A Metro Vancouver survey found Port Moody at the top of the recycling ladder with a 61 per cent diversion rate, which compares the amount of recyclables and composting at the curb with the amount of garbage collected. It is followed closely by Port Coquitlam at 59 per cent.
Coquitlam, with a 52 per cent diversion rate, lagged slightly behind its two neighbours, as well as Langley City at 58 per cent, West Vancouver at 56 per cent, and North Vancouver District at 53 per cent.
All were above the Metro Vancouver average of 49 per cent.
Surrey and Vancouver, meanwhile, were below the average at 44 per cent and 43 per cent respectively, while New Westminster dipped even lower with diversion rate of 31 per cent while White Rock was at 36 per cent.
Port Coquitlam Mayor Greg Moore, chairman of Metro's waste management committee, said the report isn't aimed at pitting communities against one another but to highlight and track what municipalities are doing in terms of recycling and benefit from what works best.
He noted Port Moody and Port Coquitlam have been recycling longer than most municipalities. Port Coquitlam has bi-weekly solid waste pickup, while its kitchen scraps programs has been in place for three years while other municipalities are just getting started.
Burnaby, for instance, has had its kitchen scraps program in place for about a year, while Vancouver is phasing in the project, which is expected to be part of all Metro households by 2012.
Everything from apples cores to chicken bones, bread crusts, eggshells, coffee grounds, tea bags, paper towels and pizza boxes must be in the green bin instead of the garbage can by the end of next year.
"They'll all get caught up to where we are eventually," Moore said. "This just illustrates the work we have to do. We're not competing with each other; it's all about us as a region getting to a 70 per cent diversion rate."
The single-family statistics in the report only represent one-third of the total waste stream. Some of the data are also from 2009, while the rest is from quarterly reports from 2011. Multi-family households, which are the worst recyclers, are not included in the stats because haulers tend to lump those collections in with those gathered at local businesses.
The push to divert waste from garbage pails and city dumps is part of Metro Vancouver's Zero Waste challenge, an ambitious goal to recycle 70 per cent of the region's waste by 2015 — up from 55 per cent now — and 80 per cent by 2020.
To do so, Metro Vancouver must compost 265,000 tonnes of organics — roughly enough to fill a quarter of BC Place Stadium with compact garbage — each year. Metro residents dump about 3.4 million tonnes of garbage annually.
The objects that can't be composting or recycled will be taken to a landfill or incinerated.
Metro Vancouver is proposing to build a trash incinerator to burn the region's waste, but has yet to receive approval from the provincial government despite having submitted the plan last September.
Metro chairwoman Lois Jackson said the regional district is scheduled to meet with Environment Minister Terry Lake on May 9 to discuss its 5,000-page plan.
If it's approved, the regional district will need six years to put out a request for proposals, go through an environmental assessment review and develop potential sites for incinerators.
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