By John Kendler, Special Guest Blogger

 

The Vancouver Sun recently published an article by Randy Shore titled Metro Vancouver’s Green Waste Diversion: A Progress Report (available here: http://www.vancouversun.com/technology/Metro+Vancouver+green+waste+diversion+progress+report/9956483/story.html )

According to the article, the total amount of waste produced by single-family homes in Metro Vancouver is down by 66,000 metric tonnes compared to 2011, while region-wide diversion is up from 55% to 58%

This progress comes as no big surprise to those in the waste and recycling industry who have been on the front lines helping to improve current programs and implement new ones in an effort to increase diversion rates. Indeed, I think I can speak for all of us when I say we are ecstatic to now have hard numbers to back up what we have already known for some time.

The numbers also completely invalidate critiques levelled by some that Metro Vancouver is more interested in waste management than waste diversion. The key reason that curbside (and now ICI) organics programs have popped up in the numbers and at the speeds that they have is without question because of Metro’s incoming organics ban (which was prudently announced a few years ago to allow for thoughtful implementation prior to coming into effect). And the organics ban is just one initiative of many that has come/will come from Metro and its member municipalities as part of the effort to get to 70% diversion.

But perhaps most satisfying for me, is that these findings now clearly discredit the arguments recently made by some that diversion has hit a brick wall in Metro Vancouver, and that it is futile to continue pursuing the same tired old methods (namely source-separation) that have clearly run their course. The amazing success of the as yet young single-family organics programs, and the potential of multi-family programs (already in place in some municipalities such as New Westminster, and in pilot stages such as the Trash Talk program in Vancouver – of which my own building was a proud and highly successful participant), are clear evidence that there are still gains to be made that will get us to even the aspirational goal of 80% by 2020, within the existing paradigm.