Food Waste need not go to Landfill

Aside

In 2015, food and food waste will be banned from the garbage throughout the Metro
Vancouver region. At a Metro Vancouver’s Sustainability Community Breakfast held at the Eagles Hall in North Vancouver this morning a panel of experts presented this topic and what it means for restaurants and other businesses, even for individual food consumers. The audience which was comprised of about 60 people with interests or connections to the food and waste recycling industry learned  how food businesses are
 managing food waste, and how good things can happen when it’s diverted from the
 garbage.

Todd J., Director, Catering & Conference Services; Chair, Green Committee, Four Seasons Hotel spoke about the Food Waste Management program that his business has implemented and is piloting. He addressed how all of his employees have been trained in preparation of becoming compliant with this impending ban. He explained that food waste is always on the agenda when planning catering events and described how cranberry juice and apple juice is suggested to clients asking for a Continental Breakfast instead of the traditional orange juice. The reason for that is the fact that cranberry and apple juice is available locally, does not have to travel too far to reach their kitchen and does not leave as much waste behind as oranges do. Todd talked about the unused portions of food produced by the Four Seasons Hotel and how it can be re-claimed by groups such as the Greater Vancouver Food Bank Society, especially their Angel Food Runners program.

Erin N., Manager, Community Angel Food Runners, Greater Vancouver Food Bank Society explained in more detail how food that is received by the Food Bank is re-distributed to those in need and mentioned that presently there is no liability when you donate food (as stated in Bill 10 of  the Food Donations Act). She talked about how food recovery lowers greenhouse gas emissions and reminded the audience that food, labour and land does not need to go to waste. Her organization works with government and donors to shift the agenda to empower people to nourish themselves by providing education and support. She advised the audience that revised donor guidelines will be in place for the 2015 disposal ban.

Stuart L., Manager, Feedstock Supply, Enterra Feed Corporation presented a brief video on how the use of larva from the black soldier fly helps to create renewable foods for animals and plants. The corporation which was founded by David Suzuki is using these larvae as nature’s nutrient renewal experts. Within three hours, food waste inside a bio-conversion unit is being consumed by larvae and ready to be transformed into omega-rich feed meal (to feed to animals designated for human consumption) and feed oils that are being used in the cosmetics industry. Their 6000 square foot demo plant is on the forefront of solving two global problems:  food waste diversion and nutrient demand.

Steve H., Founder and President, Earth Renu has a goal of achieving zero waste and related his experience of researching methods of waste disposal in European countries such as Norway and Germany. He talked about the three methods for processing food waste (composting, production of animal feed and anaerobic digestion (biogas as a renewable natural gas). Steve explained how the methane that’s produced by food waste is worse for the environment than CO2 emissions and told the audience how to treat contaminants that arise within the organic waste. He pointed out to always mix twigs and grass into your compost (to allow for nitrogen to form). He invited audience members to visit his plant on Annacis Island to see this source of urban sustainable energy production first hand.

Jaclyn M., Sustainability Consultant, RecycleSmart Solutions talked about saving money by decreasing waste and about the importance of smart recycling. She reminded folks to first check if the food can be donated and if not to recycle responsibly by using clean bins and changing the recycling management process. She advised businesses to identify a champion within their organization who will help to carry the message forward as well as being prepared for the upcoming changes. She urged audience members to make sure that they are able to divert and will put plans in place (allow within their budget) to be ready for the food and food waste ban from the garbage within the Greater Vancouver Region as of 2015. Councilor B. thanked the panel and opened the floor to questions most of them were about the logistics of implementing these new refuse regulations and compliance with managing food waste and reducing (landfill destined) garbage.  Metro Vancouver’s Sustainability Community Breakfast is going to present “A morning of Storytelling not Garbage” on Thursday, December 12 from 7:30 am to 9 am at the BCIT, downtown campus.

You can always do your part in food waste reduction by purchasing only what you need, using already recycled material whenever possible and eliminating food waste in your home with a common sense approach. Perhaps scale down your consumer drive and start to be happy with less. The environment and the planet as a whole will benefit and that means you, too. We owe it to future generations to be prudent with our resources and smart with handling our food waste.

Please note that facts in the article above are stated how I believe them to be true and I hope to have recalled everything correctly.

If you always have plenty of food to eat, please think about helping those in need. Thank you.

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