Compost separation coming to all Abbotsford apartments and businesses

Rules require separate waste and compost collection, but city must still buy containers for parks

Comox Strathcona Waste Management is hosting two upcoming public consultations on its regional composting facility to be located beside the Campbell River landfill, which is scheduled to begin construction this fall. Black Press File Photo

UPDATE: Although a city report stated that new bins were needed for parks, a city spokesperson has since said that’s not the case, and that outdoor areas will not need separate bins for compost and trash.

In a little more than a month, apartment and townhouse dwellers, along with all business operators, will be required to separate compostable material from their trash.

The changes are intended to further reduce the amount of solid waste produced by residents and businesses. Single-family homeowners and food-processor and service businesses must already keep food and other compostable material out of their garbage, but stratas and non-food businesses have not previously been required to do so.

The shift to universal compost sorting has been in the works for years, and the final move is now imminent.

In 2018, the Fraser Valley Regional District (FVRD) passed a new bylaw that would require such sorting – but not for 18 months. Those months have now ticked by, and the new rules will kick in on April 1. On Monday, the city revised its waste collection bylaw to require compost to be collected separate from all trash.

Rules requiring compost to be separated have been revised and strengthened over the course of five years. The FVRD’s 2018 bylaw followed nearly three years of consultations and planning for a new solid-waste plan aimed at reducing the amount of trash that needed to be trucked out of the region or otherwise disposed of. The city surveyed waste-haulers, businesses, stratas and apartment operators in early 2018.

But the city itself will have to scramble to comply with its own rules come the start of April.

Complicating matters is the city’s new waste master plan, which was adopted last fall and which will transition the city to fully automated garbage pickups. That will see the city purchase thousands of new bins.

RELATED: Glass recycling pick-up, new containers among big waste changes

On Monday, council received a report stating that the city must also buy “three-stream recycling bins and containers for its civic facilities.” A budget amendment will be needed to set money aside for the city to buy the new containers.

Although that report said new bins were needed for parks, a city spokesperson has since said that’s not the case, and that outdoor areas will not need separate bins for compost and trash.

Rob Isaac, the city’s engineering and utilities general manager, said a report will be coming to council within the month.

A city spokesperson wrote in an email that “many city facilities already have three-stream bins in place and we will continue to work towards having these in all city facilities.”

After The News’s print deadline, a city spokesperson clarified that all parks and facilities will be able to comply with the separation requirements on April 1.

Once April rolls around, the city doesn’t expect to start handing out fines right away.

“Program implementation will initially focus on education and support versus monitoring and enforcement,” a spokesperson wrote. “Putting new sorting systems in place takes time and may require staff, tenant or resident training and education. The City recommends that buildings (including stratas) and businesses contact their waste hauler and start discussing what will work best for their property.”

Residents and business managers can visit for more information.

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