Vancouver bans plastic bags, straws, foam containers and other single use items

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    Kennedy Stewart

    Vancouver is bringing in bans on the use of plastic bags, disposable cups, plastic straws and other single-use items.

    Mayor Kennedy Stewart says bylaws passed by city council balance public demand for action on disposable items with the needs of those with disabilities and the business community.

    Under the new rules, plastic and compostable plastic straws will be banned on April 22, but food vendors must provide bendable straws upon request to meet an accessibility requirement.

    A one-year extension has been granted to allow plastic straws served with bubble tea, allowing more time for the market to provide alternatives.

    Single-use utensils can only be given out when requested.

    Beginning Jan. 1, 2021, plastic and compostable plastic shopping bans will also be prohibited.

    “We have heard loud and clear that reducing waste from single-use items is important to residents and that bold action is needed,” Stewart said Thursday in a news release.

    Retailers can still provide paper bags, but they must contain at least 40 per cent recycled content.

    Shoppers will be charged a fee of 15 cents for each paper bag in the first year, then 25 cents a bag after that.

    The fees for reusable bags will be $1 in 2021 and $2 beginning the next year.

    Disposable cups will also come with a 25-cent fee.

    The new rules join a previously approved bylaw that takes effect on Jan. 1 that prohibits foam cups and takeout containers.

    The city has posted toolkits to help businesses and charities prepare for the bans.

    The Canadian Press