Vancouver asks for take-out containers during pandemic, going against its zero-waste policy

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VANCOUVER -- Vancouver is asking for donations of take-out containers and bottled water in what is an odd twist to the city's zero waste policies.

The city says it needs the items to tackle hunger and thirst amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

It launched a program called Give a Hand Vancouver earlier this month and says in a news release it has seen an outpouring support and donations to help in the COVID-19 response.

The city says it now needs take-out containers, disposable cutlery, food packaging and bottled water for vulnerable citizens who don't have access to fresh food and water.

City manager Sadhu Johnston says in a release that they acknowledge that the request seems counter-intuitive for a city that has championed zero waste, however, the priority is keeping residents safe and healthy.

On Jan. 1, the city banned the use of polystyrene items like foam cups and take-out trays that are used for serving food and beverages.