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Are you a business or not-for-profit?
Educational toolkits are available for businesses, charities, and not-for-profits to inform staff and customers of the by-law requirements.
Single-use by-laws in effect
What you need to know
- Shopping bags: There is a ban on plastic and compostable plastic shopping bags and minimum fees on paper and new reusable bags. The minimum fees increase to $0.25 for paper bags and $2 for new reusable bags on Jan 1, 2023.
- Cups: There is a minimum $0.25 fee for each disposable cup, except for free drinks. Businesses must accept customers’ clean reusable cups for drinks ordered in-store.
- Utensils: Customers must ask for single-use utensils if they want them.
- Straws: Plastic and compostable plastic straws are banned. Accessible straws (flexible plastic straws, individually wrapped in paper) must be provided upon request to people who need them to drink or eat.
- Foam cups and foam take-out containers are banned.
What you can do
Bring your own reusable bag and cup to avoid the fees and help reduce waste. If you forget your cup for drinks to go, borrow one where businesses offer this option. If you have your drink to stay, ask for a reusable cup.
Ask for disposable utensils and straws only if you need them.
Reducing single-use waste during COVID
Reducing plastic waste and pollution, even during the pandemic, is important and possible. We have ensured these by-laws align with the latest public health guidelines to protect the health and safety of residents, businesses, and their staff.
For more details on all the single-use item by-laws, see below.
As of Jan 1, 2022: Plastic and compostable shopping bags are banned, and fees are charged on paper and new reusable shopping bags.
The minimum fees increase to $0.25 for paper bags and $2 for new reusable bags starting January 1, 2023.
The fees are consistent with fees in other BC municipalities External website, opens in new tab, Metro Vancouver’s approach External website, opens in new tab, and provincial regulations, and were in the by-law approved by Council on November 29, 2019.
Paper and reusable bags have significant environmental impacts, so it’s important to reduce them even when plastic bags are banned.
Bring your own bag to avoid the fees and reduce waste.
In 2018, about 89 million plastic shopping bags and 4 million paper shopping bags were thrown in the garbage in Vancouver.
As of Jan 1, 2022: A minimum $0.25 fee is charged on single-use cups.
To avoid the fees and reduce waste, bring your own cup for drinks to go or borrow one from the store where possible, or ask for a reusable cup for drinks to stay.
In 2018, about 82 million single-use cups were thrown in the garbage in Vancouver.
Plastic straws are banned, except flexible plastic straws which are available for those who need them.
Skip the straw if you don’t need one. If you do need one, just ask.
In 2018, about 31 million plastic straws were thrown in the garbage in Vancouver. On top of that, an unknown number of plastic straws were littered in the natural environment.
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.
Single-use utensils can only be provided upon request or at self-serve stations.
Help us stop utensil spam! When dining in, taking out or ordering food online, ask for single-use utensils only if you need them.
In 2018, 103 million single-use utensils were thrown in the garbage in Vancouver.
Foam cups and foam take-out containers are banned.
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.