Vancouver Just Banned Plastic Straws, and Plans to Do Even More

Vancouver is being applauded for becoming the first city in Canada to ban plastic drinking straws in an effort to reduce its use of single-use disposable items.

Better yet, the ban also includes polystyrene foam cups and take-out containers, and is part of a major effort launched by the city to be zero waste by 2040. According to the City of Vancouver, itís the first city in the world to approve a comprehensive zero waste strategic plan.

These single-use items are the first to go, and will be eliminated by businesses by June 2019, but the cityís going even further to reduce its waste with a Single-Use Item Reduction Strategy.

ďItís a coastal city, with the plastic items having a significant impact on the environment, we feel itís important to take action,Ē Albert Shamess, City of Vancouver director of waste management and resource recovery, told The Globe and Mail.

Next, it will be working towards eliminating other items, such as plastic bags and other disposable cups, which could include banning them entirely, or having stores charge customers for them. If reduction goals arenít met by 2021, it will move ahead with a full ban on more items. Itís still working on the details regarding how its reduction strategy will be enforced, but itís considering potential fines.

Hopefully the cityís efforts to reduce waste will have a major impact.

According to the city, every single week 2.6 million plastic-lined paper cups and 2 million plastic bags are tossed in the trash, while cups and takeout containers make up an estimated 50 percent of all items collected in public waste containers. Plastic straws and stir sticks meanwhile make up about 2 percent of the trash that litters Vancouverís shores.

Not only is this bad for the environment, itís costly for taxpayers. Vancouver is currently spending $2.5 million every year to collect this waste, and clean up extra litter.

We can also hope that efforts like this continue to gain momentum around the world, and raise more awareness about how our actions are affecting the planet, and the other species we share it with.

The EU just proposed a ban on† plastic cutlery, straws and plates, while in the U.S., campaigners are continuing to urge both businesses and cities to reduce single-use items like straws.

In the US, New York City†could soon become the biggest city yet to ban straws.

Photo credit: Thinkstock

66 comments

Chad A
Chad A13 days ago

Thank you.

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Ann T
Ann Telfer13 days ago

This is great news!

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Thomas M
Thomas M18 days ago

Very good.

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AL Lim
AL Lim21 days ago

thanks, Vancouver.

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Lisa M
Lisa M23 days ago

Thanks.

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Lisa M
Lisa M23 days ago

Thanks.

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Chad A
Chad A23 days ago

Thank you.

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Fred L
Fred L23 days ago

Huge ups to Vancouver. If only the politicians in Hawai'i had the fortitude to do the same.

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Bronwyn B
Bronwyn B23 days ago

Go Vancouver!

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Glennis W
Glennis Whitney23 days ago

All so awesome Thank you for caring and sharing

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