Desperate times call for desperate measures. The City of Vancouver announced on Tuesday, April 21 that they're asking the public to donate take-out containers and other disposable items. The request for single-use items goes against some of the policies and bans in the Vancouver Zero Waste Plan. Regardless, the city says these things are a priority right now. 

The public plea was made on a post on the city's website.

This demand for items goes against the city's proposed strategy for Zero Waste 2040.

The policy is both a short and long term plan to reduce all waste produced by the city and its residents. Basically, by the year 2040, the city wants to "prevent waste of all types" and conserve resources to be as sustainable as possible. 

That's why the city had placed a ban on the use of foam containers and single-use cutlery on January 1, 2020.

They had also been telling locals to bring reusable containers to restaurants to take home leftovers rather than using single-use take-out containers. 

According to the city, "nearly 50% of all garbage collected from public waste bins is take-out containers and disposable cups." 

However, in light of current circumstances, the city is taking a step back from those green initiatives to focus on the situation at hand. 

The city of Vancouver is begging for specific items from residents to help fight the challenges brought on by the pandemic. These items include take-out containers, disposable cutlery, food packaging, and bottled water. 

The whole initiative is being done in partnership with the city's Give A Hand Vancouver program, which collects donations and resources for the city's efforts against the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The city plans to use these donations to provide "free or low-cost meals in a hygienic and safe way to people without access to food," read the announcement. 

Likewise, the bottled water will be handed out to people who are isolating or those who don't have access to clean drinking water. 

The Give A Hand organization was launched in early April, and so far, they've gathered hand sanitizer, masks, and soap to give out to the essential workers and NGOs. 

The city knows that it's breaking some of its zero-waste plans by asking for these donations, and they have given their reasons. 

Vancouver's City Manager, Sadhu Johnston said, "We acknowledge that our request for take-out containers and bottled water may seem counter-intuitive for a city who has championed zero waste policies."

He said that their priority during "these extraordinary times" is doing what they can to keep their residents safe and healthy. 

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