'Is it worth it?' Yellowknifer petitions city to ban Styrofoam food containers

'Is it worth it?' Yellowknifer petitions city to ban Styrofoam food containers

A Yellowknifer has started a petition asking the city to consider banning food vendors and restaurants from using Styrofoam products.

"Styrofoam is one of those products in town, and one of the last products, that we cannot recycle in Yellowknife at this point," says Nancy Vail.

"If we can't figure out how to dispose of it, then we shouldn't be using it at all."

Vail launched the petition last week and has about 70 signatures so far. Her hope is to present it to the City of Yellowknife and that they'll consider banning Styrofoam when renewing food licences with vendors next year.

Vail says many vendors and restaurants in town are already on board, but there are a few "stronghold" businesses that aren't budging.

"The primary reason is economic — that they save a few pennies instead of going with compostable containers," Vail says.

"I think we are at a point where we have to ask ourselves, is it worth it?"

City making strides

Vail says all the Yellowknifers she has approached are on board with the petition's goal.

"There are some people that say that they don't understand why this wasn't done years ago."

Vail says she's already seen big strides in the city. She's worked with the Yellowknife Farmer's Market, which has strict composting guidelines and does not permit vendors to use foam or non-compostable plastic items, and points to the city's efforts to go zero-waste.

"This city is making very quick progress toward using compostable materials," Vail says. "Because it really isn't a question anymore. It's something that needs to be done."

Vail says she's also hoping that local grocery stores will support the petition's message and encourage their head offices to stop packaging food in Styrofoam. She says the public also has a role to play, in particular, by bringing their own containers to vendors or public events.

"This could be a trend setter right across Canada."