Langley City Election 2018 - October 20th

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Metro Vancouver looking to study single-use coffee cup deposit system

Would you be willing to pay a small deposit on single-use cups or food containers? Most single-use cups and containers are recyclable, but they still end up in the garbage or discarded onto the street.

Light-weight foodware which includes cups and containers make up 10.7% of the material that ends up in street bins by weight in Metro Vancouver based on 2016 data. The City of Vancouver found that this translates into 50% of material by volume in their street bins. This is significant.

In contrast, containers with a deposit make up 4.4% of the material that ends up in street bins by weight. 2.4% of that is glass which is heavy. Our deposit system is helping to effectively recover certain types of containers. Our region has a binners community whose members collect containers that have deposits from our street bins and other public spaces.

Tides Canada is a national charity which supports initiatives across the country that support positive environmental and social change. In our region, one of their initiatives is the Coffee Cup Revolution where a pop-up coffee cup recycling depot at Victory Square is setup for a few hours.

Slide from Binners’ Project presentation delivered to Metro Vancouver’s Zero Waste Committee. Select image to enlarge.

In 2016, 175 binners collected 50,000 coffee cups to receive 5 cents per cup in a few hours. 210 binners collected 53,783 coffee cups within three hours on October 16, 2017.

One of the major goals in the Metro Vancouver Regional District Integrated Solid Waste and Resource Management Plan is to reduce waste. As such, the regional district is looking to support the Coffee Cup Revolution initiative with $6,000 annually for three years. This funding would be used to improved data collection, develop a waste characterization study, support round-table discussions, and provide a portion of the coffee cup refunds and pop-up recycling depot costs.

63% of waste was diverted from going to a landfill, or ending up in a waste-to-energy facility in our region in 2016. The street bin diversion rate was only 40% in 2016. There is still much more work to be done.

Considering the contribution of single-use cups and containers to our region’s waste, I could see the regional district advocating to the provincial government for an expanded deposit refund system for containers in Metro Vancouver.

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