Starting Jan. 1, food scraps banned from garbage bins in Metro Vancouver

WATCH: Starting January 1st Metro Vancouver will ban food in the garbage and landfill. Asa Rehman explains how the program works and the penalties for not complying.

VANCOUVER – You have probably seen the commercials on TV by now showing half-eaten items of food saying “food isn’t garbage.”

Starting, Jan. 1, 2015, it will be illegal to put food scraps and organic waste in your garbage bin in Metro Vancouver.

They have officially been added to the list of items banned from waste facilities.

What will be banned:

Food scraps cannot be thrown out with regular garbage. This includes raw food, scrapings from your plate, leftovers, depackaged food and meat, and some soiled paper (such as pizza boxes or used table napkins). You are advised to check with your local municipality to ensure you are recycling all you can.

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Why food scraps are being banned:

Metro Vancouver says food and other organic materials create methane in the landfills, which is a powerful greenhouse gas that adds to global warming. When food scraps and organic waste are buried under layers of garbage, it can’t decompose properly. Space is also limited in the landfills and more than 30 per cent of what we send there is compostable organics.

Who is affected:

Eventually, everyone in Metro Vancouver. However, in the first year it will mostly affect grocers and large restaurants and the first six months of 2015 will be a grace period when the emphasis will be on educating and encouraging people to join this program.

WATCH: Ian Tostenson from the BC Restaurant and Food Services Association speaks to Global News about the challenges restaurants face

Many residents have already been using their green bin to separate food scraps and organic waste from regular garbage, but these new rules will affect everyone, including those in apartments and multi-family dwellings.

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Anyone caught dumping excessive amounts of food waste will be subject to surcharges.

Information for restaurants, grocers, single-family households, and apartments and condos.