Styrofoam, also known as expanded polystyrene, is a bulky, lightweight material that represents a large portion of the garbage in Metro Vancouver. It’s proven to be a challenging material to divert from the landfill due to the sheer number of products that styrofoam packaging is used for in manufacturing. There are also an unbelievable number of single-use cups and food containers distributed by businesses every day. Therefore, we are happy to report some upcoming changes to the way styrofoam will be used and disposed of going forward.
Metro Vancouver Bans Styrofoam from the Garbage
As of July 1, 2018, a surcharge will be applied to garbage loads containing over 20% of styrofoam at Metro Vancouver and City of Vancouver transfer stations, the waste-to-energy facility, and the Vancouver Landfill. This upcoming Metro Vancouver ban will include expanded polystyrene used for packaging but does not include food and beverage containers, packing peanuts or expanded polystyrene that is soiled, painted or treated.
City of Vancouver Single Use Ban
The City of Vancouver is taking the fight against polystyrene to the next level by approving a disposal ban on single-use styrofoam cups and food containers as of June 1, 2019. This ban will affect how grocers and restaurants may package “to go” foods going forward. Imagine the difference this ban will make given that 2.6 million disposable cups are thrown in the garbage in Vancouver every week and almost half of the garbage in local waste bins is cups and food containers.
Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson supports the ban saying, “I am pleased to see the City taking another big step towards our Greenest City goals with actions to cut down waste from single-use items. Vancouver and cities around the world are struggling with litter and waste from disposal items like plastic bags and straws, coffee cups and polystyrene foam containers.”
Single-use plastic straws have recently been banned from use by Deep Cove businesses and will be banned in the City of Vancouver effective June 1, 2019.
How to Recycle Styrofoam
Residents can drop off styrofoam for free at various recycling depots. Business would send their styrofoam recycling to a facility for a fee.
A list of facilities and companies – including Green Coast Rubbish! – that will help residents and businesses recycle Styrofoam is available on MetroVancouverRecycles.org.