Wednesday, December 2, 2020

Metro Vancouver remains a recycling leader, but more needs to be done for multi-family housing

One of the things that we can be proud of is that we have been steadily reducing the rate of materials that end up in landfills or incinerated.

The following graph shows that over the past 25 years, the amount of recycled waste has been steadily increasing.

Regional recycling rate for waste from all sectors.

The next graph shows the tonnes per capita of waste generated, recycled, and disposed of into landfill/incineration.

Total waste generation, disposal, and recycling rates per capita.

Disposal and recycling per capita have swaps positions. The total amount of waste generated per capita has remained stable. The good news is that less waste is being disposed of today in absolute numbers than 25 years ago even with an increasing population.

Ideally, we should be moving towards reducing the amount of waste generated in the first place. Paper and plastic are the top recycled items in our province. It is easier said than done, but reducing the amount of product packaging would go a long way to reducing waste generation rates.

Another area for improvement is for people that live in apartments and townhouses (multi-family). People living in single-family homes recycle 63% of waste. People living in multi-family homes have a 36% recycling rate.

I live in an apartment with easy organics and recycling collection. Yet, I still see recyclable items in the garbage bin.

Overall, our region is doing well with reducing waste, but we do have areas where we can improve. For more information, read the 2019 Metro Vancouver Recycling and Solid Waste Management report.

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