At one time or another, everyone has experienced going into a grocery store and being charged for plastic carrying bags during checkout. The City of Vancouver is considering implementing plans to have other single use items, such as disposable cups and plastic straws, treated in the same manner, or perhaps eliminated altogether as part of a strategy to reduce waste.
The local government has held consultations with residents and businesses over the last year to come up with a blueprint for reducing waste, which is now in its first draft. The strategy includes a recommendation for the ban of foam cups and containers.
“I’m pleased to see the city taking another big step towards our Greenest City goals with actions to cut down waste from single-use items,” said Mayor Gregor Robertson.
“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. 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.”
There are additional suggestions outlined such as introducing a requirement for food vendors to ask if customers would like a straw, and that any single-use cups and containers used must be recyclable or compostable. The strategy also allows some wiggle room for businesses to ease into the transition and proposes secondary actions involving education, outreach and better standardization of waste reduction policies.
According to the city, 2.6 million disposable cups and 2 million plastic bags are thrown in the trash weekly, and make up about half of all items collected in public waste bins. Learn more about the municipal green initiatives on the Zero Waste Vancouver website.