Managing the region’s waste is a core Metro Vancouver responsibility and this region has opted to do this in a sustainable way. For example, the region promotes aggressive waste reduction campaigns, and has set an ambitious goal of an 80% recycling rate. Transitioning to a circular economy further reduces waste, and associated emissions. A thorough description of Metro Vancouver’s approach to waste is found in the region’s Integrated Solid Waste and Resource Management Plan.
While Metro Vancouver’s priority is to reduce, and recycle as much of our waste as possible, the remaining garbage must be dealt with now and not left for future generations to clean up.
Managing the solid waste generated in this region contributes about 3% of the regional greenhouse gas emissions inventory.
Looking for more detail on our waste management-related strategies?Download the draft Climate 2050 Waste Management Discussion Paper
What you will find in this discussion paper
Waste management facilities in the region handle the solid waste (i.e., garbage, recycling, etc.) and liquid waste (i.e., wastewater from toilets, sinks, etc.) of half the population of BC. These facilities are a multibillion-dollar investment that protects people and the natural environment. As we advance our waste management practices to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, we can also reduce the vulnerability of waste management infrastructure to climate hazards like floods and wildfires, and contribute to a more resilient economy.
Greenhouse gas emissions from solid waste are driven by the end-of-life management of goods and products, including disposal, recycling and composting. Air contaminant emissions from liquid waste are linked to population size, which is expected to rise. We need to accelerate our climate actions to reduce consumption-related emissions, improve air quality, and achieve carbon neutral waste management.
We are creating a roadmap to help us reach a carbon neutral, resilient future. By 2050, we can reduce solid waste emissions by preventing waste from being created in the first place through transitioning to a circular economy that designs out waste. We can also reduce emissions by further diverting waste through reuse and recycling, and recovering more low-carbon energy from solid waste sources. Liquid waste management can continue to focus on generating more low-carbon energy.
This roadmap development will align with the upcoming update to Metro Vancouver’s solid waste management plan and liquid waste management plan.