City of Vancouver's fees for single-use cups, ban on plastic bags start January 1

Nov 30 2021, 10:38 pm

More measures against single-use items within the jurisdiction of the City of Vancouver will go into effect on January 1, 2022.

The municipal government stated today that it is initiating an awareness campaign for the new policies that businesses are required to comply with at the start of the new year.

There will be a ban on businesses providing customers with plastic shopping bags, as well as a new requirement to charge a minimum of $0.15 cents for a single-use paper bag and a minimum of $1 for a reusable shopping bag.

As well, those who have a habit of getting their daily caffeine fix will be paying more. Every single-use cup provided to a customer will carry a minimum $0.25 fee.

Businesses will be keeping the revenue from the new fees, but they are encouraged to invest in reusable alternatives and to help cover the cost of complying with the bylaws, specifically the annual report to the municipal government on the number of single-use items provided to customers as part of the business licence renewal.

These new policies were originally scheduled to go into effect at the start of 2021, but they were delayed due to the impacts to local businesses from COVID-19.

Last year, the municipal government put in place new policies that limit single-use items for plastic straws, utensils, and styrofoam containers.

The municipal government claims over 82 million single-use cups and 89 million plastic shopping bags were thrown in the garbage in Vancouver in 2018. According to the city, the collection of single-use items from city-operated garbage bins and the pick-up of litter from streets and public spaces costs the municipal government about $2.5 million annually.

A growing number of municipalities in Metro Vancouver have also begun policy changes on single-use items, which also aligns with shifts in provincial and federal policies. This year, the provincial government also enacted policies that made it easier for municipal governments to enact policies on single-use items, without having to seek final approval from Victoria.

Earlier this fall, Richmond City Council passed similar bans and fees on single-use items, coming into effect within its jurisdiction in March 2022.

Surrey also became the first municipal jurisdiction in the region to ban plastic shopping bags, in addition to their ban on styrofoam containers. There is a new minimum charge of $0.25 per paper checkout bag and $2 per reusable checkout bag.

Kenneth ChanKenneth Chan

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