New tool for improving recycling in MURBs (multi unit residential buildings) available!

Metro Vancouver has developed the Multi-Family Recycling Toolkit, Check it out here.


Excerpt from Metro Vancouver Notice:

23 April 2015

Metro Vancouver has developed the Multi-Family Recycling Toolkit, an online tool to help owners, stratas, managers and residents improve recycling in their multi-family buildings.

Apartments, condos and townhomes typically have low recycling rates. In 2013, the regional multi-family recycling rate was only 28%, compared to 60% for single-family.

“Recycling systems vary between municipalities and individual buildings, so there’s no one-size-fits-all solution,” said Malcolm Brodie, Chair of Metro Vancouver’s Zero Waste Committee. “This new Toolkit points people to the tailored resources, signage and best practices for their particular situation.”

The Multi-Family Recycling Toolkit asks users to identify their municipality, amount of units and type of collection system. It calculates an estimate for how many garbage, recyclable and food scraps bins are required and provides the appropriate downloadable handouts, posters and signage. These supporting materials account for variations in municipal recycling systems. For example, a separate stream appears for municipal programs that offer glass collection.

Next, users are presented with waste reduction resources like how to avoid unwanted newspapers and phone books, plus links to, to recycle non-blue box items like electronics or mattresses.

Finally, the Toolkit provides building managers and motivated residents with guidance and templates they can use to build a recycling team within their complexes.



​Food Scraps Smells Good!

Yesterday, a group of 20 MURB (multi-unit residential building) recycling champions gathered to talk about their experiences and challenges of initiating food scraps recycling programs in their building​s​. Special guests included Paul Henderson, ​General Manager of Solid Waste Services at Metro Vancouver​ and Andrea Reimer, Vancouver City Councilor; it was great to have Paul and Andrea present to answer the many questions around the upstream and downstream aspects of the local waste management and recycling systems, as well as comment on the proposed 2015 ban on food scraps in garbage.

Trash Talk Network Event, April 27 2014

During this zerowaste network event, ​engagement tactics were shared and innovative ideas (including finding ways to recognize participants in food scraps recycling through a green card program) were generated in response to common challenges.​​

The quote of the day belonged to Hilary Onno, a volunteer on the food scraps recycling committee in her MURB, who, in response to the conversation of s​mells and how it is often​ other items in garbage rooms​ (such as beer bottles not rinsed out) ​that​ are the real culprits of funky odours​ said, “but food scraps smell good, it smells like soil”. That is certainly music to our noses.

Kudos to all the Vancouver residents who volunteer their time to recycling efforts in MURBS. Continuous engagement and the measuring of metrics is a lot of work, and you are doing amazing and important work.  In fact, we love them and the work they do so much we have nominated them for a Greenest City Leadership Award from the City of Vancouver for their tireless efforts to reach the City’s and Metro Vancouver’s zero waste goals. Whether they win this award or not, they are champions in our eyes.


Update on Metro Vancouver Sustainability Community Breakfast

This morning’s Sustainability Community Breakfast was on the topic of Food Scraps Recycling in MURBS (multi-unit residential buildings, basically apartments and condos). Murray and I had the pleasure to speak on the Trashtalk project, and I will write a little bit more shortly. Some really great questions and comments were raised, and it was enlightening to hear about the programs going on in other municipalities such as New West and Burnaby. For now, here is a teaser (thanks to recycling champion with the great question, Jim Yee, for taking the photo) and for those interested in a copy of the slidedeck, here it is (half eaten apple and all). There was also some live tweeting action #MVbrkfst.


Article in the Vancouver Courier: Are you a recycling champion?

Are you a recycling champion?

By Mike Howell, Staff writer June 6, 2013

Are you a recycling champion?

Wanted: Apartment and condominium dwellers who are hardcore recyclers and want to educate their fellow tenants on the need to keep their food waste out of the regular garbage.

Murray Mollard is on the hunt to find “recycling champions” as part of a project aimed at getting Vancouver apartment and condo residents to abide by what will soon be law in the region.

When 2015 rolls around, all organic material in the Lower Mainland must be diverted from the landfill. So says the Metro Vancouver regional agency, whose waste management plan was approved by the provincial government. “This is a huge behavioural shift and people aren’t used to doing this,” said Mollard the co-director of a project called “Trashtalk” that was borne out of partnership with Mount Pleasant Neighbourhood House, Gordon Neighbourhood House and the Recycling Council of British Columbia.

Over the past year, the city has expanded its food scraps recycling program to more than 100,000 single-family homes and duplexes. Food scraps are picked up weekly and regular garbage every other week.

But the city has yet to devise a plan to provide the same service to apartment and condo dwellers, mainly because garbage and recycling is collected by private contractors. That’s where Mollard’s group comes in as it uses $55,000 from the City of Vancouver’s “Greenest City Fund,” Vancity and TD Friends of the Environment Foundation to help implement food scrap recycling programs in condos and apartments….continued

Full Story:

Trashtalk receives funding to continue talking dirt!

With a prestigious grant from the Greenest City Fund and additional support from Vancity’s Community Project Grant program, the Trashtalk project enters a new phase in 2013. These funds will allow us to continue in our quest to introduce food scraps recycling programs in MURBS (multi-unit residential buildings) and allow us to offer more support to recycling champions. We are just so excited and so are our partners! For Project Directors, Murray Mollard and Cheryn Wong, the project’s focus will be on assisting recycling champions to engage their neighbours to plan and implement new recycling programs:

“The key to zero waste will depend on neighbours’ ability to really engage with each other to figure out how to best encourage all of us to change our behaviour involving our waste. Our job is to assist recycling champions in any way they need our help.”

Anyone living in an apartment or condo in Mount Pleasant or the West End who would like to become a recycling champion should sign up or contact us for more info.

Mayor Gregor Robertson announcing winners of Greenest City Community Grants for 2012 at Van Tech Secondary

Full press release on funding announcement can be found here. Congrats to the grant recipients, read more about them here.