Edmonton’s Single-use Item Reduction Bylaw (20117) will help reduce waste by targeting items that can easily be avoided or replaced with reusable options, moving us closer to the waste reduction targets outlined in the City's 25-Year Waste Strategy.
The bylaw builds on the efforts many businesses and residents are already making to reduce waste. All of these good choices add up.
Bag fees on new paper and reusable bags are established as the leading practice to reduce this type of single-use item (SUI) waste. The current bag fees specified in Bylaw 20117 are aligned with other Canadian municipalities that have implemented or are planning to implement a SUI bylaw.
Bylaws and regulations to help reduce the use of single-use items are increasingly common all over the world. In Canada, many communities, including Vancouver, Victoria, Toronto, Devon, Wetaskiwin, Fort McMurray and Spruce Grove, have or are working towards implementing restrictions on various single-use items.
A minimum fee of 25 cents for a paper shopping bag is common, as lower fees have been shown to result in slower behaviour change. This fee increase shows commitment to City Council’s waste reduction and climate goals.
The minimum fee on paper and new reusable shopping bags serves to encourage customers to bring their own bags, and to help businesses recover the cost of the bags.
The fee for a bag can always be avoided because the bylaw offers people a choice. Customers can bring their own bags or containers, hold items in their hands or put items in backpacks, purses, wagons, personal shopping carts or other containers.
Reducing single-use items means less litter and less waste in the landfill. It also means fewer emissions will be required to produce, ship and dispose of these items. An estimated 450 million single-use items are thrown in the garbage each year in Edmonton. In addition to that, these items are commonly littered.
The City has been taking steps to provide information and tools to businesses. This includes a plain language guide to the bylaw, videos that can be viewed with different language captions, some translated materials, printable posters and tent cards, and tools to help you choose and find more sustainable cups and containers. Online resources are available at edmonton.ca/SingleUse.
The City’s Education and Outreach team has also visited many businesses to answer questions as businesses adapt to the bylaw.