Using a plastic bag or disposable cup could soon come with a fee in the City of Vancouver. That’s according to a draft plan to cut back on single-use trash unveiled by the City of Vancouver on Thursday.
The city says 2.6-million disposable cups and two-million plastic bags are thrown in the trash every week, with cups making up about half of all items collected in public trash bins or as litter. It says taking care of them costs about $2.5 million a year.
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The city has been looking at ways to cut back on waste from disposable items since 2016, and kicked off an initial period of consultation last summer.
It has now put together what it’s calling a “made-in-Vancouver” strategy, and is asking for the public to weigh in on possible changes.
The strategy has disposable cups and shopping bags squarely in the crosshairs.
For bags, the city is proposing a bylaw be implemented this year that would require businesses to have a plan to cut back on their use — though it would let businesses choose whether to charge a fee or develop some other way to discourage use.
If the plan fails to cut back on paper and plastic bag trash by 2021, the draft calls for the city to look at an outright ban.
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For disposable cups, the city is proposing a similar bylaw to be implemented next year that would let businesses decide how to cut back — so long as they have a plan. That too could result in an at-the-counter fee per cup.
On top of that, the plan calls for the city to look into ways to recover the cost of collecting cups and other takeout containers from the trash “through an appropriate financial mechanism” from businesses creating the waste.
Further down the road, it calls for looking at a bylaw to require all such cups and containers to be recyclable or compostable.
Also proposed in the draft is a complete ban on Styrofoam cups and containers, and a new bylaw that would force food vendors to make plastic straws optional.