British Columbia

Vancouver's possible ban of coffee cups, foam containers unreasonable, industry says

A representative of the restaurant industry says a possible ban on disposable cups, plastic bags and take-out container waste in Vancouver is not realistic.

City staff looking at ways to reduce single-use waste in order to meet city's 2040 Zero-Waste goal

A city report says 2.6 million paper coffee cups head to Vancouver landfills every week. (CBC)

A representative of the restaurant industry says a possible ban on disposable cups, plastic bags and take-out container waste in Vancouver is not realistic.

Staff from the City of Vancouver are expected to present options for council to consider to reduce single-use waste to meet the city's goal of becoming a zero-waste city by 2040.

Single-use waste make up a significant component of city garbage. For example, city staff found nearly 2.6 million paper coffee cups and 2 million plastic bags are thrown out every week in Vancouver.

A total ban on such items is a possibility, according to Councillor Andrea Reimer.

"We believe that a ban is legally possible, and we have asked staff to look very closely at that," she told CBC News last week.

But Mark von Schellwitz, the vice president of Restaurants Canada, says a total ban would be difficult to implement.

"The reality today is that consumers are increasingly looking for convenience to fit their busy on the go lifestyle. I certainly think we can continue to meet that consumer demand and at the same time do it in a more environmentally sustainable way."

Von Schellwitz said some Vancouver restaurants have already started using recyclable containers. He says the real gap is consumer education.

Consumers should be better informed on how to recycle their containers after use, he proposed, and there should be more recycle-receptacles available across the city — like the ones the city started piloting in the West End last summer.

The city will present its potential strategies at council today and it will undertake further public consultation over the summer before a final decision is made.

With files from The Early Edition

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