Food scraps banned from waste stream
Bowen Island residents had half a year to get used to separating food scraps from their garbage in preparation of the date of January 1, 2013, when Metro Vancouver will cease to allow organics as part of the non-organic waste stream coming from the island.
Don Marshall, chair of the Solid Waste and Resource Management Advisory Committee, would like islanders to know that separating food scraps is mandatory and will be enforced. Councillor Andrew Stone, who is also council’s representative to Metro Vancouver, said that there will be spot checks when Bowen Waste takes the refuse to the North Shore transfer station and a fine will be imposed if food waste is discovered in the garbage.
“The public has to get with the program,” Stone said, adding that separating food scraps will have to be enforced and it is important that everyone is on board. “Any fines levied will make their way back to the taxpayer.”
Both Marshall and Stone expressed suspicions that not everyone on Bowen Island disposes food scraps separately. “We think that there are number of people who are not compliant. We have a month to get ourselves from taking shortcuts,” Stone said. Marshall echoed that sentiment, “Just having watched loads of garbage being dumped into transfer bins, I noticed that many of the bags were extremely heavy. That’s usually a sign that they have food scraps in them.”
Stone added that it is fairly easy to identify food scraps because they add weight. “If a person is recycling and separating food scraps, a regular garbage bag comes to about one to two kilograms,” he said. “Bags that have a full week’s worth of food scraps weigh about seven to nine kilograms.” Stone said it would be interesting to check garbage bags in advance of the January deadline.
Marshall agreed, “We are considering doing a garbage audit at curb side in the coming month.” He suggested following the swampers and check bags that appear to be heavy. Bags containing food scraps could be left behind for the residents to deal with, along with a notice.
“One of the things the committee has been talking about a while back is using clear garbage bags,” Marshall said, adding that he has repeatedly brought the idea before council as this needs to be a council decision.
“We’ve got one month to clean up our act,” Stone said. “We started the program in July to give residents a chance to get in the habit. The municipality has taken on the task to get the community compliant with the food scraps program and we need to achieve that by the end of the year.”