Vancouver Hoovers Up Food Waste

January 1 is a great day to be a Vancouver trash collector. Starting then, the regular trash will be blessedly free of food waste.

A city-wide ban on disposing food in landfills goes into effect in 2015. While the practice will technically be outlawed, Metro Vancouver won’t begin fining anyone for six months, and even longer for high-rise buildings. As of now, the city is pursuing outreach, support and advice to citizens, using the “Food Isn’t Garbage” message, conveyed by these guys

Banning food from landfills tends to lead to the the old ‘carrot vs. stick’ discussion. That very question is raised in a piece on whether or not to ban garburators. Given that Vancouverites are voluntarily ramping down usage, there may not be a need for a ban.

One could make the same argument for Vancouver food waste separation, given the city’s incredibly high recycling rate (60 percent) and its existing organics recycling infrastructure (which is a common rationale for instituting landfill organics bans!). Currently, 95 percent of single-family homes have curbside food waste collection! Instead, Vancouver lawmakers decided they couldn’t wait for slow change, and legislated food waste out of landfills.

Finally, it’s worth noting the varying media framing on the landfill ban. This also occurred in several New England states with similar bans, but I’m always amazed how the same news is handled differently in two publications. For example, there’s “Food Banned from…Trash” and then “Food Waste to be Separated from Garbage.” That’s quite a difference for the same end result.

At least it’s an environmentally sound, happy end result.

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