Recycling does at least these things:
- Keeps materials that can be recovered (paper, glass, metals, plastics, food etc) out of the landfills; and in the case of organics like paper, food, yard waste, it significantly reduces greenhouse gases from landfills.
- Minimizes the amount of material that has to be disposed keeps Metro Vancouver from having to expand the disposal system which keeps costs down.
- Reduces the consumption of natural resources used to manufacture new items.
- Creates employment - many local jobs are related to the recycling industry. The local recycling industry is worth well over $500 million per year. A 2001 study estimated it to be about $250 million, and we’re recycling twice as many tonnes per year now. And that’s not even accounting for inflation.
Approved within the Region’s Solid Waste Plan, Metro Vancouver’s current goal is to raise the region’s diversion rate from 55% to 70% by 2015 aiming towards 80% by 2020 – these rates would place us among the highest recycling cities and nations in the world.
Currently, most products are designed and manufactured under the assumption that their end-of-life disposal is someone else’s responsibility. Few products are designed to be easily recycled. Each year millions of products that cannot be recycled are handled by local government; costing money, filling up landfills and impacting the environment.
Metro Vancouver is not directly responsible for collecting or managing recyclable materials. We work with member municipalities, industry, residents and the Province to develop and implement recycling initiatives which are aligned with the Province’s Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) programs.