Strategy background: how we got here

In Vancouver, 86% of residents see the importance of reducing single-use items.

Single-use item waste is generated in staggering amounts and is a significant component of street and shoreline litter.

Despite their convenience, these items:

  • Cost Vancouver taxpayers about $2.5 million per year to collect from public waste bins and to clean up as litter in our parks, streets, and green spaces
  • Are often not recycled or composted
  • Take up valuable space in our landfill
  • Have a lasting impact on our environment long after being used for a short period of time
  • Require a significant amount of resources to produce

The single-use cup by-law is no longer in effect starting May 1, 2023.

As a result, we will be updating the information on this page. Check back soon for updates.

Find more information

Single-Use Item Reduction Strategy

With your help, we've created a strategy to dramatically reduce waste from single-use items.

Impact in Vancouver

million plastic straws were thrown in the garbage in Vancouver in 2018
million single-use utensils were thrown in the garbage in Vancouver in 2018
million single-use cups were thrown in the garbage in Vancouver in 2018
million plastic and 4 million paper shopping bags were thrown in the garbage in Vancouver in 2018
of Vancouverites think quick-serve restaurants or cafes should provide reusable dishware for eating in

Statistics for items thrown in the garbage do not include the unknown number of items littered in the natural environment.


  • Feb 2016

    Council directs staff to report back on regulatory options

  • Oct 2016

    Phase 1 consultation

    How to address regulations in Zero Waste 2040

  • Jun 2017 to Feb 2018

    Phase 2 consultation

    Actions to include in a strategy

  • Mar to Apr 2018

    Phase 3 consultation

    Finalize draft strategy

  • Jun 5, 2018

    Strategy approved by Council

  • Jan to Apr 2019

    Phase 4 consultation

    By-law details and implementation plans

  • Apr 29, 2019

    Council adopted by-law to ban foam cups and foam containers

  • Nov 2019

    Council adopts by-law requirements for straws, utensils, cups, and shopping bags

  • Jan 1, 2020

    Ban on foam cups and foam take-out containers begins

  • Apr 22, 2020

    Ban on plastic straws with accessibility requirements and disposable utensils by-request only begin

  • Dec 9, 2020

    Council postpones cup and shopping bag by-laws due to COVID-19

  • Jan 1, 2022

    Ban on plastic shopping bags, minimum $0.15 fee on paper shopping bags, minimum $1 fee on new reusable shopping bags, and minimum $0.25 fee on disposable cups

  • Mar 29, 2022

    Free drinks exempted from cup fee

  • Jun 22, 2022

    Government of Canada publishes Single-use Plastics Prohibition Regulations to prohibit the manufacture, import and sale of single-use plastic checkout bags, cutlery, foodservice ware made from or containing problematic plastics, ring carriers, stir sticks, and straws

  • Jul 1, 2022

    Businesses must accept customers’ clean reusable cups for drinks ordered in-store

  • Jan 1, 2023

    Minimum $0.25 fee on paper shopping bags and minimum $2 fee on new reusable shopping bags begin

  • Feb 15, 2023

    Council passes a Members’ motion that directs staff to bring forward by-law amendments to repeal the single-use cup by-law requirements by June 1, 2023

  • Mar 28, 2023

    Council enacts a by-law that repeals all single-use beverage cup requirements from License By-law No. 4450 (section 15.8) and Ticket Offences By-law No. 9360

  • May 1, 2023

    Businesses are no longer required to charge a minimum $0.25 fee on single-use beverage cups, report the number of single-use beverage cups when renewing their business licence, or accept customers’ clean reusable cups for drinks ordered in-store

  • Jul 14, 2023

    Province of British Columbia enacts Single-Use and Plastic Waste Prevention Regulation for shopping bags, single-use food service accessories, and single-use food service ware

  • We are here
  • Nov to Dec 2023

    Staff to report back with policy recommendations and alternative pathways for reducing and recycling single-use cups

  • Dec 20, 2023

    Federal single-use plastics ban and BC Single-use and Plastic Waste Prevention Regulation take effect


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