Trashtalk Project Turning to Trash Busting

January 2014

Trashtalk is a project that seeks to engage resident local recycling champions in Multi-unit Residential Buildings (MURBs) to lead food scraps recycling programs in specific condos, apartments and co-ops.

In 2015, Metro Vancouver will ban all organic material from the garbage stream and landfill. That means everyone across all sectors (residential, commercial, institutional) will be required to recycle their organic material rather than throw it in the garbage. The City of Vancouver’s Greenest City Action Plan tags Zero Waste as one of its ten primary goals with food scraps recycling a key strategy to meet this goal.

Approximately 40-50% of household waste (by weight) is made up of food scraps.

According to Murray Mollard and Cheryn Wong, Co-Directors of Trashtalk, the biggest challenge in food scraps recycling is persuading individuals to shift their behaviour to separating their organic food scraps out of the garbage stream and into a recycling bin.

“There’s a yuck, smell, fruit fly factor that will make some people reluctant to recycle their food scraps. But our approach at Trashtalk is to identify local resident leaders to teach and mentor their neighbours about why and how to do food scraps recycling through deeper engagement. We know that putting a green tote in the garbage room and handing out a flyer alone isn’t going to move the critical mass needed to make a difference.”

“We are working with highly motivated teams of residents who will help their neighbours learn about food scraps recycling and engage with them in a personal way. Impersonal, marketing campaigns from Metro Vancouver and the City of Vancouver will not be enough to shift residents’ behaviour. Just look at the level of blue tote recycling in MURBs.”

Currently, approximately only 15% of glass, paper, metal and plastics are being recycled in condos, apartments and co-ops.

Trashtalk is a partnership between Mount Pleasant Neighbourhood House, Gordon Neighbourhood House and the Recycling Council of British Columbia with funding from the Greenest City Fund, Vancity and TD Friends of the Environment Foundation.

For more information on the Trashtalk project, visit:  or email: