In June 2021, Toronto City Council approved the voluntary Reducing Single-Use program as Stage 1 of the Reduction Strategy to help reduce single-use and takeaway items in Toronto. This program is designed to encourage and enable businesses to take small actions to eliminate the unnecessary use of single-use and takeaway items in their operations and to celebrate those who are already doing so.
The City is now moving forward into Stage 2 of the Reduction Strategy. A staff report was approved by Toronto City Council on December 15, including the adoption of the Single-Use and Takeaway Items Bylaw. The Bylaw will be available soon on the City’s Municipal Code webpage.
The City has developed resources to help businesses eliminate the unnecessary use of single-use and takeaway items and wants to recognize businesses that are already taking a leadership role in eliminating these items.
There are some easy ways to reduce your use of single-use and takeaway items. Download and display these posters in your home or workplace as a reference to the information provided below.
Single-use accessory items (such as eating utensils, straws, stir sticks, condiment packets, napkins, and beverage takeout trays)
Single-use cups and containers, foam (expanded polystyrene) cups and containers, black plastic containers, and plastic or plastic-lined items labelled as compostable or biodegradable
Shopping bags (paper and plastic)
Why it is important to reduce single-use and take-away items.
The Single-Use and Takeaway Items Reduction Strategy – Stage 1 staff report was approved by Toronto City Council in June 2021.
A Voluntary Measures Program (Program) is the first stage of the Reduction Strategy. The Program encourages businesses to voluntarily implement actions to reduce single-use and takeaway items. This includes:
The Single-Use and Takeaway Items Reduction Strategy – Stage 2 staff report was approved by Toronto City Council on December 15, 2023.
City Council adopted the Update and Action Plan on the Single-Use and Takeaway Items Reduction Strategy, including the Circular Food Innovators Fund with amendments including the adoption of a new Single-Use and Takeaway Items By-law, which takes effect March 1, 2024.
The bylaw includes:
The City is committed to helping retail business establishments comply with the bylaw through targeted education and outreach activities, and collaboration with the City’s BIAs and other community partners.
On November 16, 2023, the Federal Court of Canada quashed an order-in-council listing manufactured plastic items as toxic. The federal government has appealed the decision. As a result, the City will report back in Q1 2024 with any recommendations to adjust the Single-Use and Takeaway Items Reduction Strategy Stage 2.
In 2025, Solid Waste Management Services will report back to City Council on further measures to reduce single-use and takeaway items, including the feasibility of expanding the Single-Use and Takeaway Items By-law to include:
In June 2022, the federal government published the Single-use Plastic Prohibition Regulations (Regulations) to prohibit the manufacture, sale, import, export and distribution of six plastic manufactured items beginning in December 2022:
The Regulations will come into force on a staggered timeline, which began with the prohibition of manufacture and import for sale in Canada of five of the six items on December 20, 2022. The prohibition of ring carriers came into effect June 20, 2023.
On November 16, 2023, a Federal Court of Canada ruling found the current legal basis for the Regulations to be unreasonable and unconstitutional, thereby compromising their enforcement. The federal government has appealed the decision.
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:
In July 2018, City Council directed staff in Solid Waste Management Services to:
Phase 1 public and stakeholder consultations were held in the fall of 2018.
More than 20,000 people participated in Phase 1 consultation through the following:
As summarized in the Executive Summary Public Consultation Report on Phase 1 Consultation, the majority of participants expressed support for:
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.
More than 41,000 people participated in Phase 2 consultation stakeholder and public consultation activities including:
Results of the Phase 2 consultations are summarized in the Single-Use and Takeaway Items Reduction Strategy Phase 2 Public Consultation Report.
In Phase 2, results from the independent polling found that:
Results from the online survey indicate that:
A third phase of consultation activities were undertaken in February and March 2022.
To help inform the City of Toronto’s decisions on a proposed bylaw to reduce single-use and takeaway items, the City sought feedback from stakeholders and the general public to:
More than 12,000 people participated in interested parties and public consultation activities including:
Key findings from stakeholder and public feedback include:
Results of the 2022 consultations are summarized in the Single-Use and Takeaway Items Reduction Strategy Stage 2 Consultation Report
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.
To receive updates about the City’s Single-Use & Takeaway Items Reduction Strategy, subscribe to the Long Term Waste Management Strategy email list.