Friday, May 19, 2023

New study: 44% of apartment and townhouse garbage should have gone into organics

The Metro Vancouver Regional District regularly studies the composition of people’s garbage. These studies help inform waste division and reduction strategies for the region.

An organic bin is about to be inspected. Source: 2022 Multi-Family Residential Waste Composition Study

As I’ve posted about in the past, people who live in apartments and townhouses recycle and compost significantly less than people who live in single detached homes.

The regional district recently released their latest garbage findings for apartments and townhouses. The following chart shows the breakdown of what people put in the garbage.

Overall Garbage Composition by Primary Category. Select the chart to enlarge.

Seen another way, about 44% of what people put in the garbage should have gone into the organics bin, and 24% should have been put into on-site recycling.

There is a significant opportunity to reduce waste sent to a landfill or incinerated in Metro Vancouver. As outlined in the latest Metro Vancouver Zero Waste Committee agenda, “exploring multifamily waste reduction and recycling solutions will be a key component of an updated solid waste management plan.”

When I was on a strata council for an apartment building, we had to have ongoing education around recycling and organics, including showing people ways of conveniently storing organics without fear of “fouling up” their apartment. It will be interesting to see how the Regional District addresses increasing waste diversion from people who live in apartments and townhouses.

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