Vancouver council has voted to keep the 25 cent fee on single-use cups.
Instead of discarding the fee introduced in January, the council decided Wednesday it is tweaking it instead.
The bylaw received mixed reviews when it was introduced on Jan. 1.
Businesses, stakeholders and residents said they encountered some early challenges with the bylaw, including the impact on low-income and homeless people.
Now, council has directed staff to make changes to the program including exempting free drinks and expanding and raising awareness of low barrier cup-exchange programs.
Council has also approved, in principle, a requirement that food vendors must accept reusable cups by July 1, which gives customers the option to avoid the fee and reduce single-use cup waste.
“We can’t flip flop, we have to stay the course with minor adjustments as needed,” Vancouver Mayor Kennedy Stewart said.
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Councillor Rebecca Bligh called for the 25 cent fee to be repealed saying it hasn’t been that effective in reducing the use of single-use cups and impacts people living in poverty.
Staff has also been asked to report back next year with a strategy to require businesses to provide reusable cups for drinks that are ordered for a sit-down order and to offer a reusable cup share program for drinks ordered to go.
This is intended to motivate businesses to invest cup fee revenues in reusable alternatives and provide customers with even more options to shift to zero waste, the city said in a release.
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