North Okanagan businesses can have their say on food scrap diversion

RDNO survey open to food services, hospitality industry until February

In this Aug. 29, 2018, photo, at the Waste Management facility in North Brooklyn, tons of leftover food sits piled up before being processed into “bio-slurry,” in New York. A team of scientists spent weeks combing through the garbage of dozens of households to come up with what they say is the most accurate measure yet of how much food is wasted in Canadian kitchens. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Stephen Groves)

In this Aug. 29, 2018, photo, at the Waste Management facility in North Brooklyn, tons of leftover food sits piled up before being processed into “bio-slurry,” in New York. A team of scientists spent weeks combing through the garbage of dozens of households to come up with what they say is the most accurate measure yet of how much food is wasted in Canadian kitchens. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Stephen Groves)

Food scraps from commercial organizations such as restaurants, retail food stores, hotels and health care facilities are a burden on landfills and the Regional District of North Okanagan (RDNO) is looking to organizations for input on a proposed disposal ban.

A survey has been launched on the RDNO’s website and will remain open until late February.

The Draft Implementation Plan for an Industrial, Commercial and Institutional (ICI) Food Waste Disposal Ban, which was endorsed by the RDNO board of directors last June, seeks to divert organic and food materials from landfills.

Methane, a byproduct formed when organic materials wind up in the landfill, is 25 times more potent than carbon dioxide, and when buried under layers of waste without access to oxygen, food scraps can’t decompose properly.

A 2012 Waste Composition Study found food scraps made up more than 23 per cent of the ICI waste stream and with a ban in place, there is potential to divert more than 30 per cent from that.

The RDNO will work alongside waste haulers, commercial food scrap generators and composting companies to create and put in place the ICI Food Waste Disposal Ban.

Materials targeted by the disposal ban include raw and cooked food waste, such as meats, fruits and vegetables, dairy products, breads and pastas, tea bags, coffee grounds and filters, and food soiled papers, including napkins, paper towels, cardboard and paper plates.

But first, the RDNO wants input about how this could affect organizations. A survey can be found on the RDNO.ca website. The survey is open until Feb. 28, 2020.

The Greater Vernon Chamber of Commerce is also seeking information from its members that may be affected by the ban.

The chamber is asking organizations to write in and report any concerns they may have with the ban and provide information on any food waste diversion plans already implemented at a business level and the costs associated with it.

“The Greater Vernon Chamber of Commerce wants to ensure we advocate on behalf of our members and we need to know your concerns or questions about this proposed initiative,” the chamber wrote in a statement.

The chamber’s questions can be answered online here. Comments and concerns can also be forwarded to Chamber of Commerce communications co-ordinator Richard Rolke at info@vernonchamber.ca.

The ban, which will be implemented over a two-year period, could be enforced as soon as July 2021.

Before the ban can be put into effect, the waste management bylaw must be amended to specify materials included, organizations affected, enforcement and exemption specifics and an implementation date.

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@caitleerach
Caitlin.clow@vernonmorningstar.com

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