12. Kiwassa NH – Food Waste Audits







Project Title

Putting Waste in its Place

Organization Name

Kiwassa Neighbourhood House


Waste reduction, zero waste, waste sorting, plastic waste, food waste, compost, recyclable materials, low-barrier engagement

Related Course Concepts

Asset based community development, Language access, low-barrier engagement strategies

Organization Information

Organization Name

Kiwassa Neighbourhood House

Mission and Vision of Organization


To cultivate opportunities with people and partners to build a socially just, resilient, and connected community.


A thriving community where all people are valued, connected, and secure.

Guiding Principles + Values

We are children, youth, adults, and seniors of all ethnicities, beliefs, cultures, abilities, and economic levels. We speak many languages and we are people of all sexual orientations. We value diversity and endeavour to reflect the diversity of our neighbours in our membership, our Board of Directors, our volunteers and our staff. We respect all of our neighbours and we expect that all who come to our House and all of those who provide and receive our services will extend the same respect to all they meet here. In accordance with this, we will act to promote the inclusion of all in our Neighbourhood House and in our community

Contact Information

  • Primary Contact Person(s): Blain Butyniec & Nozomi Imanishi
  • Email: BlainB@kiwassa.ca; Nozomii@kiwassa.ca
  • Phone: 604-254-5401 ext. 253
  • Address: 2425 Oxford St. Vancouver, BC V5K 1M7
  • Website: https://www.kiwassa.ca/

Preferred Method of Contact

  • Best method(s) to contact: Email
  • Best day(s) to contact: Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays
  • Best time(s) to contact: Mornings, Afternoons

Project Description

We are looking to develop a user friendly zero waste system that enables staff, volunteers, and visitors to easily sort all the compost and recyclables to minimize the amount of garbage that is generated by the neighbourhood house kitchen. Our kitchen probably has the widest variety of waste/compost/recyclables that come through the house so we hope that a system implemented there can then  serve as a basis  for a broader house-wide zero waste effort.  Informed by the plans that have already been developed for other agencies  we  hope to build upon that work   so this project can lead to the development of a resource that any agency could access to easily implement zero waste strategies.

What challenge or issue does the project aim to address?

Kiwassa Neighbourhood House  is an activity hub for many different people and community groups in our neighbourhood. As we strive towards zero waste goals, we wish to develop a waste-sorting system that is practical, low-barrier, and intuitive for all kitchen users as well as the neighbourhood house. Our current waste sorting system is not optimal, and compostables and recyclables are contributing to our garbage output rather than reducing it.

Student Assets and Skills (preferred or required)

  • Written or spoken communication skills in languages other than English are an asset (e.g. Chinese languages, Spanish, Farsi, Arabic)
  • Experience working in a community setting
  • Interest in zero waste
  • Interest in developing low-barrier engagement strategies

Student Assets and Skills (to be developed through the project)

  • Developing low-barrier engagement strategies
  • Applying zero waste principles in complex environments
  • Teamwork and communication skills

Is a criminal record check required?


If a criminal record check is required, when should the process be initiated?  

Prior to the first community partner meeting (September 18, 2019). Students should ask their TA for details.

Project Location

2425 Oxford Street, Vancouver, BC V5K 1M7

Preferred Days of Week and Hours


Project/Partner Orientation Materials

Students should request the following LFS350 student reports from their TA and review prior to the first partner meeting:

  • Zero waste CityStudio research based at Killarney Community Centre and Roundhouse Community Centre
  • Winter 2019 student report on zero waste at Frog Hollow Neighbourhood House

Additional Project/Partner Orientation Materials

The following will be provided at the first community partner meeting:

  • Building tour
  • Overview of existing compost and waste sorting system

Related Community Service Opportunities for Students

Students have ample opportunities to volunteer with our organization during and after their project in any of our program streams. Volunteering at any of our kitchen-based programs is a great way for students to gain perspective on the complexities of waste sorting at our centre, and is highly recommended. Specific opportunities include:

    • Weekly Seniors Lunch program (Fridays 11-1pm with lunch served at noon. Friday, October 4 will be the Fall Harvest Lunch which typically brings out 80-100 seniors – good opportunity to experience the challenges in scaling up the work)
    • Children's Breakfast Club (Monday-Friday, 8 - 8:45am)
    • Weekly Food Bank (Tuesdays, 9-11am setup, 11am-1pm open to the public)
    • Annual General Meeting / Volunteer Dinner (Wednesday, September 25, volunteers needed to monitor waste sorting station. Another large event of 100-200 guests – most of which are volunteers or participants in Kiwassa programs so a good representation of who will be the ultimate users of our zero waste plan)
    • Community Food Market (Friday, September 20 and tentatively Friday, October 18, and Friday, November 15, 1:30 – 3pm setup, 3-6/7pm open to public)
    • Our kitchen usually has a cook and volunteers Monday – Friday, 7:30am – 2pm. Students would be welcome to volunteer for an hour or two to see what the day to day use of kitchen looks like – they can arrange a time with Blain or Nozomi.
    • Some Saturdays and week nights other groups utilize the kitchen so may provide opportunities to observe the diversity of usage in the kitchen. If interested please arrange a time with Blain or Nozomi.

Expected Outcomes

Learning Outcomes

I hope students will learn about...

  • the complexities of working in a shared, publicly-accessible kitchen.

I think students will come to appreciate...

  • the many community-building food programs that take place in our kitchen.

Through this project, students will develop...

  • community development skills such as listening, observing, and asset-based approaches.

Organizational Outcomes

Intended Project (Short Term) Outcome

  • All Kiwassa kitchen users will consistently sort kitchen waste into the appropriate receptacles.

Medium Term Outcomes

If the student project is part of a larger project at your organization, how will the students' work contribute to the goals of this larger project?

  • At Kiwassa Neighbourhood House, we strive to make all our spaces welcoming and inclusive. This includes waste sorting systems that are intuitive, practical, and low-barrier for the many different groups and individuals who use our kitchen space.
  • The new kitchen waste sorting system will be used as a template for waste sorting systems throughout the neighbourhood house and hopefully be easily adaptable to other similar agencies, amplifying the impact of their work

How does the student project contribute to your organization's mission and long-term vision?

  • Uses a community development and capacity building approach to identify and respond to community needs in our East Vancouver neighbourhood.
source: https://wiki.ubc.ca/Course:LFS350/Projects/F2019/Kiwassa