How can we reach our 2020
Greenest City Targets?

How can we reach our 2020 Greenest City targets?

Extend food waste collection program to include apartments and condos

While the curbside food waste program is terrific, detached homeowners already have the option of composting in their yards. Extending the program to include apartments dramatically reduce municipal waste and will finally make composting available to the growing number of Vancouverites living in high-density buildings (which is also great for the environment).

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    Lesli BoldtLesli Boldt shared this idea  ·   ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
    Elizabeth QuinnElizabeth Quinn shared a merged idea: Composting facilities for apartment dwellers.  ·   · 
    anonymousanonymous shared a merged idea: The city should have compost pick-up for apartment buildings. I'd have to throw out so much less!  ·   · 
    under review  ·  Greenest City Planning TeamAdminGreenest City Planning Team (Admin, CG2020) responded  · 

    The City supports Metro Vancouver’s plans to ban food scraps from the incinerator and landfills by 2015. The City will collaborate with Metro Vancouver to develop and implement a plan to ensure apartments, condos, businesses and institutions have access to food scraps collection programs before the ban comes into effect.

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      • Keystone Cost ReductionKeystone Cost Reduction commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        Make it part of the development permit process. You must provide this service in order to get your permit. Then encourage and assist the enterprises that can provide the service (Growing City is a good example).

        Keystone Cost Reduction

      • Greenest City Planning TeamAdminGreenest City Planning Team (Admin, CG2020) commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        NOTE: Elizabeth Quinn's idea "Composting facilities for apartment dwellers." has been merged with this one.

        I've been using a worm bin on my balcony for two years and it just doesn't work. The two of us eat too many fruits and vegetables for our two large worm bins to keep up with.

      • Melanie C.Melanie C. commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        Yes! give apartment/condo dwellers the same use of large outside bins, like the yard trimming bins house owners use, that are REGULARLY collected just the way garbage is.

        I do not understand why house-dwellers were prioritized for this when most house-dwellers/owners I know actually already have their own composting bins, since they actually have yard space to do something with it! I've had to ask a house-dwelling friend of mine to let me use theirs, because we have no access to compost through the City, and community garden sites only let gardening members utilize their compost (I'm no gardener, but I definitely want to reduce waste by composting). My 2-person apartment can generate at least an 8 L container of compost every week. I have no balcony. I need to keep this in an airtight container at home to keep from getting fruit-flies and take it out regularly.

      • Vera Z.Vera Z. commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        I agree but i have submitted a way to start that .....take the apartment buildings on the west side of denman st and start the trial program in Stanley Park....this way you also reduce transporting to a site far away saving fuel ....park gardens can use the compost as well as be sold to local balcony gardeners.. I submitted this idea

      • apayetteapayette commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        Since Vancouver has a lot of apartment and condo building, this is a no brainer. Imagine all the waste that would be diverted from landfills!

      • Janine BrossardJanine Brossard commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        It would be great to have a compost bin right beside every municipal garbage/recycling bin in the city.

      • Janine BrossardJanine Brossard commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        My children's school just sent a note home saying they are removing the composting facilities due to fruit flies. They are to bring home their composting materials. I think this is a step in the wrong direction. Can VSB do something about this?

      • AlexAlex commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        One centralized approach to composting would be to do what Edmonton has done. They have a very impressive waste management system, where by all garage is sorted with machines to remove all recyclable waste, and then all compostable organic waste is moved into a giant composting facility that accelerates the process. The result is that only about 20% of waste ends up in the landfill (and I believe a new biofuel plant they're building is suppose to reduce it to 10%). The city also then sells the resulting compost to local businesses and homeowners.

      • LynnLynn commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        I wouldn't limit this just to adding apartments and condos, but also to include office buildings. We found a company to service our office compost since the City didn't have such a service (we pay for this service). With the amount of coffee grounds, used paper towel, vegetable and fruit scraps that are thrown into office garbage, it would be highly adviseable to include office towers in the composting plan.

      • Adam HyslopAdam Hyslop commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        One of the things that surprised me most when I moved to Vancouver 2 years ago was the total lack of municipal composting (as well as an inefficient, frustratingly complex recycling system). In many Ontario cities, community-wide composting programs have been in place for years, and I thought Vancouver would have been ahead of the curve. It's great to see they are catching up quickly though, and I agree that multi-unit buildings are pivotal.

        Check out this awesome (& poetic) booklet that was circulated with green carts when they were introduced in the City of Hamilton in 2006: http://www.hamilton.ca/NR/rdonlyres/612E94EB-AE1F-49FD-8A62-0659986D434B/0/GreenCartSmartstory.pdf

      • ben westben west commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        This is vitally important. Removing compostable material from landfills would reduce methane in the atmosphere. It also means more nutrients returning to the soil. This is a no brainer, we should be doing it already.

      • jen.aaldersjen.aalders commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        There are automatic indoor composters that don't emit much smell or use worms. They also create ready to use compost in approx. 14 days. Unfortunately, due to costs not every household is able to acquire one, and we need to make living sustainably accessible to all; which is why it really is pertinent for the government to actually step up to the plate! I agree that composting should really be targeted at high density dwellings; but I do think the most sustainable option is for these types of dwellings is to provide both composting and gardening amenities for the tenants/home owners. If we honestly want to improve our societies way of life we should be taking our cues and wisdom from nature (ie: ECOSYSTEMS).

      • Lesli BoldtLesli Boldt commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        Arthur G. - **** composters can be great...if maintained properly (which is hard, especially in a closed environment like an apartment). I had a **** composter in my apartment for about a year 15 years ago in Victoria. Trouble was, depending on my food scraps that week, the bin was either too wet (worms oozing out of the side vents...unhappy worms, not to mention the mess and smell) or too dry (worms dying). It was tough to manage. And then, the compost...I'd tuck it into the boulevards near my house, but I didn't have a balcony so couldn't use for my own plants. Then when I moved to an apartment with a balcony and started the bin again, the dramatic temperature changes meant **** composting was only an option for part of the year.

        Short answer is, if there aren't more traditional composting options available, even in apartment buildings (e.g. rooftop gardens, on-site gardens, community compost sites or compost bins), I think residential collection is the best option (and arguably, more necessary for us apartment dwellers than those with yards already).

        I know that residential pickup was the easiest first step (and goodness knows many homeowners don't compost), but we need to get high-density homes up the priority list for composting.

      • Arthur G.Arthur G. commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        For those interested, there are several types of self-contained vermi-composting units available that can work quite well inside apartment units. (If they're well kept, they tend to be smell, mess and hassle free.) What do do with the composted materials once you have them can be a little trickier, but, if you have a balcony, some nice pot-grown tomatoes/vegetable/plants is always an option (and you get some of that urban agriculture stuff happening to boot).

      • jen.aaldersjen.aalders commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        All efforts to encourage and enable our community and modern society to live more sustainably are great! While having grocers compost and accept compost from their customers is a great addition to a municipal composting system, it does not provide a feasible and accessible option for everyone. I have been wanting my building to have some kind of composting facility or service, as it would dramatically reduce my house holds waste by approx. 80-90% (most of my waste is vegetable scraps). However, to save on the emissions from transporting the compost it would be better to create a by-law for multi-tenant buildings to have on-site composting. This would also allow tenants access to fertilizer for their plants or gardens; and of course I would like to see buildings with green roofs and facilities for tenant gardens (eg. community gardens).

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