VICTORIA - International Compost Awareness Week (May 6-12) is being celebrated in communities throughout the province, as it is every day, through innovative programs that are substantially reducing the amount of organic materials dumped in landfills.
"Supported by provincial policies and initiatives, municipalities around the province are turning kitchen scraps into cost savings," said Minister of Environment Terry Lake. "It's efforts by all of us that will get organics out of our landfills, while at the same time reducing greenhouse gas emissions."
British Columbia is one of the few jurisdictions in Canada that regulates composting. Introduced in 2002, the B.C. Organic Matter Recycling Regulation ensures that composting operations throughout the province meet specific standards for the production and quality of finished compost. As well, the Climate Action Charter provides a framework for communities to include organics in their GHG reduction strategies as part of their charter commitments.
Municipalities helping to drive residential and institutional initiatives include:
- Metro Vancouver: Curb-side collection of organics will soon reach 16 local governments and close to one million people in Metro Vancouver. Cities in that region are making great strides reducing the quantity of food scraps disposed in landfills, while providing fertile ground for growing a composting industry. From Bowen Island to Pitt Meadows to Port Coquitlam, the Metro Vancouver area represents a boom in compost collaboration. The regional district's goal is to increase waste diversion to 70 per cent by 2015. To date, it has achieved 55 per cent.
- City of Port Coquitlam: Beginning in 2008, Port Coquitlam became the first city in Metro Vancouver to start curb-side collection of compostables. The program expanded in the following years to include bi-weekly collection of garbage, kitchen compost containers and collection at schools. Today they reach over 11,000 homes and institutions and have reduced waste going to landfills by 26 per cent, saving $164,500 in operations for 2010. The City of Port Coquitlam has been recognized across B.C. for its innovative approach to waste reduction.
- Regional District of Nanaimo: What began in 2007 as a pilot project by the Regional District of Nanaimo has quickly grown to include curb-side collection of residential food and compostable kitchen scraps from over 52,000 urban and rural homes region-wide. In addition to residential food waste diversion, more than 750 commercial and institutional waste generators in the region including small cafes, supermarkets, schools and health-care institutions divert their organic waste from landfill disposal. Since 2005, these waste generators have diverted over 3,400 tonnes of organic waste each year.
- Dawson Creek: As part of its motto "Sustainable Dawson Creek", this northern community takes composting very seriously. The city's composting site works closely with the NEAT (Northern Environmental Action Team) in promoting and encouraging people to learn how to build a composter, or find out where to buy one. In 2008, the community recycled 4,602 tonnes of waste, which was the largest amount recycled by any community in the Peace Region.
B.C. Ministry of Environment Newsroom: www.gov.bc.ca/env/index.html
Regional District of Nanaimo Green Bin Program: www.beyondcomposting.ca/
Metro Vancouver food recycling and composting: www.metrovancouver.org/services/solidwaste/Pages/default.aspx
City of Port Coquitlam: www.portcoquitlam.ca/Citizen_Services/Garbage__Recycling_and_Green_Waste_Collection_Services.htm
B.C. Ministry of Environment Regulations:
BC Climate Action Charter: www.livesmartbc.ca/community/charter.html
Ministry of Environment
Regional District of Nanaimo
City of Dawson Creek