Vancouverites throw out 2.6 million paper coffee cups every week, according to a recent report by the City of Vancouver, and the Binners' Project say they have a solution — putting a deposit on disposable cups.
The organization is holding the fourth annual Coffee Cup Revolution event and setting up a one-day makeshift depot Monday to show Vancouver what recycling coffee cups could look like.
"Coffee cups are recyclable now, so if you put them in residential waste they are being recycled, but it's a very low amount because most people use their cups on the street, when they go to work," said Anna Godefroy, director of The Binners' Project.
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She told CBC host of The Early Edition Rick Cluff that the event helps push the conversation about recycling forward. Last year, binners collected nearly 50,000 cups off the streets of Vancouver in a matter of hours.
Binners bring the cups to the recycling depot and, as with other recyclable items like aluminum cans or glass bottles, trade them in for cash. The Binners' Project offers five cents per cup.
"The sad reality is that it's not just the waste around coffee cups that is the problem, it's also poverty in Vancouver," Godefroy said. "There are a lot of people that survive on recycling material and so we believe that by putting a deposit ... on cups, you could solve both problems."
Vancouver on board
A refundable deposit on cups is one option the City of Vancouver is considering as part of the single-use item reduction plan. In last month's consultation report, support for the Coffee Cup Revolution was listed as one action the city has taken to reach its zero-waste goal.
"It took us a few years to get the city as engaged on this event and now they are very keen, so the next step is to get the B.C. government," Godefroy said. "We are hoping that this one day a year helps with talking to the government."
In the meantime, the city has opened the issue of reducing waste from single-use items to public consultation and is taking comments until mid-December.
Coffee Cup Revolution is being held Monday, Oct. 16 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Victory Square.
To hear more, click on the audio link below.
With files from The Early Edition.