Vancouver adds to the list of canadian cities pledging a ban of single-use products
This week, Vancouver City council announced a promise to completely ban on plastic straws and foam cups and containers by June 1st, 2019, four days shy of World Environment Day. Following a number of Canadian and International cities, Vancouver aims to be a zero-waste city by 2040. Right now, the announcement is not a complete ban on plastic products, however, the city vows a full ban on plastic bags and single-use containers in 2021 if waste reduction goals are not met. (1)
The ban is taking specific aim at the following:
Mayor Gregor Robertson released a few statements on why the ban is important and how powerful the motivators are to change. "Cities around the world recognize the detrimental impacts of plastic waste on our environment and are taking bold steps to cut down or eliminate waste through bans and innovated reusable programs. In Vancouver, we're hearing strong support from local businesses, environmental groups and the general public, and I'm confident that this comprehensive strategy will help us become a clean, zero-waste city."
Campaigns like Drop The Straw are working hard to help amplify the call for change. They recently teamed up with the GM of local restaurant, Cascade Room, and pitched a proposal with a growing petition on single-use plastics. The waste numbers are disgusting...nearly 18,000 plastic straws were cleaned from our countries coastlines last year alone (reported by Dolf DeJong, The Vancouver Aquarium's Vice-President and GM). Each week, Vancouverites toss out 2 million plastic bags and 2.6 million paper cups (112 million bags and 145 million cups a year!)
Local establishments like Vij's, Chambar, Resurrection Spirits Distillery, and Phat Bar in Yaletown are joining the list of restaurants and bars across the country making the switch to either skip or switch the straw for a more environmentally friendly option. The Okanagan said no to plastic back in February (2), and the movement is picking up steam.
On the other side of the continent, Montreal implemented a ban on single-use plastic bags in January and will be introducing fines for businesses who do not comply. Retailers and residents have had the winter and spring to ease into the change. The full ban begins on June 5th.(3)
Though a growing number of businesses in Toronto are making the switch, the city has yet to make any solid decisions on a ban. Back in April, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau dodged questions about plastic waste bans in the UK.(4) Without federal unity on this issue, it will be local grassroots initiatives that will make the greatest impact on reducing our global footprint.
Is your favourite bar or restaurant still using plastic straws? Spread the word and help them make the change. "If you can't reuse it, REFUSE it".