Reported by Alice D’Eon
Beginning in 2015, Metro Vancouver will enact a bylaw banning all food scraps and compostable materials from landfills, a goal Langara College has been working on for over a year.
The food scrap ban will require major changes in the way most commercial buildings manage their waste. According to the Metro Vancouver website, grocery stores for example will have to de-package all individually wrapped unsold food before it can be removed to an appropriate outlet. Langara, however, has had structures in place for effective composting since April 2013.
“Chartwells, Starbucks, Quiznos and Tim Hortons are composting 100 per cent of their organic waste. They’re doing a terrific job,” said Joyce Robson, manager of facilities services at Langara.
While Langara is only one small organization in a sprawling city, every load of organics that gets diverted from the landfill makes a difference.
Patrick Chauo, a project engineer for the waste management branch of Metro Vancouver says “diverting food scraps away from the landfill will have tremendous impact on reducing production of greenhouse gases in the form of methane.”
Not as easy as it may seem
It sounds simple enough, but ensuring that every piece of waste is being deposited in the correct container takes a concerted effort.
“They’re very dedicated to making sure they don’t mix up things. They have many bins in the kitchen and they’re all properly labeled,” said Robson.
Chartwells employee Karen An said she likes the program.
“I think the program is really nice. It helps a lot for us and for the land, our environment,” An said in the cafeteria.
Like many Langara students, Kaleigh Nestman said she had no clue about Langara’s composting program.
“It’s good to hear that our school is so green, it makes me kind of proud to go here,” she said.
Students can do their part to ensure Langara upholds its composting standards by paying attention to what bin they are throwing their waste into.
Robson hopes that students “take the time to place things properly.”
She said that every time our compost is deemed contaminated with too much garbage, the entire load gets sent to the landfill.
“If you can’t figure it out, don’t contaminate the organics, or the paper towel. If you aren’t sure, throw it out,” said Robson.