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Industrial, Commercial and Institutional (ICI) Food Scraps Disposal Ban

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This webpage provides information and updates on the implementation of the Industrial, Commercial and Institutional (ICI) Food Scraps Disposal Ban.

In June 2019 the RDNO’s organics diversion strategy which includes a Draft Implementation Plan for an Industrial, Commercial and Institutional (ICI) Food Waste Disposal Ban was endorsed by the RDNO Board of Directors. The ban is to be implemented over a two year period which will involve: consultation, developing ban definitions (ie. materials included, organizations affected, enforcement and exemptions), education and ongoing communications and updates with stakeholders. Enforcement of the ban is expected to commence after January 2022. Prior to implementation of this ban, Municipal Solid Waste Management Bylaw (No.2832, 2019) will need to be amended to specify materials included, organizations affected, enforcement and exemption and the implementation date.

RDNO will design and implement the ban in collaboration with waste haulers, commercial food scraps generators and composting companies. Waste haulers and their customers are encouraged to devise cost effective systems to comply with the ban that meets their individual situation. The RDNO’s role is to facilitate communication, innovation, competition and compliance but not get involved with direct program delivery. Enforcement of this ban will consist of load inspections and surcharges at disposal facilities by staff as well as on-site education and compliance checks.

The Problem with Food Scraps Going into Landfills

A 2012 Waste Composition Study found that Food Scraps organics comprised over 23% of the ICI waste stream. If additional materials including compostable paper products, meat, bones, breads, non-liquid dairy and fats, which also have potential for resource recovery, are included there is potential to divert over 30% of the ICI waste stream. 

When food and other organic materials end up in landfills they:

  • Create methane, a greenhouse gas over 25 times more potent than carbon dioxide.
  • Use up a lot of precious landfill space. Buried under layers of waste and without access to oxygen, food can’t decompose properly.
  • Increase leachate which is a liquid produced from the high water content in food scraps. This liquid percolates through other waste in the landfill making it a potentially hazardous and difficult material to manage.
  • Reduce the recovery of resources such as compost which can improve soil health.

ICI Food Scraps Disposal Ban Implementation Timeline

In response to COVID-19’s impact on local businesses and organizations, the RDNO Board of Directors passed the following resolution: “That the Industrial, Commercial and Institutional (ICI) Food Scraps Disposal Ban Implementation be delayed by six months with the initial enforcement of the ban commencing no sooner than January 1, 2022.”  As a result please note that the following timeline has amended dates to reflect this delay.

July - December 2019

Consult with stakeholder organizations (commercial generators and hauling companies) to:

  • Identify current status of food scraps diversion in the region
  • Share information about the ICI Food Scraps Ban
  • Finalize the disposal ban framework (ie. definitions of waste types, premises impacted and exemptions).
  • An information session was held at the RDNO Office November 2019. The presentation from this session can be found here.

Provide information resources and updates on food scraps diversion on the RDNO website.

July 2020 – January 2021

Identify a list of large and medium ICI Food Scraps generators and develop a database to improve communications with generators during the implementation stage and track their status.

Respond and log stakeholder concerns and progress, continuing to develop the database.

Develop a Food Scraps Diversion Online Toolkit that will include content on why it is important to divert food scraps from garbage, what materials can be compostable and what materials can contaminate compost.

January 2021 – January 2022

Evaluate the needs for developing Educational Materials beyond the Online Toolkit based on what haulers are providing customers and feedback to the Food Scraps Diversion Online Toolkit.

It is expected that waste haulers will work with their customers individually during this period to ensure they can comply with the ban.

January 2022 – June 2022

RDNO Inspectors will monitor food scraps content in loads from the ICI sector brought to Diversion and Disposal Facilities to educate, check progress and acquire feedback during the initial phase of the enforcement period.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who would be affected by the ICI Food Scraps Disposal Ban?

The disposal ban would apply to organizations that generate food scraps including:

  • Restaurants and Food Service Establishments
  • Retail Food Stores
  • Wholesale Food Suppliers
  • Hotels and Lodging
  • Schools
  • Health Care Facilities

What materials would the ban target?

Materials targeted are pending future RDNO Board of Directors approval of the bylaw amendment. Materials currently being considered are raw and cooked food scraps from commercial premises and may include:

  • fruits and vegetables
  • meat, fish, shellfish, poultry, bones and egg shells
  • dairy products
  • bread, pasta and baked goods
  • tea bags, coffee grounds and filters
  • food soiled paper including napkins, paper towels, cardboard and paper plates (items with a plastic lining such as coffee cups are excluded).

How does one divert food scraps from garbage?

There are several ways to divert food scraps from garbage:

1. Start by reducing avoidable food waste which will save time and money. The following resources can help your organization save money, protect the environment and improve local food security:

2. Onsite Composting. Organizations can compost food scraps on their premises using low or high tech systems that are capable of processing between 2-100 tonnes per year. This involves ongoing commitment by staff and management to manage and process compost and find uses for finished compost.  For more information on systems please check out the following resources:

3.  Hire a Commercial Hauler to provide collection services and haul to a composting facility.

How much space is required to collect food scraps?

It depends on how much food scraps your business produces and how frequent collection is. A great way to understand where, how much and when waste is being generated is by doing a waste audit.

What are some questions I should be asking food scraps haulers before I consider hiring them?

  • What are the fees for the collection service (this depends on collection frequency and types of containers provided)?
  • How frequent are collections?
  • What types of materials are collected?
  • What are the fees for replacing missing or broken bins?
  • What is the fee for an additional unscheduled pickup?
  • What are the types and sizes of bins provided?
  • Are containers washed and if so how often and at what cost?
  • Is there any kind of odor control provided for containers?
  • Are containers lined with compostable plastic bags, biodegradable plastic bags or paper bags and are there extra costs for these liners?
  • Where would containers be placed?
  • What happens when there is a contaminated load with unaccepted items?
  • What happens to food scraps after they are collected?
  • Are the amounts collected periodically reported and to whom?
  • Do you provide additional containers such as kitchen catcher containers?
  • Do you provide educational materials such as posters, pamphlets, presentations or training sessions for staff?