Single-Use Item Reduction Strategy graphic

Public invited to provide input on a ban on plastic bags, with fees on paper and reusable bags

July 10 2019 –

Vancouver residents, non-profit organizations, businesses and institutions are invited to share their perspective through an online survey on whether the City should ban plastic bags and charge fees on paper and reusable bags, similar to the City of Victoria. 

Take the online survey

The online survey is available in English and Simplified Chinese and will run from July 10 to 30, 2019.

Input received through the survey will inform a plastic and paper shopping bag by-law that staff will present to Council in November 2019. 

Sign-up for updates and learn more

Plastic and paper shopping bag waste snapshot 

  • Around 2 million plastic shopping bags are disposed in the garbage in Vancouver each week (63% are reused as garbage bags).
  • Plastic bags make up 3% of shoreline litter and 2% of large litter items in Vancouver streets, parks, and public spaces.
  • Paper bags make up 1% of large street litter items.
  • Plastic bags harm marine life and are made using non-renewable fossil fuels.
  • It can take anywhere from 10 to 10,000 years for a plastic shopping bag to decompose, and even then it only breaks down into small plastic pieces, causing microplastic pollution.
  • Paper bags actually cause more harmful greenhouse gas emissions over their lifetime than plastic bags because of manufacturing processes and they require more fuel because they are heavier to transport.


The Single-Use Item Reduction Strategy, approved by Council on June 5, 2018, was the result of extensive consultation with over 8,000 residents and businesses to create a made-in-Vancouver approach to reduce the impact of:

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

As much as possible, the strategy is designed to support convenient, affordable and accessible alternatives, shift societal norms, support lasting behaviour change, and value all members of Vancouver’s diverse communities. The strategy strives to meet the needs of everyone, regardless of physical ability. 

In April 2019, Vancouver City Council directed staff to explore how public opinion has changed since the City of Victoria introduced its Checkout Bag Regulation by-law and then report back on adopting a ban on plastic bags similar to Victoria’s. Victoria’s Checkout Bag Regulation by-law, which bans plastic shopping bags, and requires fees on paper and reusable shopping bags, has been in effect since July 2018.

Single-Use Item Reduction Strategy background and previous releases