Foam no more: City of Vancouver single-use foam ban kicks in New Year’s Day

Styrofoam take-out containers will be a thing of the past in Vancouver, starting on New Year's Day 2020. (AP Photo/Audrey McAvoy)

Foam take-out containers will be a thing of the past in the City of Vancouver starting Wednesday.

The city is implementing a ban on many single-use foam products on Jan. 1, 2020, as a part of its larger plan to phase out single-use item waste.

The ban applies to all white and coloured polystyrene foam cups and foam take-out containers used to serve prepared food or beverages.

The city launched a toolkit for businesses in November, 2019 to help them prepare for the transition to reusable, recyclable or compostable alternatives.

Click to play video: 'Impact of Vancouver’s plastic ban'
Impact of Vancouver’s plastic ban

The city is encouraging businesses to instead look at plastic or plastic-lined paper containers and cups, aluminum containers, plates and bowls made out of compressed leaves, paper plates, fibre containers, and ceramic or glass dishes and cups.

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Hospitals and care facilities are exempt from the ban in order to address infection and safety concerns. Food charities are also exempt from the ban until Jan. 1, 2021.

The ban also does not apply to foam products used to transport meat, fish, poultry or vegetable products from grocery stores.

Foam isn’t the only single-use packaging being banned in Vancouver in 2020.

Click to play video: 'Hospitality industry gets ready ahead of plastics ban in Canada'
Hospitality industry gets ready ahead of plastics ban in Canada

On April 22 (Earth Day), a ban on single-use plastic straws will also take effect, with a one-year exemption for bubble tea straws.

Businesses will be required to make accessible, paper-wrapped bendable straws available to people who ask for them.

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The next phase of the city’s single-use waste strategy won’t take effect for another year, until Jan. 1, 2021.

It will include a 25 cent fee for all disposable cups, and businesses will be required to only give out disposable cutlery by request.

Phase 2 will also ban plastic shopping bags, with a requirement that paper bags come with a 15 cent fee be made from 40 per cent recycled product. The fee would increase to 25 cents in 2022.

— With files from Sean Boynton

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