Information for residents

COVID-19 update: outreach and enforcement

December 10, 2020: Council has approved a revised start date of January 1, 2022 for the shopping bag and disposable cup by-laws. 

A public awareness campaign, by-law guide, and business toolkit will launch in early 2021 to encourage behaviour change and help businesses prepare for, comply with, and communicate the upcoming requirements to their staff and customers. 

Sign-up for outreach and education updates


Federal regulation of single-use items

The federal government is proposing to regulate single-use items.

Despite these unprecedented times, it is important to address plastic pollution and for the City to follow through on our commitment to reduce waste from single-use items.

As we take steps to reduce waste from single-use items during COVID-19, we’ll continue to work with public health officials to ensure that the implementation of our by-laws aligns with public health guidelines and protects the health and safety of residents, businesses, and their staff.

Foam cups and foam take-out containers

Only 6% of Vancouver residents reported that they bring foam to a recycling depot.

As a result, the majority of single-use foam cups and foam take-out containers are not recycled but instead are sent to landfill.

Plastic straws

This by-law aligns with the global movement to reduce waste and litter from single-use plastic straws.

It includes an accessibility requirements to protect access to flexible plastic straws for people who need them to consume beverages and nutrition.

To the best of our knowledge, Vancouver's by-law sets the highest standard for accessibility among plastic straw bans while also working to reduce the majority of plastic straw waste.

Disposable utensils

We’ve introduced an “ask first” requirement for single-use utensils to drastically reduce the amount of utensils unnecessarily and automatically provided to customers. 

Charitable food services may continue to distribute single-use items with food or meals during COVID-19, but are expected to begin working towards complying with the by-laws as soon as it is possible for them.

Disposable cups

In 2018, about 82 million single-use cups were thrown in the garbage in Vancouver and 15% of large litter found on Vancouver streets was single-use cups.

Shopping bags

In 2018, about 89 million plastic shopping bags and 4 million paper shopping bags were thrown in the garbage in Vancouver. 

Charitable food services may continue to distribute single-use items with food or meals during COVID-19, but are expected to begin working towards complying with the by-laws as soon as it is possible for them.

Complying with the by-laws

Get updates

What mailing lists do you want to subscribe to? *

* Indicates required fields