Understanding Canada’s Single Use Plastic Ban

With the new legislation on the single use plastic ban, operators are actively seeking alternatives that will help to forward their sustainability goals without having a negative impact on their bottom line. It should be noted that the first phase of Canada’s new prohibition guidelines for single-use plastics is now in effect. As such, many items including straws and stirrers, foodservice ware, cutlery, check-out bags, and six-pack rings will no longer be manufactured or imported into Canada (effective December 20, 2022). The manufacture and import of the following plastic items (see below) are now prohibited, note that the full sale and use ban will take effect at the end of 2023:

  • Cutlery: Includes knives, forks, spoons, sporks and chopsticks. Note that all plastics, including recyclable, “oxo-degradable” and/or compostable versions fall within this category.
  • Foodservice Ware: Items designed for serving or transporting ready-to-consume foods and beverages, including ‘clamshell’ containers, plates, cups, boxes, bowls and lidded containers. Also includes expanded or extruded polystyrene foam (a.k.a. EPS, or commonly known as Styrofoam), polyvinyl chloride (PVC), carbon black items, and plastics described as “oxo-degradable.”
  • Straws: Includes straight drinking straws, and bendable versions including those packaged with a beverage container (i.e., drink boxes).
  • Stir Sticks: Includes anything designed to stir or mix beverages or prevent spilling from the lid of its container.
  • Checkout Bags: Includes those designed to carry purchased goods from a business, such as at a grocery store, garbage bags are not included in this category.
  • Ring Carriers: Designed to carry beverage containers together.

Operators will have until the end of 2023 to deplete their inventory of these items and transition to fully compliant alternative items. It is worth noting that clarity on the laws keeps changing (e.g., bendable plastic straws for healthcare and feeding applications will continue to be allowed to be produced and sold).

Understanding Montreal’s Single Use Plastic Ban By-Law

For businesses operating in Montreal, it is worth noting that there is a by-law which prohibits eight (8) single-use plastic items from foodservice establishments including grocery stores and restaurant regardless of if they are compostable or not. These items include plates, containers (and covers), trays (with the exception of meat and fish), stir sticks and utensils, cups, glasses and their covers.

However, there are some exceptions; establishments that offer only delivery service (e.g., caterers, or grocery stores that deliver directly to the consumer and are not open to customers to shop onsite), and non-profits whose mission includes the distribution of food to vulnerable people.

Ready to Transition to Sustainable Alternatives? Let us Help!

For Current Members of CPS/GESPRA Vending: We have created a packaging guide which provides alternative items to assist with the transition. This guide includes items which can be purchased at our “Best Value” contract pricing and/or earn CASH REWARDS. To obtain a copy, please login to eCPS.ca / eGESPRA.ca > Program Updates or reach out to your dedicated CPS/GESPRA Account Manager.

For Future Members of CPS/GESPRA Vending: Please visit eCPS.ca / eGESPRA.ca.

About the Author:
Jennifer Bobson is the Director of Marketing for Complete Purchasing Services Inc, a leading supply chain solutions provider for hospitality and non-commercial clients in Canada. Learn more about Complete Purchasing Services by visiting eCPS.ca.
The Canadian Automatic Merchandising Association | Ph: 888-849-2262
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