Vancouver to Eliminate Harmful Single-Use Packaging

Vancouver to Eliminate Harmful Single-Use Packaging

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Vancouver is well on its way to becoming the greenest city in the world – and they are now tackling the arduous problem of harmful single-use packaging.

The city launched their Greenest City Action Plan 7 years ago by setting a goal to reduce landfill waste by 50%. Now they are consulting with local businesses on the most strategic replacements for styrofoam containers, plastic bags, and single-use coffee cups. While members of the community will be able to present possible packaging alternatives to the city council this week, overarching bans on single-use products are very plausible for the future.

Styrofoam is a major contributor to the city’s landfills. While the elimination of styrofoam altogether seems like the most obvious action, Vancouver plans on compromising with small business owners so they need not be overburdened financially.

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Additionally, over 2.6 million polycoat-type paper coffee cups are dumped into city landfills every week. Assuming the city issues a ban on wasteful single-use coffee cups, businesses will need to utilize compostable or recyclable coffee cups instead.

“[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,” said councilwoman Andrea Reimer.

City representatives emphasize, however, that they will be ensuring the best possible methods of elimination for every stakeholder involved. As community proposals are reviewed throughout the summer, a public survey will eventually be made available in September.

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All of these proposals are a part of Vancouver’s 2040 Zero-Waste goal. The plan consists of several ambitious environmental and renewable strategies with the goal of becoming a zero waste community by 2040. A spokesperson for the city’s communication department was happy to report that significant progress has been made already.

“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,” says Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson. “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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(Photo by Vancouver Landfill and Recycling Depot)

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