Langley City and Township residents will have time to get used to the new waste disposal rules that ban food from regular garbage.
When the new rules take effect on Jan. 1, Metro Vancouver promises initial enforcement will focus on “large generators of food waste” like supermarkets, restaurants and hotels.
During the first six months no penalties will be charged in order to give residents and businesses time to implement effective plans for separating food waste from other garbage, the regional authority says.
Starting in July, loads of garbage with “excess” food waste, defined as more than 25 per cent food scraps, will be charged 50 per cent extra at waste transfer stations.
People who accidentally include smaller amounts of banned food waste won’t be fined, Metro says, but the enforcement will become stricter in 2016, when the maximum allowable amount of food waste will be gradually lowered to 10 per cent.
Single family homes that get curbside pickup can put food waste in a “green can,” a specially labelled garbage container, for pickup.
Kitchen scraps and yard waste like grass clippings and Christmas trees are allowed in the cans, but no soil, animal waste, painted wood, thick branches or anything with plastic, including using a plastic garbage bag to store the waste.
People must get a sticker from the City or Township to identify which garbage container is being used as “green can.”
They are available at the main civic facilities in the City and Township.
(For more information, including other ways of obtaining the stickers, visit http://www.tol.ca/Services-Contact/Garbage-and-Recycling/Green-Can or http://www.city.langley.bc.ca/index.php/residents/garbage-and-recycling for more details).
People who live in rural areas without curbside collection will have do their own sorting before they go to the Langley waste transfer station.
Metro says residents of townhouses and apartment complexes should talk to their landlords, property managers, and waste haulers.
Businesses are expected to do the same.
Metro says commercial digesters, which allow businesses to dispose of organic food waste into the sewer system are “not currently prohibited” by Metro Vancouver’s sewer use regulations, but they do require a permit to operate legally.
Metro Vancouver has been planning the ban on food waste since 2012.
The regional authority said it has consulted widely with grocery stores, restaurants and shopping mall food courts, and institutions such as school districts and health authorities.
“We send far too much garbage to the landfill and food waste comprises about 40 per cent of residential garbage,” says Richmond Mayor Malcolm Brodie, Chair of Metro Vancouver’s Zero Waste Committee.
Metro Vancouver says it has one of the highest recycling rates in North America at 60 per cent.
The organics ban is expected to increase the rate to 70 per cent in 2015 and 80 per cent by 2020.
More detailed information about the ban can be viewed at http://www.city.langley.bc.ca/ or at http://www.tol.ca/Services-Contact/Garbage-and-Recycling/Garbage.
Information is also available at the Recycling Council of BC hotline: 604-732-9253.