Victoria’s plastic bag ban came into effect on July 1, 2018, and that was just the beginning.

“I think if we can remember to bring our own shopping bags, we can probably remember to bring our own mugs and our own takeout containers,” said Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps.

The next changes not going to happen right away but the timeline is aggressive. The goal is to completely phase out single-use coffee cups and takeout containers by 2020.

Helps says that is just one of the goals on 180-item list laid out in the city’s four-year strategic plan.

“We will do it slowly and carefully just like we did with plastic bags and that’s why the objective is out by 2020 not to next year,” said Helps.

And with extensive industry consultation that will take place over the next two years.

The driver of the decision to phase out the single-use coffee cups and take out containers according to Helps is the environmental impact of them ending up in the landfills. But, cost management for the city is playing a part as well.

“The less garbage that goes into the landfill, the less we need to pay for landfill operations, so it has a planetary benefit but it also has a monetary benefit,” said Helps.

Tristan Bacon the general manager of 2% Jazz Coffee in Victoria liked the idea and says they’ve already been taking measures to steer people in that direction, using incentives for people to bring their own mugs. But that hasn’t been enough and Bacon says legislation is the way to go.

“The industry needs a kick to move towards goals like that. We aren’t going to see results without legislation, without changes happening, that force someone to change the way they do things. And I think that’s true on a personal level and I think that’s true on a business level as well,” said Bacon.

While Bacon says he doesn’t think they will see a reduction in their costs right away, he’s excited at the prospect long-term.

“Over the course of time we would spend less and less and less on reusable cups as it gets into the public that yeah, you have to bring something back for us to serve you a cup of coffee,” said Bacon.

But first, by next year, single-use straws will be out.

“There are a lot of businesses that are already going in that direction anyway and coffee cups and single-use containers will be 2020 and then we will look to move beyond that in future years,” said Helps.

Luisa Alvarez