Reduce, recylce to meet new challenge

Are you ready for the 70 per cent challenge? Richmond residents are among the best in the nation in recycling. About half of all the garbage we produce gets diverted from the landfill to be recycled or composted. That’s well above the national average of about 30 per cent.

But we need to do more. It takes one million years for a plastic bottle to breakdown in a landfill, yet four two-litre bottles can be recycled into one t-shirt, filling for a ski jacket and two ball caps.

By 2015, we are aiming to divert 70 per cent of all our waste from the landfill. We can all do our part.

Richmond offers many ways to help our residents manage and reduce their solid waste.

Our recycling program remains the core of our waste reduction and diversion efforts. Since we first introduced our recycling program in 1990, residents in single-family homes have increased the amount they recycle from just 350 tonnes to nearly 20,000 tonnes annually.

Most people know about our residential recycling program that provides curbside pickup of some basic recyclables for single family homes and the Blue Cart program for multi-family residences.

But, you can recycle many more items than are included in those programs. Our Recycling Depot on Lynas Lane accepts a wide variety of materials and we are constantly expanding the list of accepted items.

For example, in 2011, Richmond expanded its program to accept free drop off of small electrical or battery operated appliances.

There are hundreds of other materials that can be recycled too. Now you can use your cell phone to find out how to easily and responsibly dispose of all sorts of different products. Metro Vancouver Recycles is a mobile application you can download onto your iPhone. You can also find the program online at www.

With spring here, many of us are getting back into the yard and garden, which produces yard trimmings and other waste. Through composting and our other yard trimmings options, most of those wastes can be diverted from the landfill.

Composting takes waste like food scraps and yard trimmings and turns them into nutrient rich soil.

Richmond offers residents compost bins for just $25, plus we offer numerous free composting workshops.

With more than 10,200 bins sold, home composting helps to divert more than 3,000 tonnes of green waste from the garbage disposal system each year.

One of the newest ways to divert waste is the city’s Green Can program. Residents can use special containers to recycle fruit and vegetable scraps, coffee and tea grounds, meat, bones and other food waste, pizza boxes, and lawn and yard trimmings that are picked up from your curbside.

A similar Green Cart program for multi-family homes was piloted at 75 residential complexes in 2011 and plans for implementing it throughout the city are now being developed.

When combined, food scraps and yard trimmings represent approximately 40 per cent of generated waste, so it provides a huge opportunity to reduce waste going to the landfill.

And now, there’s even more benefits to composting. The Richmond composting facility which accepts our region’s food scraps is now developing an initiative that will use the biogas created during the decomposition process to produce energy for heat and electricity. Just think of it – those table scraps left over from dinner could be what powers your evening’s television viewing.

To find out more about recycling and composting options and the Green Can program, call our information line at 604-276-4010 or visit Let’s meet the 70 per cent challenge.

Linda McPhail
Richmond First City Councillor

This editorial online at:

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