By now you know that there’s an organics ban in the region, and that this mandatory process will involve some form of fining for the non-compliant. True, these fines won’t hit up residents for some time yet, but that hasn’t stopped those in the City of North Vancouver from questioning what this will mean for our pocketbooks.

Many of us live in condo’s or apartment buildings and haven’t heard a peep from our building managers as to how they intend to manage this new addition to our disposal requirements. What will happen if our building doesn’t get a program in place, and even if they do how can my neighbours be trusted to manage their food scraps correctly? And wait a minute, why isn’t the City offering pick-up services if this is a mandatory ban?

These are all valid questions; ones that I hear every time I put on my Green Ambassador hat at a public function. After mulling over these questions myself, I began to poke around, asking key people what they have heard in terms of city pick up for apartment food scraps. What I learned was slightly uplifting, though not quite as earth shattering as I would have hoped.

In talking to staff at the North Shore Recycling Program (NSRP) and the City of North Vancouver, I’ve learned that a pilot project has been underway to look at the feasibility and cost of city-wide organics pick-up services. The project has apparently been running for about one year and has included 9 apartment buildings (~500 units) in the city. NSRP provided education for residents taking part, and so far  it looks like about 1Kg of food waste has been diverted per household per week– a number roughly consistent with other programs of this nature.

So when can residents expect to see city-wide services? Well, city staff are currently compiling the results of the pilot and are hoping to make recommendations to city council sometime this spring. In other words – we don’t know. Actually, we don’t even know what “city-wide services” would look like at this point. Either way, this pilot project gives me some measure of hope for future services, and I look forward to seeing what comes out of it all.

Do you think that the city should offer municipal-wide food scraps pick-up for apartment residents?

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While we’re waiting for the city to make up its mind, check out the NSRP’s site on Multi-Family Food Scraps Collection for tips on how to get a program set up in your building.



Melanie is a vibrant North Shore local raised on a mountainside playground. Armed with an adventurous spirit and a passion for justice, she dashes between jobs tackling sustainability and poverty reduction issues. She has written for several local e-zines, predominantly focusing on arts and cultural activities in Vancouver. Also, she enjoys caffeine and yoga.

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