On June 27, 2017, City of Vancouver Staff updated City Council on new strategies to reduce single-use items like disposable cups, plastic and paper shopping bags, foam food packaging and take-out containers. City Staff researched the subject at the request of council, as part of the city’s Greenest City Action Plan (GCAP) and the city’s goal of becoming a zero waste community by 2040. Consultations and round-table discussions on single-use waste reduction with industry, not-for-profit organizations, experts and the public will take place over the summer. A consultation paper will follow.

The City estimates that 2.6 million coffee cups and 2 million plastic bags are thrown in the trash weekly, which would result in 34 million cups ending up in the landfill or as street litter this summer. The City also notes that disposable cups and take-out containers make up 50 percent of public waste, which add substantial costs to the City’s waste management budget.

No specific bylaw changes have been proposed yet, but the consultation paper in the fall should elaborate on the proposed approach. How the city proposes to regulate and enforce any new restrictions will be important, raising issues touching on municipal jurisdiction, business impacts, and environmental objectives. Whatever changes are proposed will have substantial implications for the food, beverage, and entertainment industries.