VANCOUVER B.C. -- Recently, Vancouver became the first city in the world to approve a comprehensive zero waste strategic plan: Zero Waste 2040. Additionally, Vancouver became the first in Canada to prohibit plastic straws and polystyrene foam cups and take-out containers with the adoption of an early zero waste initiative – the Single-Use Item Reduction Strategy.
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Zero Waste 2040 includes forward looking policies and actions to help move Vancouver toward achieving zero waste. Some of these actions can be implemented right away, while some will lay the ground work for progress over time.
Both the Zero Waste 2040 Strategic Plan and Single-Use Item Reduction Strategy will require additional consultation with residents and businesses as policies and actions are refined over the years to come.
Single-Use Item Reduction Strategy
The Single-Use Item Reduction Strategy responds to feedback heard from large and small businesses, residents, and the community as a whole that bold actions are needed to address problematic single-use materials. There was overwhelming support to ban foam cups and foam fast food containers, to reduce use of plastic and paper bags and disposable cups, and to ban the use of plastic straws with some exceptions for health care needs.
Priority actions in the strategy include:
In addition to recommending actions on reducing single-use items, the strategy allows for some flexibility and choice for businesses in order to make the transition manageable, education and outreach to support the changes, and continuing work with Metro Vancouver to develop a Regional Single-Use Item Reduction Strategy.
Every week, 2.6 million plastic-lined paper cups and 2 million plastic bags are thrown in the garbage in Vancouver. Cups and take-out containers make up about 50% of all items collected in public waste bins and plastic straws and stir sticks make up about 2% of shoreline litter in Vancouver. Despite their convenience, it costs Vancouver taxpayers $2.5 million a year to collect these items from public waste bins and to clean up as litter.
The Single-Use Item Reduction Strategy is the result of extensive consultation with residents and businesses to create a made-in-Vancouver approach to for reducing the impact of single–use items.
SOURCE City of Vancouver
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