Vancouver delays ban on plastic straws and foam food containers until 2020

Apr 30 2019, 4:12 pm

After hinting at a potential delay around the implementation of a ban on plastic straws and styrofoam containers, the City of Vancouver has confirmed that it has delayed any further action on this until the beginning of next year.

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The ban on the distribution of these materials within city limits was approved in May of 2018 and the bylaw was supposed to go into effect on June 1 of this year.

However, new dates for implementation of the bylaw will see for foam take-out materials banned in January 2020, and plastic straws banned in April 2020. The decision to delay the bylaw was made official this week.

According to the city, the delay in implementation is “a response from stakeholder feedback, particularly from small businesses, who have indicated that the most meaningful support the city can provide is enough time for businesses to find convenient, affordable, and accessible alternatives.”

Vancouver Mayor Kennedy Stewart said the city is “committed to working with residents, businesses, non-profits and other levels of government to create lasting change that brings us closer to our goal of becoming a zero waste community by 2040.”

In this case, he added, that “means providing stakeholders with a bit more time to adjust their business practices.”

Further details on by-law requirements, including phasing as well as exemptions for health care needs and accessibility, are expected to be presented to Council no later than November 30, 2019.

In the meantime, the city said that over the next few months, staff will continue working with individuals who rely on straws for accessibility and inclusion “to properly structure our by-law requirements in a way that will not negatively affect people who rely on plastic straws and aligns with the City’s Accessibility Strategy.”

Council has also approved staff’s recommendation to forward a resolution to the 2019 Union of BC Municipalities Convention requesting that the province develop standards for compostable single-use items, to ensure that they:

  • Are designed to fully biodegrade if littered in the natural environment
  • Align with provincial composting infrastructure
  • Are collected and managed through an extended producer responsibility program that covers materials from the residential, public realm and commercial sectors

According to the city’s General Manager of Engineering Services Jerry Dobrovolny, waste from single-use items, such as to-go cups and take-out containers,”make up about 50% of all items collected in public waste bins and are a significant portion of the litter found on Vancouver streets.”