Less than a month after the regulations took effect, the City of Vancouver is reviewing its controversial new fee for single-use paper cups and bags.
The new fees – 25 cents for a cup and 15 cents for paper bags – went into effect Jan. 1 to encourage more eco-friendly drinking habits, like bringing reusable cups and shopping bags .
“Our initial month one feedback has created many anecdotal examples of how this isn’t working and we need to dive into those,” Coun said. Rebecca Bligh in an interview.
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Bligh presented an “urgent motion” to city councilors on Tuesday to direct staff to reconsider the bylaws, which passed unanimously. Staff will report back to council in eight weeks.
“Particularly around issues of fairness, incongruities of tech delivery apps, loopholes people bypass to avoid having to pay fees, and the general effectiveness of the settlement,” she explained. .
Ratepayers had expressed concern that fees collected under the program are pocketed by the businesses that charge them, and there will be no enforcement of municipal expectations that funds are reinvested in environmentally responsible initiatives. the environment.
“$1.25 or $1.50 on a transaction for drive-thru or take-out for a family of four might not seem like a lot of money per transaction,” she said, “but when those multinational corporations carry out thousands of transactions a day and [there’s] no ability for people to bring their own reusable cups or bags – yes that’s a huge boon actually for some of these much bigger chains.
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Since the regulations came into effect, some cafes and fast-food chains have not allowed consumers to bring reusable cups.
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This hampers the policy’s goals of changing consumer behavior and means there’s no way to avoid those who can’t afford the new fees avoiding them while having a coffee.
“We didn’t quite get it and I think it’s really important to recognize that,” Coun said. Sarah Kirby-Yung, who contacted Vancouver’s city manager during the first week of deployment to discuss the issues.
On January 12, city staff sent a memo to councilors saying they had been in contact with some of Vancouver’s large quick service restaurants and fast food chains about implementing a policy of reusable cups, she added, and that if this did not happen in short the statutes could be changed.
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Kirby-Yung said she is awaiting feedback from city staff after the latest motion, and if the review does not yield “satisfactory” information, council may have to make choices about whether to continue the regulation.
The regulations were originally scheduled to take effect in 2020, but were delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Given that the pandemic is still ongoing, Kirby-Yung said “in hindsight,” delaying it further might have been the right choice.
“Reusable cups have been deemed safe by the Center for Disease Control and they said we can use them, but it’s been a lot during COVID, and people are trying to adapt and everyone is trying to protect themselves in full security, so I absolutely hear that. ”
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