Single-Use Item Reduction Strategy background

What you need to know
What you need to know

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

Why reduce 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, single-use 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 

Impact of single-use items in Vancouver

Disposable cups
million thrown in the garbage per week
Plastic shopping bags
million thrown in the garbage per week
Take-out containers
of all items from public waste bins


  • Feb 2016

    Council directs staff to report back on regulatory options for single-use items

  • Oct 2016

    Phase 1 consultation

    How to address single-use items in Zero Waste 2040

  • Jun 2017 to Feb 2018

    Phase 2 consultation

    Actions to include in a Single-Use Item Reduction Strategy

  • Mar to Apr 2018

    Phase 3 consultation

    Finalize draft Single-Use Item Reduction Strategy

  • Jun 5, 2018

    Single-Use Item Reduction 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

  • We are here
  • Nov 2019

    By-law requirements for plastic straws, plastic and paper shopping bags, disposable cups, and utensils to be presented to Council

  • Jan 1, 2020

    Ban on foam cups and foam take-out containers begins

  • Apr 2020

    Pending Council approval, a ban on the unnecessary use of plastic straws begins with requirements for accessibility

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