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Vancouver to ban plastic straws, foam cups and containers by June 2019

The decision is drawing criticism from the Canadian Plastics Industry Association, which notes that a recent public opinion survey shows the ban is highly unpopular with Vancouver residents.


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May 23, 2018 by Canadian Plastics

Vancouver has voted to ban the distribution of plastic straws as well as foam take-out containers and cups as part of its zero-waste strategy.

The ban will become effective on June 1, 2019.

The move is part of the city’s Zero Waste 2040 strategy, which was approved by councillors in a vote on May 16.

Vancouver City Council also approved a new, flexible bylaw to reduce the amount of disposable cups, as well as plastic and paper shopping bags handed out across the city.

Under the bylaw, Council said in a statement, businesses must choose one of the following options:

  • No distribution of disposable cups or plastic/paper shopping bags at all.
  • Charging an extra fee for disposable cups or plastic/paper shopping bags.
  • Other solutions that will be proposed and finalized through consultation.

The ban has drawn criticism from the Toronto-based Canadian Plastics Industry Association. In a May 17 statement, CPIA noted that a public opinion survey released on May 17 shows that the ban is highly unpopular with residents, at only 26 per cent support. “The vast majority of residents want to continue to use the material and have it picked up at curbside and recycled,” CPIA said. “A ban will force the entire foodservice sector to switch to paper packaging from foam.”

The survey, conducted by Pollara Strategic Insights between May 10 and May 14, showed that support for a ban dropped “precipitously” from 69 per cent to 26 per cent as respondents were given more facts about the recycling of both foam polystyrene and paper foodservice packaging, CPIA said. “This was due in large part to ‘Strong support’ for a ban plummeting from 46 per cent to a low of 9 per cent as residents learned that foam polystyrene can be recycled, making a ban unnecessary,” it said. “The plastics industry believes that Council is moving in completely the wrong direction with a ban on foam cups and containers. And that actions like this ban pose a threat to achieving zero waste and building a circular economy.”