Zero waste recycle station at outdoor festival in Vancouver

Zero Waste

Our goal: Create zero waste

Zero waste—diverting waste from the landfill— is critical to solving today's climate crisis.

Read about the:

Our target: Reduce solid waste going to the landfill or incinerator by 50% from 2008 levels

Progress we've made so far

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Hover on data points for more information on that year's performance.
To learn more about this metric, see the 'How We Measure Success' section below.

These priority actions represent important systemic and behavioral changes that can be achieved through engaged partnerships. They support moving to a closed-loop, cradle-to-cradle economy where resources are put to the highest and best use.

  • 4.1 - Increase overall diversion of organics by continuing to support the expansion of food scraps recycling to all sectors and support Metro Vancouver’s 2015 disposal ban on organic materials to landfill and incinerator through education and enforcement.
  • 4.2 - Increase the diversion of wood waste from landfill or incineration by expanding the Construction and Demolition (C&D) Waste Diversion Strategy to increase reuse and recycling of C&D waste.
  • 4.3 - Reduce street litter and abandoned garbage in public spaces, including illegal dumping, and increase the diversion of these materials by implementing a comprehensive litter management strategy, including an expanded Keep Vancouver Spectacular Program.
  • 4.4 - Support Metro Vancouver’s Zero Waste Challenge through the development of education and enforcement strategies for all sectors with a focus on waste prevention and material reuse initiatives.

Our 2015-2016 successes

Recent initiatives that bring us closer to reaching the Zero Waste goal.

Demolition of pre‐1940 homes in Vancouver must comply with the new Green Demolition Bylaw: 75% of the demolition material must be reused or recycled (90% in the case of character homes).

More than 96% of single-family home demolitions have complied to the Green Demolition Bylaw, with an average diversion rate of 86%, compared to a typical demolition which only diverts around 50%.

Expanding the Green Demoliton Bylaw

In December 2015, Council approved expanding the Green Demolition Bylaw to include:

  • Pre‐1950 homes beginning January 1, 2017
  • All homes beginning January 1, 2018

Since we began collecting food scraps from residences as part of the Green Bin program, the amount of:

  • Food and yard waste collected annually from single family homes has increased by nearly 75%
  • Garbage collected has decreased by 45%

Nearly 100% of all apartment and condo buildings with City waste collection now have access to the Green Bin program or alternative measures. Seven out of 10 businesses that generate food waste in the city have set up an organics-recycling program.

We established the Keep Vancouver Spectacular (KVS) program with Tourism Vancouver to empower residents who want to help keep Vancouver clean, green, and spectacular.

In 2015, over 12,000 bags of litter were collected by volunteers; one volunteer alone collected 560 bags!

Over the years, more than 225,000 volunteers have taken to the streets to keep the city beautiful for those who visit and live here.

We  teamed up with volunteers from the Keep Vancouver Spectacular program, ElectroRecycle, and Encorp to set up electronic recycling drop‐off events throughout the year.

In 2015, over 11,000 electronics and small appliances were diverted from disposal and recycled through our drop-off events.

Get more details about our successes: Read the implementation update for 2015-2016  (8 MB)

Our 2014-2015 successes

Initiatives that brought us closer to reaching the Zero Waste goal from 2014 to 2015.

In early 2015, Metro Vancouver placed a regional ban on the disposal of food scraps in the garbage. In preparation for this, over the last year 93% of multi-unit residential buildings serviced by us switched over to our Green Bin program for organics.

We worked with buildings that are serviced by private haulers to start an organics disposal program for their buildings. A regional awareness program, led by Metro Vancouver and supported by us helped spread the word that “food isn’t garbage!”

As of May 2014, materials such as milk cartons, Tetra Paks, paper cups, ice cream tubs, and paper/metal containers such as frozen juice cans can go into our curbside recycling program. Styrofoam and plastic bags can be dropped off for recycling at our depots.

More than 50,000 bottles have been dropped off daily since GreenHUB opened in July 2014. The new facility—a collaboration between Recycling Alternative and United We Can—processes hundreds of tonnes of recyclables each month and runs its vehicle fleet on biodiesel. The collaboration improves the efficiency of both operations through shared space and resources. 

As part of the Heritage Action Plan, the Green Demolition ByLaw was approved in June 2014. The bylaw states that pre-1940 homes for one or two families must divert 70-90% of waste during demolition. The expected waste that will be diverted from the landfill is around 6,000 to 9,000 tonnes each year.

Get more details about our successes: Read the implementation update for 2014-2015  (2 MB)

Solid waste data is compiled first at a regional level and then at the city level. As a result, Vancouver’s data is always one year behind the reporting period.

These metrics are maintained by the Waste Management and Resource Recovery Division within Engineering Services at the City.   

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Initiatives helping us reach these goals and targets

Zero Waste Reuse & Recycling Drop-off - Victoria Drive

Donate and recycle small appliances, electronics, clothing and more for free.

Zero Waste Reuse & Recycling Drop-off - West End

Donate and recycle small appliances, electronics, clothing and more for free.

Zero Waste Reuse & Recycling Drop-off - Dunbar

Donate and recycle small appliances, electronics, clothing and more for free.

Free Zero Waste Reuse and Recycling Drop off - West End - Barclay Manor November 4 2017

Donate old computers and monitors for reuse and recycle electronics, small appliances, power tools and more for free.

Zero Waste 2040

We're developing a zero waste plan for managing the flow of resources and garbage in the coming years, and we need your help.

Pop-Up City Hall at TD Chinatown Festival 08-14-2016

Join us to learn more about Zero Waste and VanSplash when you drop by Pop-Up City Hall! Be sure to access basic city services in your own neighbourhood!

Demolition permit

Demolishing a building in Vancouver often requires at least one permit. Find out the requirements for your project, including for reusing and recycling demolition materials.

Food scraps and yard waste

Food isn't garbage. Learn more about food scraps recycling and what other items go in your Green Bin.

Greening your event

Make your event more sustainable with our Green Events Planning Guide. How will you manage garbage and recycling? Hire us, a business, or do it yourself.