Vancouver's city-wide foam ban begins on January 1, 2020

Dec 16 2019, 11:32 am

Vancouver’s city-wide ban on foam will begin on January 1, 2020.

Starting then, businesses will be restricted from serving prepared food and drink in foam cups and take-out containers. Vancouver will be joining 100 other cities in North America that have made an effort to ban polystyrene foam cups and containers.

“The city is committed to supporting businesses as they make the transition away from foam,” reads a release from the City of Vancouver. “We are doing this in a number of ways, including notification letters sent through our licence renewal process, in-person outreach, and business toolkits.”

The implementation of the city-wide ban has been a long time coming. Vancouver City Council first approved the foam ban on June 5, 2018, after extensive debate and consultation.

After approval, a one-year gap was given to allow for outreach and education to support smaller businesses as they made the transition into more sustainable forms of packaging, such as straws and take-out containers made from paper products.

The ban was initially scheduled to start on June 1, 2019; however, it was postponed to give businesses more time to find alternative packaging.

The city notes that the foam ban will also include penalties for businesses that don’t follow accordingly, although its initial actions will be focused on education and support.

Plastic grocery bags to be banned by 2021

Last month, the City of Vancouver also voted to ban plastic bags, with the goal of implementing the ban in January 0f 2021.

The move is the latest element in the city’s Zero Waste 2040 Single-Use Item Reduction Strategy.

The bylaw proposes a number of bans on single-use items, including plastic and disposable plastic straws, by April 22, 2020, and plastic bags (with fees on paper and reusable bags) by January 1, 2021.

Once the ban is in effect, paper bags will be made available in grocery stores for customers. These bags must contain at least 40% recycled content and will be made available for a minimum fee of 15 cents per paper bag, and $1 fee per reusable bag for the first year.

Minimum fees increase January 1, 2022 to 25 cents per paper bag, and $2 per reusable bag.

With files from Kenneth Chan and Eric Zimmer.