Category Archives: food waste

It’s About Time

ImageI knew it would happen, but it has been a long time coming! The City of Vancouver finally has real food scraps pick up!

Back in 2010, the City started picking up fruit and veggie trimmings. It was a great step, but something that was a) already easily served by our backyard compost bin and b) not made available to the apartment dwellers who don’t have backyards to compost in in the first place.

So this newly announced expansion means that meat, bones, dairy, cooked food, bread, pizza boxes, and paper napkins are allowed in the yard waste cart headed for composting. And better yet, the City doesn’t allow plastic bags of any kind (even the ones stamped biodegradable). They’re pushing you to line your kitchen bin with newspaper instead.

Of course, if we were all managing our food properly, we wouldn’t have much waste to compost, but it’s great to have an alternative for your fat trimmings and bones and the occasional fuzzy mystery at the back of the fridge. More details are on the City website.

Next up? Weekly compost pick up and biweekly garbage. Could you do it?



Filed under Around the house, food waste

Composting in The City of Vancouver

Pretty much everyone I talk to thinks that composting is great. Just the fact that you are reading this blog probably means that you also think composting is great. I mean, at 35% (by weight) of our waste, why the heck wouldn’t you want to compost?

But the truth is that some people need a little extra help. They don’t have the space for a backyard compost,  or they need somewhere to compost meat scraps and cooked food, or maybe they would just rather pay for someone to take it all away instead of dealing with it themselves. That is why I support municipal composting pickup – not just the kind we have right now in Vancouver (fruit and veggie scraps every two weeks), but the kind that is being proposed in Vancouver tomorrow that will take meat and cooked food and dairy and bread, and paper takeout containers, and all that other stuff that might have a hard time in your backyard compost, and they’ll pick it up every single week!

Yup, the City of Vancouver is proposing to start a complete composting pilot that would be delivered to 2000 single family homes and even a few multi-family buildings.  This is a really important step. If the pilot goes well, then they could roll the program out to the rest of the city and everyone could be composting ALL their food scraps, not just their veggies! We’re talking about an extra 26,000 tonnes of food waste diverted from landfills every year. Read more about the pilot here.

I’m pretty confident that Council will agree with the recommendation for the composting pilot, but they can always use a little nudge. If you live in Vancouver and you think composting is important, please come to City Hall Council Chambers on Thurs July 14th at 9:30am and show your support. If you don’t have time to go down, send a quick note to one if the Councillors via email or even Twitter (@andreareimer @MayorGregor @VanRealDeal @SuzanneAnton)

Side note: Yes, I do think that backyard composting is still very very important, and we should all be backyard composting as a first option.


Filed under food waste

What About The Kids?

Last week I mentioned that Grant and I visited the Glenbrook Zero Waste group in New Westminster.  What I didn’t mention was that it wasn’t all easy-peasy.  They actually had a few hard questions for us.

And one of those questions was about kids. The Glenbrook project has 14 participating families and about 50 participating people, so you do the math.  There are lots of kids.

People often infer that Grant and I wouldn’t be able to live anywhere close to zero waste if we had children.  Continue reading


Filed under food, food waste, reusable containers

Cutlery in the Compost

I have some cutlery in my compost right now.  And no, it’s not that bioplastic stuff (although I have been “testing” a supposedly compostable, but  suspiciously plastic-looking, cup in there for nearly a year with very little progress).

No, this cutlery is the real biodegradable deal. It’s made out of wood. Scrap wood that would otherwise likely be burned on the cut block.  Scrap wood from right here in British Columbia!

Wait a minute, you might be thinking, isn’t it better to avoid disposable cutlery in the first place? Continue reading


Filed under food waste, product reviews

Bottled Water Waste

It goes without saying that I avoid bottled water.

First of all, I am naturally -shall we say- “thrifty”, and buying a bottle of water when you can get it for free just doesn’t make sense to me. Secondly, I live in Vancouver, and our tap water is awesome.

But apparently many many people disagree with me.  And they disagree to the tune of half a billion bottles of water sold in the US each week (!) according to Annie Leonard.

What the heck is going on? Continue reading


Filed under food waste, reusable containers

Delicious and Waste-Free Catering

You know how I feel about over packaged food.  Particularly over-packaged take out food.  It’s just plain unnecessary.

Why the heck can’t we just have a nice lunch ordered in to the office that doesn’t come wrapped in styrofoam and accompanied by plastic cutlery?

Apparently we can.

Grant and I recently did a zero-waste lunch-n-learn with a corporation here in Vancouver.  (Basically we just talk about the Clean Bin Project and people think we’re either awesome or crazy).  In keeping with the theme, the fabulous organizers went the extra step to ensure the lunch was zero waste as well.  And this is where I met Michael Kraus, the founder of One Planet Catering. Continue reading


Filed under food, food waste