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Vancouver becomes first city in world to approve zero waste strategic plan

"It's a coastal city, with the plastic items having a significant impact on the environment, we feel it's important to take action."

Image Credit: Getty Images
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Starting in June, single-use plastic is prohibited in Vancouver. The Canadian city recently passed a ban on the distribution of plastic straws, polystyrene foam cups and many plastic take-away containers as part of their “Zero Waste 2040” strategy.

The strategy will “eliminate the disposal of solid waste by 2040, which Vancouver City Council unanimously passed on Wednesday,” EcoWatch reported.

“It’s a coastal city, with the plastic items having a significant impact on the environment, we feel it’s important to take action,” Albert Shamess, City of Vancouver director of waste management and resource recovery, said to The Globe and Mail.

Vancouver’s Mayor’s office outlined the city’s “Zero Waste 2040 strategy as follows:

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According to the city, an estimated 7 million straws are thrown away daily, while 2.6 million plastic-lined cups and 2 million plastic bags are thrown away weekly. Overall, cups and take-away containers make up 50 percent of the city’s public waste.

With a $2.5 million yearly cleanup cost to taxpayers, Vancouver wants to lower this price tag and significantly reduce waste by 2021. This goal is in line with the city’s ambition to become “the greenest city in the world by 2020,” EcoWatch reported. This not only focuses on the city’s approved “comprehensive zero waste strategic plan,” but also includes zero carbon and healthy ecosystems.

The new single-use plastic ban will apply to “restaurants and vendors with city business licenses,” EcoWatch reported. While the rule is still being written, a $250 fine for any offenses is under consideration.

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