Food Scraps Aren’t Garbage!

Metro Vancouver’s food waste ban has been in place for nearly five years and by now, we‘re all familiar with the basics of separating organics from garbage. It’s time to take a deeper look at what can and can’t go in your Green Cart, as well as how to reduce organic waste from the start.

Avoidable vs. Unavoidable Food Waste

Food waste can be broken into two categories: avoidable and unavoidable. Avoidable food waste includes items that are unused, like a whole apple or banana, while unavoidable food waste covers food items not fit for consumption, such as eggshells. While both types of food waste belong in your Green Cart, and not the garbage, it’s best to try and avoid avoidable food waste altogether.

You can minimize what you put in your Green Cart by eliminating avoidable food waste in your home. Plan meals, buy only what you need, use up what’s already in your fridge, and know the difference between best before and expiry dates. For all the unavoidable food waste, remember: food scraps aren’t garbage! Place inedible food items in your Green Cart, not the garbage.

Other ‘Compostable’ Items

We all know paper should be recycled with cardboard and other paper products, but what if it’s covered in food or grease? Food-soiled paper items like napkins, paper towels, coffee filters, tea bags, and most fast-food packaging, should all be placed in your Green Cart for pick up. These messy items can create problems for recycling facilities if placed in your yellow bag. If it’s 100% paper and food-soiled, it’s good to go in your Green Cart!

What about utensils and paper cups? Wood utensils like chopsticks and Popsicle sticks are accepted in the Green Cart program, however, compostable plastic-type cutlery is not. Certified ‘compostable’ items that appear to be made of a plastic-type material do not break down quickly enough for the region’s composting facilities. In terms of cups, most paper cups have a thin plastic liner that prevents them from composting. Cups should be recycled in your blue box with your other containers.  

Looking for more information on what’s accepted and general Green Cart tips? Visit Metro Vancouver’s Food Scraps Recycling Page.