About Single-Use Plastic Ban
Richmond’s Single-Use Plastic and Other Items Bylaw No. 10000 is effective March 27, 2022 and bans:
- Plastic checkout bags (including biodegradable and compostable plastics)
- Plastic straws (including biodegradable and compostable plastics)
- Foam food service ware for prepared food (such as foam plates, clamshell containers, bowls and cups)
Bylaw 10000 was adopted to help reduce unnecessary waste and plastic pollution, and the new ban affects all businesses operating in Richmond. This bylaw is also consistent with other bans in other communities, as well as regulations being developed by federal and provincial governments.
The federal government has enacted Single-Use Plastics Prohibition Regulations which will prohibit the manufacture, import, and sale of six categories of single-use plastics: checkout bags, cutlery, foodservice ware made from or containing problematic plastics, straws, ring carriers, and stir sticks. The regulations prohibiting manufacture and import will begin December 20, 2022 and those prohibiting sales will begin December 20, 2023. To learn more about the Regulations coming into force and the timelines, see the federal overview webpage.Let’s Choose to Reuse
As businesses switch to recyclable, compostable and reusable alternatives to banned items, residents can do their part to reduce plastic waste and pollution:
- Bring a bag: bring reusable checkout bags when you shop
- Carry a cup: bring your own cup when you’re out for coffee, tea, bubble tea or other beverages
- Skip the straw: don’t use a straw when you’re out at restaurants, or bring your own reusable straw if needed
Why Ban Single-Use Items?
Single-use items result in huge amounts of unnecessary waste, creating negative environmental and economic impacts. The vast majority of these materials are never recycled and either end up in landfills or get dumped into the natural environment, including oceans and other waterways. These materials can take centuries to decompose and, in the meantime, cause significant damage to the ecology, pose a significant threat to wildlife and potentially contaminate the food chain. While some of these items may be labelled as reusable or recyclable, they are generally made from low quality materials, which can only be used a few times and have limited recyclable value.
- About 35 million foam food service containers, plastic straws and plastic checkout bags are collected from garbage in Richmond every year – that’s almost 660 tonnes that the City aims to remove from landfills.
- It is estimated that 29,000 tonnes of plastic pollution enters the environment across Canada each year.
- On a global scale, at least eight million tonnes of plastics leak into the ocean each year – equivalent to dumping the contents of one garbage truck into the ocean every minute.
- Plastic degrades slowly and is persistent in the environment. This means the amount of plastic pollution is anticipated to continue to increase over time, which makes the issue a local, national, and global problem that needs a unified plan to combat.
- Tips to Rethink Waste
- Federal government single-use information
- Provincial government single-use information
- Metro Vancouver single-use information