Vancouver, British Columbia Zero Waste Challenge

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Vancouver, Canada

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Type: Policy

Status: Launched on 1/25/08

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About Zero Waste Challenge
On January 25th 2008, the Metro Vancouver Board supported a long-term vision for waste management.

Zero Waste Challenge sets out to do two things with our region’s waste:

  • Minimize the amount of waste going to disposal using opportunities to reduce, reuse and recycle.
  • With the remaining waste, maximize the recovery of energy and finally, dispose of the remainder.

Across Metro Vancouver residents and businesses generate about 3 million tonnes of waste each year. Currently, about 52% of this is recycled. The other 48% is collected and taken to one of two landfills (Cache Creek or Vancouver) or to the region’s Waste-to-energy facility.


The Zero Waste Challenge encourages residents and businesses alike to generate less waste. Recall the 3R’s; Reduce, Reuse and Recycle. These three steps make up the Zero Waste Challenge. The Zero Waste Challenge will help us to discover new ways to reduce, reuse and recycle.

By following the 3R’s we can likely take care of most of our waste either at home, or close by. But even if we become extremely efficient at the 3R’s, there are still going to be some items that we will need some help to ‘get rid of’.

For these we can add in two more R’s; Recover energy and materials, and Residuals (essentially what’s leftover). The 5R’s complete the waste management picture.

You can see from the diagram at the right that the more we reduce our waste-creating ways the less there is to recycle; the more we recycle the less residuals need to be managed and so on.