Violators won’t go unpunished down the road, but for now city will focus on education, outreach and support
Don’t expect to sip your takeout caffeinated hangover cure from a foam cup on the morning of Jan. 1.
Come New Year’s Day, food and beverages in foam cups and foam take-out containers will be banned from Vancouver’s restaurants and takeout stalls, part of the city’s single-use-item reduction strategy.
The strategy “gets to the heart of our throwaway society,” said Monica Kosmak, its senior project manager. “And it’s one of the first actions in the city of Vancouver’s 2040 strategy, which is to send zero waste to landfills or incinerators by then.”
The city has sent outreach workers to restaurants and takeout venues, and have been told by those still using foam cups and containers they are using up old stock before the ban comes into effect, Kosmak said.
“But many of them are aware and are prepared for the ban.”
A quick survey of 30 food stalls at two big downtown food courts in mid-December revealed just four still using foam.
Food courts at lunch time turn out to be packed with harried diners who don’t want to be quoted or have their photo taken, but one gentleman eating a Vietnamese lunch let us take a photo of the foam container his food came in.
“Of course (the ban) is a good idea,” he said. “Any single-use plastic or styrofoam that is kept out of a landfill is obviously a good thing.”
There are still lots of plastic utensils being used, but come April 22 there will be a “by request” bylaw for them, meaning customers will have to ask for them instead of automatically having them provided.
As well come April 22, there will be a requirement for businesses to stock and provide bendable plastic straws for people with disabilities, but a ban on all other plastic straws.
Come Jan. 1, 2021, there will be a ban on plastic shopping bags and a 25-cent fee on disposable cups.
Clear plastic bowls are not being targeted for now.
“The only bylaw that targets containers for bowls is the foam ban,” Kosmak said. “We’re not banning plastic bowls at this time, what we’re doing is asking (food venues) to choose reusable if they can.
“If they have to use a single-use item, they can choose something that can be recycled in the Recycle B.C. residential recycling program … or the city’s green-bin program for compost.”
That would include plastic and plastic-lined paper for recycling, and fibre-pulp paper, moulded-pulp paper, even pressed leaves.
Vancouver will become one of 100 cities in North America to ban foam, and the first in Canada, Kosmak said.
“There are other cities in Canada that have bylaws dealing with shopping bags, 14 of them I think, and about four for plastic straws, two of which are already in place.
“But Vancouver has the most comprehensive strategy for dealing with a wide range of single-use items in Canada.”
There is information online offering reusable, recyclable and compostable packaging alternatives and other helpful hints in English, traditional Chinese, simplified Chinese, Punjabi, Vietnamese and Tagalog at vancouver.ca/foam. SOURCE