Renfrew-Collingwood Community News

News stories from the Renfrew-Collingwood community in East Vancouver


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Eco-corner: Get ready for the Vancouver ban on plastic straws in spring 2020

You can choose from a wide range of reusable straws. Photo by Julie Cheng

BY JULIE CHENG

“No straw, please.”

Instead, I ask for a long metal spoon for my smoothie, and it goes down just fine.

This request has been a habit of mine for the past year as I geared up for the City of Vancouver’s straw ban when it was scheduled to go in effect in June 2019 as part of its Single-Use Item Reduction Strategy.

To my disappointment, that deadline was postponed.

Now city staff is supposed to present a by-law to council by November 30, 2019, to ban plastic straws beginning April 2020.

The by-law will include an exception for accessibility needs, including patients in hospitals and community care facilities who require the use of bendable plastic straws.

The problem with straws

According to the City of Vancouver, plastic straws and stir sticks make up about 3% of the city’s shoreline litter and negatively impact marine life and the environment.

Plastic straws can fall through screens on recycling sorting lines so they can’t be recycled. Even straws that are marked biodegradable or compostable are considered contaminants and are not accepted in the Vancouver’s Green Bin program.

Reusable options

Earth911’s handy chart shows alternatives to single-use straws. Source: earth911.com/food/straw-alternatives

Nowadays there are all kinds of different options for reusable straws, from glass to bamboo to stainless steel. They come in all sizes – you can get fat ones for your bubble tea as well as short ones for your cocktail that double well as a compact travel straw.

Check out Nada (Broadway and Fraser), Soap Dispensary (Main and 21st Avenue) and the Cook Culture (downtown) for their selection of reusable straws.

The best option is to just say no.

Julie Cheng is the editor of the Renfrew-Collingwood Community News.

Copyright 2019 Renfrew-Collingwood Community News