Vancouver council poised to ban single-use plastic straws and polystyrene foam used in food distribution

If the politicians approve these recommendations from senior staff, it won't occur until November 1, 2019

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      The City of Vancouver could be on the verge of taking major actions to reduce the amount of unrecyclable products entering the waste stream.

      At the Wednesday (May 16) council policy and strategic priorities committee meeting, staff will recommend a single-use item reduction strategy.

      In includes a regulation, which council would approve in principle, to ban "the distribution of single-use plastic straws by business licence holders beginning November 1, 2019".

      There is also a staff recommendation for staff to consult business licence holders "on proposed by-law requirements for plastic and paper bags and disposable cups".

      One component is banning the use of polystyrene cups and take-out containers, also by November 1, 2019.

      Business licence holders will also be given the choice of the following options:

      • distributing no disposable cups or plastic/paper shopping bags;

      • not distributing disposable cups or plastic/paper shopping bags for free;

      • or other mechanisms that achieve a reduction target to be proposed and finalized through consultation.

      "The third option invites businesses to be innovative in their efforts to reduce distribution of cups and bags, and develop an approach that works best for the type and size of business," a staff report states.

      This could include anything from incentive programs to discounts for customers who use reusable cups and bags.

      "Businesses that choose the second option and charge a fee on disposable cups and paper shopping bags will keep that fee as part of their business revenue."

      Leatherback turtles mistakenly consume plastic bags, thinking that they are jellyfish.
      Blue Planet Society

      Over the years, the Straight has published several stories on the harmful impacts of plastics on marine life.

      The most detailed was "Waves of Disaster" by journalist Roberta Staley, who noted tha plastic doesn't decay for up to 1,000 years.