A single-use or takeaway item is any product designed for a single use after which it is disposed of in the garbage, Blue Bin (recycling) or Green Bin (organics). Typically, these products are not designed for durability or reuse. Examples include coffee cups and takeout containers.

The City is currently developing a Single-Use & Takeaway Item Reduction Strategy to reduce the use of these items in Toronto. This supports the Waste Strategy’s recommendation to explore mechanisms within the City’s power, including bans or fees, to achieve greater waste reduction and reuse. The goal is to reduce the use of these items, regardless of which waste stream (e.g. garbage, recycling, organics) they are currently managed in, versus substituting them with alternative materials.

To inform the development of the Single-Use & Takeaway Item Reduction Strategy, the City conducted public consultation in fall of 2018 and fall of 2019. The purpose of the consultations was to gather feedback on which items to target, which approaches to take and the proposed timelines for implementation.

To receive updates about the City’s Single-Use & Takeaway Item Reduction Strategy, subscribe to the Long Term Waste Management Strategy email list.

Reducing single-use and takeaway items supports recommendations established in the City’s Long Term Waste Management Strategy (Waste Strategy), which was adopted by City Council in July 2016.

The Waste Strategy places priority on reducing waste and minimizing the amount sent to landfill and directs the City to explore where greater waste reduction can be achieved through:

  • banning of certain packaging or materials
  • imposing levies
  • mandating source separation
  • implementing disposal bans
  • developing local Extended Producer Responsibility measures.

In July 2018, City Council directed staff in Solid Waste Management Services to:

  • consult with residents and stakeholder groups on single-use plastics and takeaway packaging items for targeted reduction, and solicit input on policy tools
  • develop a work plan aimed to reduce the use of single-use or takeaway packaging or products
  • develop a policy to restrict plastic straws in the City of Toronto.

Phase 1 public and stakeholder consultations were held in the fall of 2018.

Objectives

  • Identify the top priority single-use or takeaway items to reduce
  • Identify the preferred approaches (e.g. voluntary, mandatory or a combination) to reduce items

Activities

More than 20,000 people participated in Phase 1 consultation through the following:

  • Online survey
  • Public event, webcast and webinar
  • Stakeholder meetings
  • Direct email communications
  • Polling survey of 1,000 Toronto residents to gather statistically significant data

Watch the October 2, 2018 public event webcast online or view the presentation.

Results

As summarized in the Executive Summary Public Consultation Report on Phase 1 Consultation, the majority of participants expressed support for:

  • the reduction of single-use and takeaway items
  • reusable items instead of disposable items
  • the implementation of both mandatory and voluntary approaches to achieve reduction of these items in the city of Toronto.

Results of Phase 1 consultations are available in the Single-Use and Takeaway Items Public Consultation Report.

A summary and the results of the Phase 1 consultations are outlined in a report to the Infrastructure and Environment Committee on May 23, 2019.

The responses to the quantitative questions in the online survey are available through the City of Toronto Open Data Portal.

Phase 2 public and stakeholder consultations were held in the fall of 2019.

Objectives

  • Gather feedback on approaches to reduce specific single-use and takeaway items
  • Gather feedback on proposed implementation timelines to reduce specific single-use and takeaway items

Guiding Principles

Consistent with feedback during Phase 1 consultation, the following principles were drafted to guide the development of a proposed Reduction Strategy:

  • reflect survey and polling data on preferred approaches and items to target
  • target items known to contribute to litter on streets and in waterways
  • achieve a measurable environmental impact
  • address materials that are not diverted (i.e. recycled or composted) or are not effectively diverted in Toronto’s Blue Bin Recycling and Green Bin Organics programs
  • align with policies and programs being developed at the national, provincial and local levels

The City of Toronto recognizes that some single-use and takeaway items support accessibility and that programs and policies must be inclusive. Impacts to accessibility were considered in all consultation activities and in the examination of specific programs and policies.

Development of Proposed Items and Approaches

The following was conducted and/or considered in developing proposed items and approaches for Phase 2 consultations:

  • analysis of all feedback received through Phase 1 consultations
  • a jurisdictional scan
  • review of available data on single-use and takeaway items including, environmental, social and economic factors
  • consideration of operational challenges related to identified materials and items
  • retention of an independent external consultant
  • consideration of availability of alternatives to proposed items for reduction

Activities

Consultation activities included:

  • Online survey
  • Telephone/web town halls
  • Public event
  • Stakeholder meetings
  • Polling survey of 1,000 Toronto residents to gather statistically significant data

Watch the September 24, 2019 public event webcast online or view the presentation.

Learn more about how decisions and bylaws are made in Toronto.

Solid Waste Management Services collects personal information under the legal authority of the City of Toronto Act, 2006, SO 2006, Chapter 11, Schedule A, s 136(b) and (c) and the City of Toronto By-law No 1321-2018. All information collected is in accordance with the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act.

The information collected to connect participants to the Telephone Town Hall in Phase Two of the Single-Use and Takeaway Items consultations was used to call participants with the telephone number provided and send a link to the presentation by email.

Questions about this collection can be directed to the Manager, Public Consultation, Metro Hall, 19th Floor, 55 John Street, Toronto, Ontario, M5V 3C6 or by telephone at 416-392-2990.