RCC members may be aware that in 2011, Metro Vancouver announced that beginning in 2015 organic materials (all compostable material, including food, food scraps, food-soiled papers and packaged food) will be banned at landfill. This fundamental change is part of the general effort to divert materials destined for landfill in British Columbia.  The result is that all businesses and residents in Metro Vancouver will have to dispose of their organics in an alternate way (for example, composting). There is low public awareness of the upcoming ban.

There is a high likelihood that neighbouring jurisdictions will emulate Metro Vancouver’s ban. (The Regional District of Nanaimo already bans commercial food waste.)

The exact date of the ban is unknown at this time but Metro Vancouver plans for it to be in the first half of 2015. Metro Vancouver staff expects that the first six months will be a transition period. Metro Vancouver is currently conducting consultations and a survey about thresholds, surcharges and materials included in the period following the transition period (for 2016 and 2017).

Metro Vancouver’s survey on the organic disposal ban (and public comment) can be accessed here.

Many haulers serving businesses already have separate organic collection. Members who do not have collection of organics will want to be aware of the need to have arrangements in place at the time the ban comes into effect. Metro Vancouver advises that there is sufficient existing capacity to process Metro Vancouver’s organic materials within Metro Vancouver itself. (Transfer of such material across regional district boundaries is not permitted.)

Metro Vancouver is holding the third in a series of public consultation workshops in late May and is considering holding specific workshop for various sectors. Additionally, Metro Vancouver is interested in working with grocers, food banks and the B.C. Centre for Disease Control to develop guidelines for food donations. If you have interest in attending the late May workshop or a retail-specific workshop, or are interested in working with Metro Vancouver on the development of guidelines for food donations, please contact Greg Wilson at RCC.

If you would like information concerning RCC’s sustainability principles, please contact Philippe Cantin, Manager, Sustainability, at [email protected].

Next Steps:

RCC will continue to monitor plans for implementation of the organic materials ban in Metro Vancouver and will update members when there is a decision upon an exact date for the ban.

For information, please contact Greg Wilson, Director, Government Relations, British Columbia, at 604-730-5254 or [email protected]