A bylaw two years into the making for the Fraser Valley Regional District is set to be enforced on April 1.
The FVRD solid waste bylaw actually came into effect on April 1, 2020, but the challenges the COVID-19 pandemic put on local businesses delayed its enforcement.
However, with restrictions easing and the pandemic’s end seemingly in sight, the bylaw will be active and it applies to all areas of the region and all types of waste except for demolition, land clearing and construction waste and hazardous, agricultural, biomedical or liquid waste.
The bylaw came about after the FVRD conducted a waste audit in 2015 that discovered over 40 per cent of residential garbage is food waste. That number is believed to be even higher for food businesses such as restaurants, catering companies, grocery stores and other similar food-centric establishments.
These businesses are forced to throw away food for a variety of reasons - everything from damaged goods to a typo on packaging to overstock issues and many more.
That food waste goes into local landfills and creates major environmental issues. When organic material breaks down inside a landfill site where there is no oxygen, it generates methane, which is a greenhouse gas 28 times more powerful than carbon dioxide.
But there are a number of solutions out there - enter FoodMesh - a Vancouver-based organization started in 2015 designed to help organizations deal with food waste and food insecurity. Through their research they learned that approximately 58 per cent of all food produced in Canada is never consumed, with 86 per cent of that waste occurring along the supply chain. They believe that more than half of that waste is avoidable and it is more of a food connection rather than a food shortage problem.
Through their network they connect and coordinate surplus food and they are one of several organizations speaking at an online community meeting hosted by the FVRD set for Thursday from 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Do you have imperfect or bruised produce that you can't sell? Join this webinar to discover new consumers for it and other ways to put your unsold food and organic waste to good use in the @FraserValleyRD. Featuring the wonderful @PekoProduce. RSVP 👉 https://t.co/vaQtt3FC94 pic.twitter.com/xUrJJFo12U— FoodMesh (@meshexchange) March 7, 2022
The webinar will feature short presentations from the FVRD, FoodMesh, Trendi, Pick Eco, West Coast Reduction, Chilliwack Free Fridge, Blue Planet Recycling, Too Good To Go and Peko Produce.
Each group will have a short presentation about what they do and how they can help and it will be followed up by questions from the audience.
FoodMesh spokesperson Megan Czerpak said she believes the new bylaw will be a positive move for local landfills and the environment.
“The bylaw is a really important indicator to organizations of the importance of ensuring food doesn’t end up in landfills,” she said. “The FVRD is one of many regions around Canada that are implementing this bylaw. When methane from food waste in landfills is released it has a terrible impact on the atmosphere so making sure these food products don’t end up in landfills is an important way to help reduce our greenhouse gas emissions.”
Metro Vancouver implemented a similar bylaw on Jan. 1, 2015.
Czerpak said FoodMesh and the other organizations presenting at the webinar have a simple mission - to reduce food waste. She believes the webinar will be a good first step for businesses to learn more.
“The idea is we hopefully have a representative sample of the different kinds of service providers out there to help businesses in the Fraser Valley ensure that food doesn’t end up in landfills and instead goes to higher end uses,” she said. “Hopefully there will be an organization there that can help with their needs and they can get a sense of how to get started. It’s also a good way to make sure that their unsold food doesn’t go to waste.”
To register for the free webinar, visit t.co/vaQtt3FC94.
Calling food businesses in the @FraserValleyRD! What are you currently doing with your compostable organics? Learn about some ways you can put them to good use, and meet service providers ready to help you at this webinar on March 17 ✅RSVP https://t.co/vaQtt3FC94 pic.twitter.com/Ld1xFZNG4S— FoodMesh (@meshexchange) February 24, 2022