Have you been struggling with how to regulate single-use plastics and worried about backlash from businesses? Well, now you can point to imminent federal and provincial regulations that will ban the manufacturing and importation of single-use plastics.

Under the Canada Environmental Protection Act (1999), the Federal government announced its plan to ban manufacturing and importation of six types of single use items by the Single-use Plastics Prohibition Regulations, which will help to meet the zero plastic waste by 2030 target. The Regulations prohibit the manufacture, import, and sale of 6 categories of single-use plastics:

  • Point of sale/checkout plastic bags
  • Plastic take-out cutlery
  • Stir sticks
  • Drinking straws
  • Flexible ring carriers
  • Food service ware made from problematic plastics

The regulation is expected to come into effect at year end 2022 for manufacture and import for sale in Canada, and in 2025 for manufacture, import and sale for export.

Similarly, the BC Government, through CleanBC, is developing a Plastics Action Plan to reduce single-use and plastic waste by limiting or banning the use of certain single-use items. The proposed regulation will cover checkout bags, disposable foodservice accessories, problematic plastic foodservice ware packaging (polystyrene, PVC, and compostable plastics) and oxo-degradable plastics. The Plastics Action Plan aims to:

  • Ban single-use packaging
  • Dramatically reduce single-use plastic in landfills and waterways
  • Expand plastic bottle and beverage container returns
  • Reduce plastics overall

The BC Government now provides authority for municipalities to regulate specific single-use plastics through the Spheres of Concurrent Jurisdiction: Environment and Wildlife Regulation, and the Local Government Guide to Plastic Bylaws (PDF, 627KB) provides further information on the regulation.

If your community wants to be ahead of the game (i.e., the federal ban), you can join the other leading BC communities that have already adopted a single use plastics bylaw, and using this handy model plastic bylaw that has been generously offered by Lidstone & Company.

Let’s keep in mind that, while these initiatives to greatly reduce plastics going to the landfill are important steps in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and environmental damage, they are only part of the picture. Moving from a conventional linear economy model based on a take-make-waste paradigm to a circular economy model that designs out waste, and reduces overall consumption, is what we all need to keep in mind as our north star in our efforts towards zero waste.


To learn more, please contact Cheeying Ho (cheeying[at]whistlercentre.ca).