Vancouver mayor vows to scrap controversial single-use cup fee by summer - BC |

Vancouver mayor vows to scrap controversial single-use cup fee by summer – BC |

Vancouver Mayor Ken Sim says the city’s controversial one-time cup fee will go away this summer.

Sim made the comments during his first “state of the city” address to the Greater Vancouver Board of Trade on Tuesday.

“Everyone here in Vancouver loves the environment, but we can distinguish between things that are pragmatic and things that are not,” Sim said.

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“What we’ve heard from the business community and residents is the cup fee just doesn’t work, it’s oppressive.” That’s why we’ve committed to getting rid of the cup fee by this summer.”

Sim’s ABC Vancouver party has a majority on the council, ensuring it should have no problems getting the fee repealed.

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The City of Vancouver remains on course for a one-time cup fee

On January 1, 2022, Vancouver implemented changes to its licensing agreement that banned the use of plastic shopping bags and required businesses to charge a fee of 25 cents for disposable cups and 15 cents for paper bags.

Because the city does not have the authority to impose sales taxes, the money from the fees goes to business, not government. Businesses have been urged to use the money to switch to reusable alternatives to single-use items.

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The fees immediately proved controversial, with some critics arguing that they represented a windfall for large retail chains and others arguing that the fees discriminated against low-income people and the homeless.

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Is the city of Vancouver’s disposable cup fee worth the money?

The council later moved to exempt free or voucher-bought drinks and meals from the charge to address some of these concerns.

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It was not immediately clear whether Sim’s plan also covered the baggage fee provision. The federal government last month introduced its own ban on plastic grocery bags.

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Sim insisted his ABC would also listen to other perspectives on the issue.

“We will not drag it out for two, four years and write a report about it. We will submit a proposal, we will discuss it,” he said.

“We’re going to keep a very open mind.” If someone can convince us why it makes sense to have a cup tax there, we’re all ears. But if people can’t provide that argument and why it actually benefits the environment, we’ll get rid of it.”

According to the city, people in Vancouver threw away more than 82 million single-use cups and 89 million plastic bags in 2018 alone.

The city estimates the cost of collecting and disposing of these items is around $2.5 million a year, and many end up in landfills.

© 2023 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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