Creative BC News

Ban on Styrofoam (Expanded Polystyrene) in Metro Vancouver starting July 1, 2018

May 25, 2018 | News, Reel Green

Did you hear? Starting July 1, 2018, Metro Vancouver will be putting into effect a ban on Expanded Polystyrene Disposal.

About the Ban

In October 2017, the GVS&DD Board approved changes to the Tipping Fee Bylaw which included the introduction of a surcharge for Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) Packaging received at Metro Vancouver disposal facilities in garbage loads, if the EPS Packaging exceeds 20% of the weight or volume of the load. The surcharge amount is set at 100% of the tipping fee and comes into effect July 1, 2018.

Instead of throwing it in the garbage, EPS Packaging can be recycled – local recycling exists for both residentially and commercially generated EPS Packaging in the region.  Visit for options.

What is EPS?

Expanded polystyrene (EPS), often called Styrofoam, is bulky and lightweight and represents a large portion of the region’s garbage. Instead of being disposed of, it can be recycled. 

According to approximately 10,500 of tonnes of EPS are disposed of per year in Metro Vancouver. Recycling levels low for EPS with only ~21% of the material recycled, even with local recycling options 
By volume, EPS represents one of the largest material categories in the waste stream without a disposal ban.
What does this mean for the film industry?
EPS is a common tool in the motion picture industry ranging in use from packaging, craft services, all the way to constructing spacecrafts, impressive sets, and Al Pacino cakes. It is an ingredient that makes up the movie magic which captivates audiences across all types of production. The fact that EPS is a lightweight and affordable material makes it appealing for mass use in film and commercial industries. Metro Vancouver cites the 80% of EPS waste in Metro Vancouver comes from the commercial sources (which includes the Vancouver film industry). However, with a changing climate and tolerance for materials that have been traditionally tossed into the landfill, Vancouver will be joining the list of other cities who have already taken steps to reduce environmental impact and promote recycling. 
Reuse is always better
While recycling EPS is a great solution compared to throwing it to the landfill, reducing and reusing where possible are the best practices for minimizing our impact and working towards sustainable production. Check out for materials that can be donated for reuse in Metro Vancouver.