In 2019 the RDNO Board of Directors endorsed a plan for regulating the disposal of commercial food waste in the region. Potential stakeholders were informed about the proposed regulation at several events in late 2019 and early 2020. With the onset of the COVID 19 pandemic, this implementation was delayed.
The RDNO Board of Directors have approved a bylaw amendment to regulate Commercial Food Waste disposal. The bylaw amendment will come into effect July 1, 2022 which will start with a six month information and education period focused on large generators of food waste.
Food Waste makes up the largest component of landfilled materials for the commercial sector in the RDNO. Expanding organics diversion in this sector is an important step in meeting the region’s and province’s solid waste management goals. This involves reducing the annual per capita disposal rate by over 30% by 2028.
When food and other organic materials end up in landfills they:
- Generate methane, a greenhouse gas over 25 times more potent than carbon dioxide. Landfill gas collection systems will capture the methane, but most landfill gas collection systems will only capture up to 75% of the methane (meaning that 25% or more still escapes to the atmosphere).
- Use up limited 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 difficult material to manage.
- Reduce the recovery of resources such as compost which can improve soil health.
Also, wasting edible food is not sustainable, it takes a lot of energy and resources to grow, harvest, transport, package, store and dispose of wasted food.
Implementation & Enforcement
An amendment to RDNO Municipal Solid Waste Management Bylaw (No.2832, 2019) that will add Commercial Food Waste as a Regulated Material and define materials included and organizations affected will take place on July 1, 2022. The first six months after the bylaw amendment will be an education and information period and there will not be surcharges for commercial food waste disposal at RDNO Diversion & Disposal Facilities. After the information and education period, the initial enforcement will focus on loads that primarily contain food waste (this has been identified as roll-off bins coming from large grocers and food processors that do not have food waste diversion programs). After July 1, 2023, further enforcement to loads coming from multiple sources and other sectors of the food service industry will be considered.
Guides & Resources
Industry Food Donation Guidelines (BC Centre for Disease Control)
Food Waste Avoidance Toolkits (BC Government Resources)
Recycling and Composting Signage (Courtesy of Metro Vancouver)
Frequently Asked Questions
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