Vancouver Council has approved crucial new by-laws targeting waste and litter from single-use items such as plastic shopping bags, disposable cups, utensils and plastic straws in Vancouver.
“We have heard loud and clear that reducing waste from single-use items is important to residents and that bold action is needed,” said Mayor Kennedy Stewart.
“The by-laws approved today balance public demand for action and the central needs of our disability and business communities – access and time to adjust. As we take strides towards our zero waste 2040 goal, we’re hopeful to see harmonized leadership from the Province that will further protect our shorelines and parks and encourage lasting behaviour change.”
The approved by-laws are designed to reduce single-use items made from all types of materials, not just plastic, support lasting behaviour change, and ultimately value all members of Vancouver’s diverse communities – regardless of physical ability.
January 1, 2020
Ban on foam cups and foam take-out containers (approved by Council April 29, 2019)
Toolkits are available to help businesses and charities prepare for the ban on our website.
April 22, 2020
Ban on plastic and compostable plastic straws with an accessibility requirement to provide bendable plastic straws wrapped in paper
Food vendors must provide accessible straws (bendable plastic straws wrapped in paper) and provide them to customers, without question, upon request.
A one-year exemption is provided for plastic straws served with bubble tea to allow time for the market to provide alternatives.
By-request requirement for single-use utensils
All single-use utensils can only be given out by request.
January 1, 2021
Ban on plastic and compostable plastic shopping bags, with fees on paper and reusable bags
Paper bags must contain at least 40% recycled content.
Minimum fees of $0.15 per paper bag, $1.00 per reusable bag.
Minimum fees increase Jan. 1, 2022 to $0.25 per paper bag, $2.00 per reusable bag.
$0.25 minimum fee on all disposable cups
Creates favourable environment for Reusable Cup Share programs to expand.
“In the coming months, as businesses take action to reduce waste and comply with the by-laws, translated toolkits will be available online and print copies by-request to help businesses find affordable, accessible, and reusable, recyclable or compostable alternatives,” said Cheryl Nelms, Acting General Manager of Engineering Services. “A public awareness campaign will launch in advance of the by-laws to encourage behaviour change in residents, tourists, businesses and their staff.”
The plastic straw by-law includes an accessibility requirement that supports the fundamental rights of persons with disabilities to access bendable plastic straws, wrapped in paper, when needed for accessibility. Food vendors will be required to stock accessible straws (bendable plastic straws individually wrapped in paper) and provide them to customers, without question, upon request. This requirement was supported by a formal resolution from the Persons with Disabilities Advisory Committee and Senior’s Advisory Committee to the City of Vancouver.