Mandatory Composting in Vancouver

Vancouver, B.C. wants to be "the greenest city on earth" (src)

While doing some research for how to get people in Louisville involved in composting,  I learned a pretty cool fact about Vancouver, B.C.: not only do they have a city-wide composting campaign, but by the end of 2012, they will start imposing fines for easily compostable items found in trash bins! The plan comes from the “Metro Zero Waste Challenge,” and The Province reports this:

Coffee grounds, egg shells and orange peels going into Metro Vancouver garbage bins may start costing residents money. Metro Vancouver will begin imposing bans on trashing kitchen scraps next year. […] Food materials account for about a third of all residential trash in the region. Along with yard waste and soiled paper such as pizza boxes they can be used as compost or biofuels, instead of sitting in landfills giving off the greenhouse gas methane.

Pizza boxes! I can’t tell you how many times I’ve agonized over the bottom part of the pizza box (which gets greasy from cheeseless and soy cheese pizza too!) going in the trash while the top typically gets recycled – if you even care to separate it. But oily cardboard apparently can be composted in the right conditions!

But if doing the right thing and saving the planet doesn’t inspire you to compost, there’s a financial incentive too:

Residents in PoCo [Port Coquitlam, a municipality to the east of Vancouver] receive three 240-litre bins: a black one for trash, a blue one for recyclables and a green one for kitchen scraps and yard waste. If they want a 360-litre trash can, it costs an extra $100 a year. They can save $30 a year by replacing their 240-litre garbage bin with one half the size. For an extra $10 a year, they can get a larger green or blue bin.

So if you have a lot of trash, you gotta pay for a big bin – but if you have a lot of compost or recycling, it’s only $10 to hold it all. Awesome! For more information, see this city wide fact sheet on recycling that Vancouver released last year.

Looking to compost yourself? You don’t need anything fancy, just some soil, an enclosure, and food scraps! Here’s a great place to start: compostguide.com