GVRD Compost Waste Regulations – January 1st, 2015

Starting January 1st, 2015 the city of Vancouver’s new bylaw banning compostable materials in regular garbage will come into effect. The purpose of the bylaw is to ultimately divert the amount of garbage going into landfills and/or incinerators which in effect will reduce the green house gasses and move Vancouverites to a greener way of living. The biggest challange with this bylaw and compostable ban is of course education.  Educating individuals on the changes and assisting individuals to figure out a good process of managing waste within their homes that makes it easy for them to comply. Like any bylaw there will also be enforcement which the city will issue warnings to start and after the ‘grace’ period fines will be issued. 
For other stratas outside the GVRD this may be a topic of discussion that you may want to start talking about as a similar composting bylaw may be presented in other municipalities across BC. Here were some common questions that were asked at the recent seminar and generally what the answers were.

1. How will the city enforce the fines?
Inspectors will be observing the garbage being taken to transfer stations and fines will be issued to any contractor disposing what is now known as contaminated garbage. Contaminated meaning contains compostable materials.

2. How will the contractors enforce which property the garbage came from?
Its up to the carrier to decide how to enforce this, but it was suggested that perhaps cameras may be installed on the loaders of garbage trucks or employees may observe a couple bags for contamination and if found that property will be recorded as non compliant and fines will be issued respectively.

3. If the Strata is getting fined for ‘contaminated’ garbage how is a strata supposed to enforce that to their owner/occupants, especially if there are renters, renters just don’t care!?

Its important to discuss this issue with your property manager when that issue arises but until such time the best way is to proactively approach these changes and have an education meeting with residence. Ideally someone within council or the community perhaps to proactively engage and educate individuals on the changes with some tips on home storage and disposal. The more it is talked about and the more people are educated just like cardboard and recycling separating your compost will become normal as well.