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Vancouver approves ban on plastic straws, bags from next year

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By Reuters

By Moira Warburton

(Reuters) – Vancouver voted late on Wednesday to ban the use of plastic straws and bags from April next year, making it the first major Canadian city to enact such a wide-reaching ban, according to the city.

The move, aimed at reducing the use of plastic bags and certain other single-use plastic products, is part of a trend in many countries aimed at reducing plastic pollution.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in June announced plans to ban by early 2021 some single-use plastics such as straws, bags and cutlery.

Montreal enacted a ban on certain types of plastic bags in 2018.

Vancouver said plastic bags and straws each make up 3% of shoreline litter on its beaches each year. Almost 90% of plastic products in Canada end up in landfills or the environment, according to a government-commissioned study from earlier this year.

Plastic straws will be banned as of April 22, 2020, while plastic bags – including those made of biodegradable material – will be banned on January 1, 2021.

Businesses must be able to provide flexible straws upon request for customers who require them.

Earlier this year, grocery chain Sobeys Inc, owned by Empire Co, said it would eliminate all plastic bags from its stores within six months, becoming the first Canadian grocer to end use of plastic bags.

Once the bag ban is enacted, stores may charge C$0.15 ($0.1128) for paper bags in the first year, increasing to C$0.25 after that. Disposable cups and utensils were not banned, but cups will carry a charge of C$0.25 each as of January 2021.

(Reporting by Moira Warburton in Toronto; Editing by Daniel Wallis)