In July the City of Victoria became the first municipality in B.C. to ban plastic bags, and now it wants to look into banning disposable straws.
The idea has been put forward in council’s draft strategic plan, which outlines a goal to implement a robust zero waste strategy by 2021.
“How do we move forward as a community, as households, as businesses and as a circular economy to zero waste, so we’re not throwing anything out?” said Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps. “Now it’s very ambitious, but we’ve already started with the plastic bag ban.”
Since July Victoria businesses have not offered plastic bags to customers, except for a few exceptions including for meat, flowers, dry cleaning and bulk items.
“Victoria’s [plastic bag] bylaw is the most progressive and advanced in North America,” Helps said. “In the city of Victoria, waste accounts for 10 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions, and if we really are serious about climate change, which citizens are, we’ve got to start taking action and sometimes that’s going to feel like bold action.”
Much like the plastic bag ban there would need to be exceptions, especially for people with accessibility needs who might need straws to eat or drink their food.
Straws would be one step, Helps said, but eventually, the City would also want to pursue banning disposable coffee cups and take-out containers.
“That’s gonna be challenging, but when I think about how much waste there is in the landfill, if we can do things like take our own mugs, take our own takeout containers it will literally cut down on waste,” Helps said.
The final version of the draft strategic plan will be done on Dec. 14, and it will be up for public discussion until the end of January 2019.
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