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Styrofoam, straw ban looms

A ban on the unnecessary use of plastic straws and Styrofoam takeout containers in Vancouver may be delayed until next year to give small businesses more time to adapt.

The city says in a news release that staff will present a report to council on Wednesday requesting a time extension and also calling for a provincial policy for dealing with single-use items like "compostable" cutlery and plastic waste.

The city launched its strategy to reduce the impact of plastic and paper shopping bags, disposable cups, takeout containers, plastic straws and single-use utensils last spring with the goal of having bans in place by June 1.

It has previously said there won't be an outright ban on straws but a reduction of their use because some people with disabilities and other health challenges need them to drink.

The staff report requests to extend the start date for a ban on foam cups and take-out containers to Jan. 1 and a ban on unnecessary plastic straws to next April.

It says another report this November will provide more details on the proposed bylaws.

"The request to extend the start dates for the ban on foam cups, foam take-out containers and the unnecessary use of plastic straws is in response to stakeholder feedback, particularly from small businesses, who have indicated that the most meaningful support the city can provide is enough time for businesses to find convenient, affordable and accessible alternatives," the release says.

The city says reducing pollution can't be done at the local level alone, so staff are recommending council put forward resolutions at the Union of B.C. Municipalities convention requesting provincial support.

The proposed resolutions would call on the province to ensure "compostable" single-use items are designed to fully biodegrade if littered in the natural environment and the items align with composting infrastructure, collection and management in the province.

They also call for a more comprehensive provincial strategy for reducing the use of disposable items that aligns with federal goals for the reduction of plastic waste.

"Concerns around plastic packaging and marine plastic pollution have emerged as a global priority. It is clear that these issues require support and action from all levels of government — not just at the local level," the release says.



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