Not many people get excited about food waste. But Joseph Shen counts himself lucky to be a part of a pilot food scrap recycling project that aims to cut down participants’ garbage by 70 per cent before 2015.
“It’s really heartening to see more people showing an interest in improving their environment especially when provided with the right tools,” says Shen.
A third-year LFS Nutrition student, Shen is a member of a team helping to raise public awareness on making food waste a viable resource. Launched by the District of West Vancouver and Metro Vancouver, the pilot program includes West Vancouver, Delta, Township of Langley and Coquitlam. “We’ve been holding weekend information sessions in different neighbourhoods around the Lower Mainland.”
Modeled after programs in Toronto and Seattle, residents are encouraged to collect food scraps in recycling bins for weekly curbside pickup. Eligible items include fruits, vegetables, eggs, meats, bones and pizza boxes, which are all taken to a regional composting facility and turned into compost that can be sold to landscapers and farmers.
“The hands-on application of classroom theory is exciting,” says Shen, “Especially when it comes to illuminating the concepts discussed with [Assoc.] Prof. Art Bomke and during LFS courses like the Land, Food and Community Series.”
Terms like “holistic” and “intraconnectivity” come to life, observes Shen. “I see the relationships where recycling food scraps lowers fossil fuel input, thereby reducing greenhouse gas emissions, which then leads to improved health for everyone.”