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Restaurants say Vancouver should not ban foam containers, coffee cups

Restaurants say Vancouver should not ban foam containers, coffee cups


By Robert Njeru

Vancouver is likely to ban take-out container waste, plastic bags and disposable cups. As expected, people in the restaurant industry have come out to oppose the move claiming that it is unrealistic.

The city is aiming to have a Zero-Waste program by 2040 and City staff members are searching for ways to reduce single-use waste. Staff members from the city are currently preparing to present options for council to weigh.

A significant amount of Vancouver’s garbage is as a result of single-use waste. It has been established that approximately 2 million plastic bags and 2.6 million paper coffee cups are thrown out each week.

Councilor Andrea Reimer recently told CBC News that there was a possibility of a total ban on such items because the law allows it. She added that they had directed staff members to put that in mind.

Mark von Schellwitz, the vice president of Restaurants Canada, has a contrasting opinion about the issue. He feels that a total ban is unachievable because a project like that would be very difficult to actualize.

According to Von Schellwitz, they can work on being environmentally-friendly while still meeting the consumer’s busy “on the go” lifestyle without having to go for a total ban.

He also said that the authorities should be focusing on consumer education especially because some of the city’s restaurants have already commenced using recyclable containers when selling their products.

He has proposed that Vancouver should provide more recycle-receptacles in the streets — like the ones the city started piloting in the West End last summer. He also said that consumers should be equipped with information on the best ways to recycle their containers after use.

The city has been experimenting with new bins that feature garbage, recycling and, in some cases, composting.

This pilot project is expected to cost around $50,000 and it runs between the city and Multi-Material B.C. The bins will be in the West End on Robson, Davie and Denman streets when installation is complete.

Authorities have said that the majority of the recycling stations will have three adjoined receptacles: one for paper recycling, one for mixed containers recycling and one for garbage.

There will be a receptacle for compostable food scraps and food-soiled paper for two of the bins in the West End and four in Stanley Park.

Officials will be evaluating how much the bins are used and the waste collected during the 9 months that the pilot will run.

The city will undertake further public consultation over the summer before a final decision is arrived at.