News Article Details

Metro Vancouver Winning War on Waste

Jun 14, 2017
A report that went to Metro Vancouver’s Zero Waste Committee this week shows that overall, in 2015, residents, businesses and industry generated less waste, sent less to landfills and recycled more that in the previous year. In 2015, 1,982,137 tonnes of material from residents, businesses and industry were recycled or diverted from disposal in Metro Vancouver, which is 62 per cent of the waste material generated in the region. Recyclables included everything from asphalt to yard and food waste. This figure is an increase from 2014, when 61 per cent of waste was diverted. Metro Vancouver’s goal was to have 70 per cent diversion by 2015. The disposal rate in the region decreased eight per cent from 0.53 tonnes per person in 2014 to 0.49 tonnes per person in 2015. This number has been steadily decreasing from a high of 0.75 tonnes per person in 2006. Just over 1.2 million tonnes of waste was sent to disposal facilities, which include landfills and waste-to-energy sites. The total amount of waste generated per person in the region has also decreased — we generated 1.28 tonnes of waste per person in 2015, compared to 1.36 the previous year. The largest increase in the diversion rate was a five-per-cent improvement in the multi-family sector (29 per cent diversion), followed by a four-per-cent increase in the single-family sector (66 per cent diversion). Because waste disposal and recycling data from multi-family residences, like apartment buildings, is not directly reported to Metro Vancouver, the region uses a number of figures to come up with an estimate. It’s estimated that in 2015, the multi-family sector reduced the amount of waste disposed to 0.20 tonnes per person from 0.24 tonnes the year before. Construction and demolition disposal rates have stayed relatively flat. About 390,000 tonnes of construction and demolition material is disposed each year, while more than one million tonnes is recycled. These figures are for materials disposed of at the Vancouver and Ecowaste landfills and private transfer stations the report information to Metro Vancouver. “Even though this sector performs well in regards to its diversion rate, there remains a significant opportunity to divert recyclable material, especially wood, from this waste stream,” the Metro Vancouver report states.
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