The days of going to a restaurant in Victoria and being served takeaway containers when dining in may be limited, after Victoria’s committee of the whole directed staff to look at ways to encourage reusable items.
Staff have been directed to return to council with recommendations for a bylaw that will:
- only provide single-use straws, utensils, stir sticks, and condiment packages when requested;
- only use reusable containers like plates and cups when a customer is dining in the restaurant;
- seek ministerial approval for the new initiatives; and
- direct staff to report back on options to shift to using reusable and recyclable takeout cups and containers.
Victoria staff originally proposed introducing a 25-cent fee for single-use takeout containers, but council removed that requirement because councillors said there is no proof the fee has an effect on consumer behaviour.
Councillors pointed to the same fee that Vancouver introduced, then scrapped because of its unclear effect on changing consumer behaviour and placed a burden on the business to administer the fee.
“We have to be mindful that we’re dealing with very high levels of inflation. We would be handing off yet another cost to consumers and I want to be really mindful about that. If we’re going to hand off more costs to consumers it better well result in something,” Coun. Jeremy Caradonna said. “The example in Vancouver suggested it didn’t move the needle much, it just drove more revenue into Starbucks, which is great for Starbucks, but at the end of the day, it didn’t result in systemic change.”
“Further, I don’t want to just download the cost onto the consumer. Ultimately, I think manufacturers and industry need to take responsibility for this.”
The motion, which unanimously passed in committee of the whole, still has to be passed in a council meeting before staff begin the work on coming up with a bylaw to implement these changes.
-With files from CBC’s Liam Britten