Information for businesses and charitable food providers

Food vendors are required to comply with the bans on foam cups, foam take-out containers, and pending Council approval, a ban on the unnecessary use of plastic straws.

Types of food vendors affected

Food vendors are businesses and other organizations, including charitable food providers that serve food and drink, and hold a license issued by the City of Vancouver.

Hospitals and community care facilities are exempt from these by-law requirements.

Charitable food providers are temporarily exempt from the ban on foam cups and foam take-out containers for a period of one year. 

Foam cups and foam take-out containers

Plastic straws

Selling banned items in packages in stores

The ban on foam cups and foam take-out containers, and, pending Council approval, a ban on the unnecessary use of plastics straws, do not apply to products sold for personal use.

Retailers are still permitted to sell these products once the bans come into effect. For example, packs of foam cups, foam containers, or at least 20 plastic straws.

However, wherever possible, we encourage businesses to offer reusable alternatives, or recyclable or compostable alternatives that are accepted in the:


Our goal is to encourage a high level of voluntary compliance. The by-laws include provisions for penalties for food vendors that are not in compliance.

We have several tools for enforcement. Initial actions will focus on education, outreach, and support.

Following these initial actions, increasing levels of enforcement could include warning letters, issuing tickets that could result in a $250 fine per offence, and referral to prosecution for non-compliant operators. 

Education for businesses, suppliers, non-profits, residents, and tourists

A public awareness, education, and outreach campaign launches in the fall to support the public, food vendors, and suppliers in the transition away from foam cups and foam take-out containers.

Pending Council approval, a similar campaign for the unnecessary use of plastic straws will launch in early 2020.

Further details and updates on the by-law requirements for shopping bags, disposable cups, and single-use utensils will be made available by November 30, 2019 once they are approved by Council.

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