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Zero Waste City – New bylaws on plastic bags and disposable cups

Effective Jan. 1, 2022, the City of Vancouver introduced new bylaws aimed at reducing single-use items as part of a plan to be a Zero Waste city by 2040. Granville Island supports this initiative and has implemented these bylaws as part of our long-term overall sustainability program.

Plastic shopping bags
Under the new bylaws, plastic bags and plastic labelled or described as compostable, degradable, or made from biological materials are banned outright.
Exceptions:
Large shopping bags used to transport linens, bedding, or other similar large items that cannot easily fit in a paper or reusable shopping bag.
Produce bags, bags used to protect bakery goods, bags used to wrap raw meat, dry cleaning bags, garbage bin liners, sandwich bags, pet waste bags, and compost liners
Paper bags are allowed but Vancouver businesses must charge a minimum fee.
Fees do not apply to the following:
Bags in bag-share or take-a-bag, leave-a-bag programs
Reusable bags provided by pharmacies
Paper bags less than 15 cm x 20 cm when flat
Bags used by a registered charity or not-for-profit to provide food for free or at low cost
Cups
Under the new bylaws businesses are required to charge a minimum $0.25 fee on each single-use cup provided. Please note, due to Covid and the highly contagious nature of the Omicrom variant, some business may choose not to handle a used personal cup or vessel.
Exceptions:
Hospitals and community care facilities
Charitable food services
Food served in cups, like soup, pudding, frozen desserts
Packages of at least 6 single-use cups sold for personal use
Straws
Businesses, charities, and not-for-profit organizations are required to stock flexible, individually wrapped plastic straws for customers who have difficulty drinking. Anyone who asks for a flexible plastic straw should receive one and people are not required to provide any medical information to prove their need.
The ban on all other plastic straws includes:
Plastic made from fossil fuel products
Plastic that is labelled or described as compostable, degradable or made from biological materials
Exceptions:
Hospitals and community care facilities
Packages of at least 20 straws sold for personal use
Plastic straws attached to drink boxes and drink pouches
Utensils
This bylaw operates on the customer asking for the utensils. Meaning that for all dine-in, take-out, in-person, online, and telephone orders, vendors can only provide single-use utensils if a customer confirms they want them or takes it themselves at a self-serve station.
The by-law covers single-use spoons, knives, forks, and chopsticks of all material types.
The exceptions to the rule include:
Hospitals and community care facilities
Packages of at least 20 single-use utensils sold for personal use
Foam cups and foam containers.
The ban applies to all polystyrene foam cups and take-out containers used for serving prepared food or beverages. This includes plates, cups, bowls, trays, cartons, and hinged or lidded containers. This includes prepared food that is consumed on the premises, served as take-out or delivery or packaged as leftovers.
Exemptions:
Hospitals and community care facilities
Foam trays used to package uncooked food or foods packaged outside Vancouver
Packages of foam cups and foam containers sold for personal use
How the rules will be enforced
If a business is found to be non-compliance with the bylaws the City of Vancouver will initially focus on education and support. Failing that, increasing levels of enforcement may be applied. Enforcement may include issuing tickets, which carry a minimum mine of $500 but could reach as high as $10,000 for each offense.
Ongoing non-compliance may also result in business license suspensions or recommendations for business license revocation.

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