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Victoria Canada moves to reduce single-use disposables at local eateries

In a unanimous vote from Victoria’s city council, a bylaw will be prepared to eliminate more single-use disposables and encourage reuse practices in local eateries.

The bylaw will require businesses to only distribute reusable utensils, stir sticks, straws, cups, etc. to customers when they are having their food and drink to-stay.

This means cafes who serve all their drinks in paper cups will have to use ceramic mugs or some other reusable cup for coffee-drinkers who are having their drink in the cafe.

According to new data from a Capital Regional District (CRD) waste composition study, around 220,000 single-use items end up thrown away every day in Victoria. The study also found that around 13% of Hartland Landfill’s materials are single-use items.

The new bylaw, once made and implemented, will be complimentary to federal and provincial bans on single-use items.

“The city’s garbage bins tell a story of needless waste,” said Mayor Marianne Alto. “I know Victorians want us to work together to do better.”

“Reusable alternatives to disposable single-use items have a clear benefit to the cleanliness of Victoria streets and parks, and to our environment.”

This kind of move by the city has been in the making since 2019 when the goal was set to reduce waste by 50% by the year 2040.

Some business owners in Victoria have already been working towards the goal set by Victoria, but they acknowledge there is always room for improvement.

“As a carbon-neutral company, we have always made it a priority to encourage reuse as often as possible,” said Shane Devereux, owner of Sherwood and Habit Coffee.

“Disposable items add up quick, both in the landfill and as a cost; just one disposable coffee cup costs me 20 cents. I’m optimistic that these new policies will nudge consumers to think more about their use of convenience items.”

The BC Restaurant and Foodservices Association (BCRFA) gave the proposed bylaw their seal of approval, knowing it will help reduce costs for businesses and reduce their carbon footprint at the same time.

“The BCRFA would like to thank the staff at the City of Victoria for working with industry on the implementation of a single-use item reduction bylaw,” said Ian Tostenson, President of the BCRFA.

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