Who does this bylaw apply to?

    The Fraser Valley Regional District’s new Waste Wise bylaw applies to all residential, commercial, institutional and industrial properties in the Fraser Valley.   This includes residents within the City of Chilliwack, the City of Abbotsford, the City of Mission, the District of Hope, the District of Kent, the Village of Harrison Hot Springs, and FVRD Electoral Areas A-H.

    What are compostables?

    Compostables are anything that comes from plants or animals, such as fruits, vegetables, meat, seafood, eggshells, cheese, bones, coffee grounds, etc.  It also includes yard waste such as leaves, grass, and branches.

    A lot of food-soiled paper are also compostable. Examples include:

    • Paper towels/napkins
    • Paper egg cartons
    • Food-soiled newspaper
    • Waxed cardboard
    • Paper bags and paper liner bags used for collecting scraps
    • Uncoated paper plates
    • Uncoated take-away food packaging.

    What are recyclables?

    Simply put, recycling transforms old materials into new, avoiding the need to extract raw materials.  Items that can be recycled include the following:

    • All paper products and packaging (cardboard, boxboard, paper, magazines, disposable coffee cups)
    • Plastics (beverage cups, clam shell packaging, take out containers, bottles)
    • Metals (beverage cans, clean aluminum foil and foil trays)
    • Glass (beverage containers and jars)

    Where can I go for more information?

    There are several sources of information available to help you:

    What are authorized disposal facilities?

    These are facilities that are authorized to receive, handle or process one or more types of municipal solid waste, including recycling depots, transfer stations, material recovery facilities, mixed waste material recovery facilities, organic waste facilities and landfills.  

    Will a recycling and compost container be provided or will I need to get my own?

    Check with your hauler if they provide containers to their customers. Some haulers have restrictions on what type of containers you may use, if you are to supply your own container, verify what these restrictions are.

    How should we deal with issues of odours and pests from compostables collection bins?

    Pests and odour can be kept to a minimum with regular emptying and cleaning of food waste containers. 

    If you have a private hauler, you can talk to them about options such as:

    • Switching in clean bins after collection
    • Using a pre-approved bin liner when available
    • Having bins cleaned at time of collection
    • More frequent collection during hot weather
    • Reducing free liquids in your organics collection.
    • Commercial bin-cleaning services are available. 

    I’ve found some plastic bags that are labelled compostable or biodegradable. Can I use them?

    In general, plastics, including those marked biodegradable, and similar items are not accepted with compostables as they contaminate the finished product and reduce its value. Please confirm with your hauler if you are allowed to use any plastic liners for your compostables collection.

    What is a kitchen catcher? Where can I get one for my kitchen?

    A kitchen catcher is a counter-top (or under-sink) container with a lid that you use in your kitchen that can be carried to and from the communal compostables bins and easily emptied, and cleaned. Many stores (such as Home Depot, Walmart, Canadian Tire, Rona etc.) sell them, or residents can also make their own (a lidded coffee tin, a large yogurt container, or a glass bowl with a plate on top). Use something you can line with newsprint and seal with a lid to reduce any potential odours.

    Can I line my kitchen catchers with plastic bags?

    Use only paper bags to line your kitchen catcher and/or compost bin. Plastic bags, even those labelled biodegradable or compostable are not accepted as they get entangled in machinery and contaminate compost and reduce its value.

    If our strata doesn’t currently collect recyclables or compostables, how do we start?

    First identify who is in charge of managing the waste collection at your strata, and talk with them about what they are doing.  Resources are available to assist them in setting up a waste sorting program can be found at: https://bewastewise.com/sector/townhouses-apartment-buildings/.   

    Developing a collection plan is a good first start. This plan could include:  

    • Roles and responsibilities (Who will contact the hauler or city to find out hauling options? Who will make decisions about informing residents?)
    • Timing (When can your building be ready to start a full program? What is the best way to encourage and sustain participation? Is it reasonable to start a few floors/units at a time to build participation?)
    • Communication strategy (Will residents be informed with elevator notices/ door-to-door introductions/ a meeting?)
    • How much follow-up information will be provided after the program is initiated?

    What if other residents put plastic and packaging in our shared compostables collection bins?

    Like all recycling, a communal food waste bin requires everyone to follow the same rules. Your compostables hauler will identify if there are plastic bags, food ties, or food packaging in your bins and can suggest ways to avoid this contamination. To improve your food waste recycling program, provide residents with feedback on how they are doing, and current issues or problem. Use consistent informational signage and provide friendly reminders.

    My strata has a tiny recycling room and there is no space for compostables bins. What can we do?

    Your waste hauler may be able to recommend a solution. Some options include decreasing garbage bin sizes (remember that increased recycling and composting means less garbage!) or increasing collection frequency.  

    How do I know who my waste hauler is?

    Check with your property manager/strata council. Or, wait until garbage day and take a peek at the company name on the truck!

    My waste hauler puts garbage and recycling in the same truck. What can I do?

    Many waste haulers use split compartment trucks, meaning that there two or more compartments in the back where waste can be separated by type. This may not be visible at certain angles. If you are still concerned, you can call your hauler and ask them about it.

    Will this cost me more?

    Many communities and businesses in the Fraser Valley are already successfully recycling and composting. Costs or savings are determined by how effectively waste is managed. For instance, as staff recycle and compost more, the size of garbage bin or the frequency of collection can be reduced, which can recover some of the costs of composting.  

    What happens if I don’t participate?

    The FVRD is looking to obtain compliance to this bylaw by providing education and support and by working together to sort it out.  The FVRD understands that this change may take time to implement as the region evolves to gain compliance with this new way of sorting, and wants Fraser Valley residents to succeed in being waste wise.  Financial penalties may be imposed as a last resort, but only if prior attempts at gaining voluntary compliance fail.