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Vancouver's controversial 25-cent cup fee amended, but bylaw still divides council

Customers with coupons or loyalty reward points good for free beverages no longer have to pay a quarter for a non-reusable cup in Vancouver.

City council voted on the amendment to the disposable cup bylaw Tuesday night, but it was far from unanimous.

“The cup bylaw is fundamentally flawed,” said Coun. Sarah Kirby-Yung.

As of Jan. 1, businesses are required to charge 25 cents for throw-away cups. This includes restaurants, theatres and stadiums.

The bylaw is designed to reduce waste, but none of the expected millions of dollars in revenue will be paid to the City of Vancouver.

In fact, businesses get to keep it all.

“The City of Vancouver cannot legally collect it under the Vancouver charter,” added Kirby-Yung. “So, essentially, we are giving the businesses free rein to charge 25 cents without requiring how they actually spend those funds.”

At the moment, retailers don’t have to offer alternatives, including programs like cup-shares.

“It has to have some teeth and actually go towards climate action,” said Coun. Melissa De Genova, who is planning to introduce another cup fee motion.

“I don’t like the fact that it talks about being green, but it’s not green.”

Councillors in favour of the rules argued that change takes time, and that some businesses are now adopting cup share programs. Top Stories

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