In 2019, the AV Landfill generated 15,971 tonnes of waste. When broken down, 30 per cent of the waste was organic (food waste). This means that 4.5 tonnes of organic/food waste that could have been repurposed and diverted from the landfill. As a result, 8.55 tonnes of carbon dioxide (C02) was released into the Alberni Valley airshed which is equal to two years of electricity for one household or 73.94 tanks of fuel.
However, positive solutions for addressing food waste on a local level are underway:
Alberni Valley Gleaning Project
The Alberni Valley Gleaning Project aims to decrease waste and increase distribution of delicious, nutritious, and local food. On average the program has collected close to 5,000 kilograms of fruit per year! The Alberni Valley Gleaning Project does more than just harvest and share fruit; it also helps remove bear attractants (Alberni Valley WildSafe BC fully endorses this program and applauds how it decreases negative wildlife interactions) while fostering community resilience and social well-being.
How does it work? The program connects tree owners who have unwanted or excess fruit with volunteers who want to harvest and enjoy local fruit. Harvested fruit is then distributed as follows: one-third to the homeowner, one-third to the volunteers and one-third to a local charity or organization. Extra fruit unwanted by the homeowners or volunteers is sold to help fund the project. Any fruit found on the ground ends up going to local farmers with animals that appreciate the fruit!
For more information on the Alberni Valley Gleaning Project or connect with them, check out their website at avtransitiontown.org/gleaningproject/.
Loop is based on a simple idea: Food should be put to its highest and best use. “Loop provides simple systems that enable food wholesalers, retailers, and producers to divert 100 per cent of their unsaleable food away from the landfill and towards those in their community who can use it best.”
Locally, Save-On-Foods is part of the Loop program. Every day, a farmer or local organization (i.e. Salvation Army) picks up all food from the grocery store. The Salvation Army distributes food they can use, then a farmer will pick up the remaining as a supplement for animal feed or compost fodder.
Love Food, Hate Waste Canada:
Love Food, Hate Waste Canada operates on the mandate that food waste is a solvable problem. They offer simple steps to reduce food waste, from storing food so it stays fresh to using up leftovers to meal planning. It is an educational campaign to assist people on how they handle and store food. For more information and helpful tips visit lovefoodhatewaste.ca.
Food waste makes up a large portion of our local landfill. The ACRD is investigating the possibility of introducing a curbside organic pick up. In a survey done at the landfill in July, 53.6 per cent of respondents stated they would be interested in organic curbside pickup.
ACRD Organics Diversion Program
The ACRD is working with the City of Port Alberni to introduce a curbside organic collection program that will allow residents the opportunity to divert food and yard waste from their homes and help extend the life of the landfill. Implementing an organics diversion program will help move the Alberni Valley move towards our target of diverting 50 per cent of residential household waste from the Landfill.