of private companies on its website that haul food waste and Judd urged owners of condominium complexes and businesses to search one out.

Last week, the city announced the expansion of its food scraps recycling program to approximately 90,000 single-family homes and duplexes.

Prior to the program being implemented, almost 40 per cent of garbage sent to the landfill was food scraps and other materials that naturally degrade.

Its the food scraps going in the dump that creates all the methane and methane is a terrible greenhouse gasits like 20 times more potent than Co2, Judd explained. So if you take all of that food waste out of the landfill, youll be generating much less gas. Its a huge win for the environment.

mhowell@vancourier.com

Twitter: @Howellings

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