Print Print

Vancouver City Council votes to scrap single use cup fee


VANCOUVER -- Vancouver City Council has voted to repeal the $0.25 single use cup fee. The motion to repeal the controversial fee was introduced by Councillor Rebecca Bligh. 

“We heard resounding feedback from businesses and residents that this fee was ineffective,” said Bligh. “With affordability at top of mind for many across Vancouver, repealing the cup fee was the right thing to do.”  

The fee has come under significant criticism for its negative effects on affordability and for the fact that it has disproportionately impacted small businesses and individuals from lower income backgrounds. 

“Our members have been loud and clear from the get-go that the cup fee was hurting small businesses and affordability,” said Ian Tostenson, President and CEO of BC Restaurant and Food Services Association. “We’re excited to see that Council has voted to remove this unpopular and punitive fee. We are very appreciative of the ability to work with the Mayor and Council to come to common sense solutions.” 

Further criticism from community members highlighted the fact that the single use cup fee has been ineffective in achieving its stated goals. 

“The City’s cup fee has not made a significant difference in reducing the number of single-use cups,” said Greg Wilson, BC Director of the Retail Council of Canada. “The fee has had a negative impact for small businesses and has increased consumer costs at a time of concern about inflation.  RCC is pleased that Vancouver Council has voted to repeal the fee and will continue to pursue a zero-waste agenda.” 

News of the vote has been welcomed by leaders in the food, beverage, and retail sectors.

“While restaurateurs continue to make strides in reducing plastic single-use items, Restaurants Canada applauds Council's decision to repeal the City's ineffective single use cup fee. The cup fee has not resulted in a reduction of demand," said Mark von Schellwitz, VP Western Canada for Restaurants Canada “Our members are always reluctant to pass along new fees to their value-conscious guests and have felt considerable push back to the mandatory cup fee. The fee also added even more costs and red tape to restaurants still struggling to recover from the pandemic."

In order for the fee to be formally repealed, City staff are first required to draft bylaw amendment language then report back to Council. The motion requires staff to report back no later than June 1st, 2023.