Require all fast food take-out containers to be reusable, compostable, or recyclable
There are plenty of reusable, compostable and recyclable food take-out container options these days (see UBC's compostable take-out containers for an example).
All facilities should also have compost and recycling collection for these containers, with clever designs that prevent cross-contamination.
Thought should be given to whether used food containers need to be washed before being deposited into the store's compost collection bin, or whether a process can be implemented that would take care of this after collection.
Note: Bassam Al-Kuwatli's idea "Biodegradable Food Containers" has been merged with this one.
Mandate all takeout food locations, coffee shops and food stores to use biodegradable food containers, plates, utensils, cups, lids and straws. Add this to using biodegradable plastic bags only; Vancouver will not need to deal with all the plastics in the waste stream.
Most of those products will be composted like the rest our organic waste.
Janine Brossard commented
Reusable would be great!
Marie C commented
If the container that something comes in isn't recyclable, then don't buy it.
yeah, I agree with this idea!
Concept Amenities commented
Do not confuse compost facilities with waste in landfills. Helen is correct. Compost facilities should only accept 100% compostable products. The corn in corn-based PLA plastic is only not 100% biodegradable because the plastic in the product does not biodegrade, only the corn does. That said, technology does exist to make 100% biodegradable plastic that will biodegrade in landfill. Ecopure for example is an enzyme additive that renders plastic biodegradable in landfill. It too will not biodegrade in a compost facility (or in the woods or a lakeshore for that matter). But it is a solution... and it is 100% biodegradable in landfill. Therefore, this is a valid solution to provide plastic food containers, and hotel shampoo bottles, that are biodegradable in landfill. Keep plastic out of compost facilities.
In Washington & Oregon there is a fast food restaurant called Burgerville that is way out in front in terms of sustainability for the quick service food industry. Many of their restaurants use only compostable food containers. The only thing that goes to the landfill are ketchup packets. See http://burgerville.com/sustainable-business/the-business-case/
Why stop at fast food? All take out containers should be reusable, compostable or recyclable.
Our regional composting plant (Fraser Richmond Soil and Fibre) has specified that NO plastic -- including so-called biodegradable/compostable plastic -- is allowed to be delivered to their facility. The City now has to do a much better job communicating this. As with children, the easiest way is not to say "no!" but to give them something else to play with. We need a local BC company to come forward and manufacture something like the "BAg to Earth" produced in Ontario, for us to use to bag up our food scraps before putting them out in the Green Bin. I tried to convince Bulldog Bags in Richmond to do this, but they didn't get it.... Anyone know a paper bag manufacturer in BC?
Dan Chan commented
Know that guilty feeling when you can't finish the whole meal, but you don't want a disposable take-out container? People should feel free to bring their own container (BYOC) when they ask for food to go at restaurants.
[Submitted via mail by Penny Perry]
"Take out food containers should be made from materials that can be composted."