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About Food Scraps Recycling


​​​Metro Vancouver and member municipalities encourage food scraps recycling because it takes waste out of our landfills, reduces our methane contributions, and creates compost and bioenergy.



Food Scraps Aren’t Garbage ExplainerFood Scraps Aren’t Garbage Explainer489978364

Using your green bin is an easy way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions

In the landfill, buried under layers of waste and without access to oxygen, food can't decompose properly. Food buried in the landfill creates methane, a greenhouse gas linked to climate change that’s roughly 30 times more potent than CO2.​

When food scraps are composted, they produce way less greenhouse gas. In our region, recycling one tonne of food scraps prevents the equivalent of 0.4 tonnes of CO2 emissions compared to disposal.

Read more:

Diverting food waste to composting is better than sending it to a landfill, but preventing food from being wasted in the first place is an even better way to lessen our impact on the environment. Learn how to prevent food waste in your household with Love Food Hate Waste Canada.​​​​​​



Food Scraps Methane Diagram 1 Scraps Methane Diagram 1

What are the benefits of separating food scraps from regular garbage?

There are many benefits of food scraps recycling in our region.

By putting food scraps in the green bin, Metro Vancouverites are reducing the amount of garbage sent to landfill. The region’s residents saved 400,000 tonnes of food scraps from the garbage in 2021.

In 2021, enough organic material was diverted to create 140,000 tonnes of compost — enough to cover more than twice the size of downtown Vancouver! Metro Vancouverites also prevented 160,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions in 2021 – comparable to taking 50,000 cars off the road.

When food and other organic materials end up in the garbage, they can:

  • Use up a lot of precious landfill space, which is already limited across the region. Creating new landfills is undesirable, yet more than 30% of what we send to landfill is compostable organics, like food scraps.
  • Make waste-to-energy processes less efficient because of their high moisture content. About a third of the region's waste is dumped in the waste-to-energy facility.

Composting is nature's way of recycling, turning organic waste (like food scraps) into natural humus, which looks a lot like soil. This process requires natural organisms like fungi, bacteria, and oxygen and results in humus, some heat, and a small amount of carbon dioxide. Want to see the heat? Turn over a pile of leaves on a cool fall day, and watch the warm steam rise.

Putting food scraps into plastic bags and burying it in a landfill blocks out oxygen, stops this natural process from occurring, and causes the production of methane gas. Methane is a powerful greenhouse gas linked to climate change. Sending food scraps to a processing facility or using a backyard composter allows the natural recycling process to happen, returning nutrients to the soil and helping keep the planet cool.

Recycling food scraps separately also creates more jobs than landfilling them, including jobs in recycling program development, education, collection, processing, marketing, and use of products.

The Organics Disposal Ban applies to everyone in the region

Food scraps have been banned from disposal since January 2015. This applies to apartments and condos as well as detached homes.

Like with other recyclable materials, Metro Vancouver has placed a disposal ban on organic materials, like food scraps. This means food is banned as garbage at the region's waste facilities. Disposal bans are an enforcement tool that encourage recycling. A penalty is charged on loads of waste that contain excessive amounts of visible food scraps.

To learn more about the disposal ban, visit the Disposal Ban Program page.

To learn more about food scraps recycling in your community, contact your municipality.

What goes in the green bin?

  • All food scraps, including produce, grains, dairy, and meat
  • Prepared food (leftovers)
  • Shells (egg shells, seafood shells) and bones
  • Small amounts of fat, oil, and grease
  • Paper napkins
  • Food-soiled newsprint (often used to line a kitchen catcher)
  • Paper towel
  • Coffee grounds and filters, paper tea bags
  • Wooden chopsticks, skewers, popsicle sticks

Download printable PDF poster

What Goes in the Green Bin


The Organics Disposal Ban is enforced the same as the region's other disposal bans. Waste is inspected when it is delivered to a regional disposal facility. If a waste load contains excessive amounts of food scraps, the hauler pays a surcharge of 50% on the cost of disposal.


To learn more about food scraps recycling in your community, contact your municipality.

For information about the Organics Disposal Ban or recycling signage and materials, contact Metro Vancouver's Info Centre.

The Recycling Council of BC staff can answer questions on food scraps recycling. Contact the Recycling Hotline at 604-RECYCLE (604-732-9253).​​​ ​​​​​​​​​


Organics Disposal Ban Backgrounder Brochure​

 Related links



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