Bin full of disposable cups

Single-Use Item Reduction Strategy

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

The Single-Use Item Reduction Strategy includes actions from now until the year 2025 to reduce waste from:

  • Plastic and paper shopping bags
  • Polystyrene foam cups and take-out containers 
  • Disposable hot and cold drink cups
  • Take-out food containers
  • Disposable straws and utensils

We all have a role to play in ensuring this strategy succeeds at reducing waste from single-use items, enabling innovation, and driving further zero-waste progress. We can’t get there alone.

Did you know?

Despite their convenience, single-use items:

  • Use a significant amount of resources
  • Are often not reused or recycled
  • Take up valuable space in our landfill
  • Impact our environment long after they're used
  • 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

Get involved

Subscribe to updates, join us at a free reuse and recycle drop-off event, and share your ideas to reduce waste and consumption.

What's happening

Revised dates approved for ban on plastic straws and foam

Council approved an extension on the start dates for the ban on foam cups, foam take-out containers, and the unnecessary use of plastic straws. 

  • Foam ban: the ban on foam cups and foam take-out containers will begin January 1, 2020, temporary exemptions for charitable food providers will apply
  • Straw ban: the ban on the unnecessary use of plastic straws will begin April 2020, exemptions for health care needs and accessibility will apply. By-law requirements, enforcements stages, and exemptions for health care needs and accessibility, will be presented to Council by November 30, 2019.

Over the coming months, staff will continue to work with stakeholders, especially small businesses, to find affordable, convenient, and accessible alternatives. Read the news release

Education and awareness campaign – coming fall 2019

A public awareness, education, and outreach campaign, to support the public, food vendors, and suppliers in the transition away from foam cups and foam take-out containers, will launch in fall 2019. Stay informed on campaign milestones, sign-up for updates at the bottom of the page.

Early adopters, make the switch early on

If you're adjusting the materials your business uses in advance of upcoming by-laws, we recommend choosing materials that can be recycled through Recycle BC's residential recycling program  or composted in the City's Green Bin program.

Share your feedback with the project team at

Our priority actions

We believe the following priority actions will have the most impact in dramatically reducing waste from single-use items. Some of these actions will take time, while others can be implemented right away.

Priority actions approved by Council


  • February 2016

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

  • March to September 2016

    Research to identify regulatory options and other best practices

  • October 2016

    Phase 1 consultation

    Single-Use Item Reduction workshop

  • December 2016 to
    February 2017

    Further research and analysis

  • March to May 2017

    Develop emerging directions

  • June 2017

    Council update and consultation launch

  • June 2017 to
    February 2018

    Phase 2 consultation

  • March 2018

    Phase 3 consultation launch

    Draft strategy published for feedback

  • April 2018

    Phase 2 consultation report published online

  • June 5, 2018

    Single-Use Item Reduction Strategy approved by Council

  • Fall 2018

    Technical research in compostable package

  • January to April 2019

    Consultation on bylaw details and implementation plans

  • We are here
  • Spring 2019

    Progress update to Council

  • November 2019

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

  • January 1, 2020

    Ban on foam cups and foam take-out containers begins

  • April 2020

    Ban on the unnecessary use of plastic straws begins (exemptions for health care needs and accessibility apply)

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