Vancouver Phasing Out Styrofoam Cups, Plastic Bags in ‘Greenest City’ Effort
Having launched an action plan seven years ago to be the greenest city, Vancouver has set the goal of reducing landfill waste by half. Today, the city government remains determined to carry on this vision of saving the city’s environmental resources one less single-use packaging at a time.
The authorities are currently in talks with local businesses regarding the best alternative to single-use containers, such as Styrofoam, plastic bags and disposable coffee cups.
More than 2.6 million polycoat-type paper cups go to the landfills on a weekly basis. If and when the city does end up banning these disposable coffee cups, businesses will instead have to resort to recyclable or biodegradable cups.
Councilwoman Andrea Reimer said “[The cups] take up about 22 percent of the volume of our on-street garbage system, and they’re costing us literally millions of dollars to deal with.”
Since Styrofoam plays a major role in contributing to the landfills in the city, its total elimination may seem to be the most promising action. However, Vancouver remains sensitive to the financial inconveniences this move may place on small business owners, and thus the government remains open to making compromises.
In the upcoming city council to be held this week, community members will be given an opportunity to suggest and promote sustainable packaging replacements. City representatives assure business owners that the government will ensure the most fair and practical elimination methods considering all stakeholders involved. In addition, the city will make available a public survey this September.
Said proposals will be included and considered in the city’s 2040 Zero-Waste plan, which highlights bold renewable and sustainable strategies.
Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson said that “Cities around the world must show continued leadership to meet the urgent challenge of climate change, and the most impactful change we can make is a shift toward 100% of our energy being derived from renewable sources. The future of Vancouver’s economy and livability will depend on our ability to confront and adapt to climate change. Moving toward 100% renewable energy is another way that Vancouver is working to become the greenest city in the world.”
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