The New Year is a time for fresh starts, new routines, and establishing healthy habits.
And beginning this Jan. 1, Township of Langley residents and businesses â€“ along with those throughout Metro Vancouver â€“ need to take action to keep their food waste separate from garbage.
New rules are being enforced by the Metro Vancouver Regional District in 2015 to help keep food scraps out of the landfill. Banned items include raw food, plate scrapings, leftover food, and meats.
Wasted food is one of the regionâ€™s largest sources of methane, a strong greenhouse gas that contributes to global warming. Methane is created as food slowly decomposes in landfills, because there is not enough oxygen to help the scraps properly decay as they rot.
â€œIf you havenâ€™t been using your Green Can, now is the time to start,â€ said Township solid waste coordinator Debbie Fleming. She encourages those who receive Green Can collection service to take advantage of the organics collection service.
â€œThere are many people who are using the Green Can program and their efforts are making a great difference,â€ she noted. â€œIt isnâ€™t hard to do, and it is one of those habits that can have a huge impact on our environment.â€
â€œBy participating in the Green Can program, residents can rest assured they are fully complying with the ban,â€ said Ryan Schmidt, the Townshipâ€™s manager of energy and solid waste.
Residents who live in multi-family complexes like townhomes and row homes may receive food waste collection services from the Township if they fall within the municipalityâ€™s collection zones. Stratas should contact the Townshipâ€™s Solid Waste Department at 604-532-7300 to determine if they are eligible for the service.
Multi-family residential complexes, rural properties, and industrial, commercial, and institutional operations that are not part of the service area are still required to separate their food waste from their garbage and have it collected by an organics collection contractor.
A list of potential collection contractors can be found on the Townshipâ€™s website at tol.ca/Services-Contact/Garbage-and-Recycling/Garbage/Private-Collection-Services.
Residents are also encouraged to use a backyard composter for raw fruit and vegetable scraps, although meat and dairy cannot go into backyard composters.
Initially, Metro Vancouver will focus its enforcement on super markets, major restaurants, hotels, and other businesses that generate a lot of food waste. During this education period, no penalties will be charged.
However, starting in July, waste haulers that generate loads of garbage that exceed the amount of food scraps allowed can be charged 50 per cent of the loadâ€™s total tipping fee.
The new rules will be enforced as waste haulers deliver garbage to regional landfills and transfer stations for inspection.
Metro Vancouverâ€™s new organic waste rules can be found online by clicking here.