Single-Use Item Reduction Strategy graphic

City staff to update Council on foam and straw ban

Extensions proposed as part of Single-Use Item Reduction Strategy

April 18 2019 –

On Wednesday, April 24, staff will present an update to Council on the implementation of the Single-Use Item Reduction Strategy, including:

  • Early findings from our current and ongoing consultation process on proposed by-laws for plastic straws, plastic and paper shopping bags, disposable cups, take-out food containers, and utensils
  • Request to extend the start date for the ban on foam cups and foam take-out containers to January 1, 2020, for food vendors (with temporary exemption of one year for charitable food providers)
  • Request to extend the start date of the ban on the unnecessary use of plastic straws to April 2020. By-law details, including phasing and requirements for accessibility, will be provided in a report back to Council in November 2019

The request to extend the start dates for the ban on foam cups, foam take-out containers, and the unnecessary use of plastic straws is in response to stakeholder feedback, particularly from small businesses, who have indicated that the most meaningful support the City can provide is enough time for businesses to find convenient, affordable, and accessible alternatives.

Remaining by-laws to be announced in November 2019

Further actions, such as by-law requirements, enforcement, phasing, and education plans, will be announced by November 30, 2019, for plastic and paper shopping bags, disposable cups, and single-use utensils following the completion of consultation with stakeholders.

Call for provincial support and action

Concerns around plastic packaging and marine plastic pollution have emerged as a global priority. It is clear that these issues require support and action from all levels of government - not just at the local level.

Staff will recommend that Council forward two resolutions for the 2019 Union of British Columbia Municipalities Convention requesting the provincial government's support to:

  • Adopt a more comprehensive provincial single-use item reduction strategy that aligns with federal goals for reduction of plastic waste
  • Develop standards for compostable single-use items, to ensure that they:
    • Are designed to fully biodegrade if littered in the natural environment
    • Align with composting infrastructure in British Columbia
    • Are collected and managed through an extended producer responsibility (EPR) program that covers materials from the residential, public realm, and commercial sectors

Support for businesses and non-profits with the transition away from foam

In fall 2019, we plan to launch a public awareness, education, and outreach campaign to support the general public, food vendors, and suppliers in the transition away from foam cups and foam take-out containers. Further details and updates will be provided in the coming months.

Businesses and non-profits are encouraged to sign-up for updates.


The Single-Use Item Reduction Strategy, approved by Council on June 5, 2018, was the result of extensive consultation with over 8,000 residents and businesses to create a made-in-Vancouver approach to reduce the impact of:

  • Plastic and paper shopping bags
  • Polystyrene foam cups and foam take-out containers
  • Disposable hot and cold drink cups
  • Take-out food containers
  • Plastic straws
  • Single-use utensils

As much as possible, the strategy is designed to support convenient, affordable, and accessible alternatives, shift societal norms, support lasting behaviour change, and value all members of Vancouver's diverse communities. The strategy strives to meet the needs of everyone, regardless of physical ability.

Read the Council report (184 KB) in advance of Council, or watch Council live online.

Learn more about the Single-Use Item Reduction Strategy.