12/15/2014 08:42 EST | Updated 02/14/2015 05:59 EST

New food waste disposal rules go into effect in Metro Vancouver Jan. 1

Metro Vancouver is ramping up its enforcement on food disposal on Jan. 1.

Residents and businesses will be expected to separate food waste from regular garbage.

The organics disposal ban will focus on large food waste generators, such as supermarkets, major restaurants and hotels. Slow decomposition of food waste in landfills is one of the largest sources of methane in Metro Vancouver and the city wants to curb greenhouse gas production. 

Garbage will be checked at regional disposal facilities and inspectors will flag loads of waste consisting of more that 25 per cent food.

Officials will remind haulers of the organics disposal ban and provide information encouraging them to comply with the new rules.

After July 1, waste haulers will be charged an additional 50 per cent of the cost of disposal for loads of garbage with excessive food waste.

Metro Vancouver's Zero Waste Committee Chair Malcolm Brodie said far too much food waste ends up in landfills.

“Almost a third of the food we buy ends up in the garbage so by simply reducing the amount of food we waste and recycling our scraps we can keep tonnes of food out of the landfill.”

Roughly 95 per cent of single-family homes in Metro Vancouver have curbside collection of food and garden waste.

Brodie said the biggest opportunity to reduce organic material in landfills will come from companies that generate large volumes of food waste and residents of multi-family complexes.

“We recognize there may be unique challenges initially for some businesses and this phased approach is intended to help resolve any issues,” he said.