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Reducing Waste

2020 Target: Divert 50% of YVR waste from landfill
2017 Result: waste diverted by 51%

In 2017, we recycled and composted 2.3 of 4.5 million kilograms of domestic and international terminal building waste, resulting in a 51 per cent diversion rate—one per cent over the 2020 target, for the second year in a row! We did this by working with our partners, promoting our waste reduction initiatives and constantly checking our progress. We project that we will maintain this achievement through to 2020.

Our terminal waste diversion focuses on three recyclable waste streams including compostable organics, containers (plastics, metals and glass) and fibre (paper and cardboard). We saw increases in diversion for all terminal waste types in 2017, with an impressive seven per cent increase in organics diversion thanks to several innovative programs. Passenger waste declined from 0.093 kg in 2016 to 0.091 kg per passenger in 2017.

Reducing Organic Waste

We continued to see great success with our organic waste diversion program, with a record 817,057 kg diverted from landfill. Our success stemmed from the ongoing green bin program, Waste Wars and the amazing efforts of our team and partners.


Our International Terminal food court is home to a food-waste composter, which reduces organic food court waste by up to 80 per cent. The machine turns food waste and food-soiled paper into compost through microbial action, saving costs by reducing the volume of food waste generated and in turn prevents it from going to landfill. In 2017, the on-site composter diverted over 100,000 kg of moisture from the food waste generated at the International Terminal Building food court.

Centralized Food Court Waste Sortation

In late 2016, the airport installed a centralized food court waste sorting station located at our International Terminal Building food court. The staffed station has considerably improved our waste sorting and recycling by allowing for better sorting of waste when patrons leave their tray on the counter. Our customers have also appreciated the premier service.


YVR recycled 233,871 chopsticks in 2017—the equivalent of 708.6kg of diverted waste—with the help of ChopValue, a local company that turns used chopsticks into beautiful products.

Latex Gloves

YVR started a latex glove recycling program with TerraCycle, which repurposes them into gymnasium floors. Even with a late start in 2017, the program has been very successful—recycling 59,500 gloves from select partners.


We are committed to managing the environmental impacts of contractors and business partners. Since 2011, YVR has helped to divert 6,709 kg of quality surplus food and other items from landfill by placing them in Quest’s not-for-profit markets.

Waste Wars

In 2017, YVR hosted the third annual Waste Wars competition. Go here for more information. 

Waste Audits

YVR regularly conducts tenant waste audits and our contracted waste removal providers regularly assess our waste for quality assurance. We conducted waste assessment audits for all terminal food and beverage tenants as part of our Waste Wars program. Tenants did very well during these audits, demonstrating commitment to our waste reduction efforts.

Construction Material Reuse and Recycling

In 2017 we recycled 41 million kg of asphalt – enough to pave 20 km of two-lane road!

In addition to our terminal waste diversion, we work with our partners to reuse and recycle construction waste materials from large capital projects. In 2017, we diverted 41.8 million kilograms of construction waste. This includes a range of materials such as wood, drywall, metals, concrete and 41 million kg of asphalt. This equaled a 99.3 per cent recycling rate, exceeding our five-year average rate by two per cent and beating our previous record of 99.2 per cent in 2012!

Materials Recycled in 2017

  • 41 million kg of asphalt: 98% of recycled materials
  • 23,326 kg of scrap metal
  • 79,937 kg of kitchen grease
  • 7,401 of e-waste
  • 987 kg of batteries
  • 43,620 kg of landscaped materials
  • 1,889 kg of light bulbs recycled
  • 346 kg of latex gloves
  • 57,705 kg of broom cores

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