The City of Vancouver is proposing to reduce the amount of single-use packaging like plastic bags and straws and ban polystyrene foam cups and containers.
There would be a requirement for single-use cups and containers to be recyclable or compostable and for food vendors to ask if customers would like a straw, according to a new draft strategy unveiled on March 29. The city would also investigate options for recovering the cost of collecting single-use items.
The plan includes flexibility and choice for businesses in order to make the transition manageable, such as ending the use of disposable cups and shopping bags or no longer providing them for free.
Support for Metro Vancouver’s work to develop a Regional Single-Use Item Reduction Strategy is also part of the draft.
Every week, more than two million disposable cups and two million plastic bags are thrown in the garbage in Vancouver. Cups and take-out containers make up about 50 per cent of all items collected in public waste bins and a significant portion of litter on Vancouver streets.
“Vancouver and cities around the world are struggling with litter and waste from disposable items like plastic bags and straws, coffee cups and polystyrene foam containers,” said Mayor Gregor Robertson. “We’re hearing strong support from businesses, environmental groups, and the general public who want to take action to reduce litter and the plastic garbage that’s polluting our oceans, and help us reach our zero waste goals.”