The City of Vancouver taken another step in its plan to reduce single-use items like to-go coffee cups and styrofoam takeout containers.
On Tuesday, councillors voted to go ahead with public consultations this summer on ideas and policies concerning the use of single-use items such as disposable coffee cups and styrofoam takeout containers.
“Despite their convenience, single use items cost Vancouver taxpayers about $2.5 million a year to collect from public waste bins and to clean up as litter in our parks, streets and green spaces,” the city said in a release.
“They are often not reused or recycled, take up valuable space in our landfill, have a lasting impact on our environment long after their short use, and require a significant amount of resources from our planet.”
Ultimately, the city is looking for a “made-in-Vancouver” solution, said Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson.
“Taking these next steps to reduce coffee cups, Styrofoam, and plastic bags from our landfills will take our environmental leadership to the next level,” he said.
The idea, he said, is to find a “a balanced approach” that works for both residents and businesses. “I encourage every Vancouverite to have their say in how we can reduce waste from single-use items.”
Over the summer, businesses, institutions, and not-for-profits are invited to provide their input and help shape the strategy through a consultation paper and roundtable discussions.
A Talk Vancouver survey for the general public to help create ideas and solutions will be released in September as well.
According to the city, single-use items cost Vancouver taxpayers about $2.5 million a year to collect from public waste bins and to clean up as litter in parks, streets, and green spaces.
Cities “all over the world” are grappling with the issue of litter and increasing waste from single-use items, said Albert Shamess, the city’s director of Zero Waste and Resource Recovery.
“These are often not reused or recycled, take up valuable space in our landfill, have a lasting impact on our environment long after their short use, and they require a significant amount of resources.”
Reducing waste from single-use items is complex, Shamess added. “It involves varying levels of behaviour change, an evolution of social norms, and is beyond the ability of any one organization.”
As part of a pilot program this summer, the City will be partnering with Vancouver Coastal Health to launch a pilot where restaurants and retailers can fill orders in reusable containers brought by customers.