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Environment

Vancouver may not see ban on plastic straws, styrofoam containers until next year

WATCH: City of Vancouver staff are asking for more time before the city bans plastic straws and styrofoam take-out containers. Jordan Armstrong reports.

Environmentally-conscious diners in Vancouver may have to wait until next year before seeing a total ban on plastic straws and styrofoam containers.

A new report from city staff recommends council wait until the first day of 2020 to impose the ban on foam take-out containers and cups, while delaying the outlawing of plastic straws even longer to next April.

The report, which is due to be presented to council Wednesday, says the request for the delays is being made in order to give businesses more time to adapt and find “convenient, affordable and accessible alternatives,” the city said Thursday.

WATCH: (Aired May 16, 2018) City of Vancouver votes to ban single-use plastic straws and Styrofoam cups

City of Vancouver votes to ban single-use plastic straws and Styrofoam cups
City of Vancouver votes to ban single-use plastic straws and Styrofoam cups
“There’s general support for the [strategy], but there appears to be little information on the bans,” the city’s senior project manager Monica Kosmak said. “We’ve been consulting with businesses over the past year and that process is still underway.”

The previous council approved staff’s Single-Use Item Reduction Strategy policy last spring, which included a proposed ban on single-use plastic straws and foam containers, with plans to have the ban in place by June 1.

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Council has yet to approve the bylaw that would put the ban in place. That bylaw would be based on the new report being presented Wednesday.

READ MORE: City of Vancouver votes to ban single-use plastic straws and styrofoam cups

The foam container ban will come with a one-year exemption for charitable food providers, the city said.

Kosmak said the consultation process on the plastic straw ban is taking longer to address issues of accessibility.

“We found the bendable plastic straw remains the best solution for people with accessibility issues,” she said. “So under a ban on plastic straws, we will also be recommending … businesses provide those bendable straws to people who need them for accessibility, upon request.”

READ MORE: Greener disposable cups coming to Vancouver Starbucks

Kosmak said some businesses have raised concerns over the cost of sourcing reusable or compostable containers and straws, but that “many Vancouverites” support paying “a few cents” extra to cover those costs.

Staff is planning to announce more details about the bylaw in November, including action on reducing plastic shopping bags and single-use utensils, as well as general education campaigns for the public and business community.

The strategy is part of the city’s efforts to make Vancouver a “zero-waste municipality” by 2040.

WATCH: (Aired July 10, 2018) Vancouver to become test market for Starbucks new straw ban

Vancouver to become test market for Starbucks new straw ban
Vancouver to become test market for Starbucks new straw ban
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In addition, staff will recommend on Wednesday that council put forward resolutions at this year’s Union of B.C. Municipalities convention to ask for provincial support.

The proposed resolutions would call on the province to ensure “compostable” single-use items are designed to fully biodegrade if littered in the natural environment and that the items align with composting infrastructure, collection and management in the province.

They also call for a more comprehensive provincial strategy for reducing the use of disposable items that aligns with federal goals for the reduction of plastic waste.

— With files from Jordan Armstrong and the Canadian Press

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