Single-use item bylaw to support waste reduction in effect July 1
June 21, 2023

Edmonton’s single-use item reduction bylaw takes effect on July 1, starting businesses—and city residents—on a road to less waste and litter. 

“Looking locally, you can already find countless examples of businesses who are reducing single-use items well before the bylaw is in place,” said Mayor Amarjeet Sohi. “We’re excited to support the efforts of these leaders, and make an even greater environmental impact.”

The bylaw applies to most organizations that are required to hold a business licence or civic event permit issued by the City of Edmonton. It regulates four types of single-use items that can easily be replaced with reusable options or avoided altogether:
  • Shopping bags: Single-use plastic shopping bags (including biodegradable and compostable plastic shopping bags) can no longer be distributed, and businesses must charge at least 15 cents for a paper shopping bag and at least $1 for a new reusable shopping bag. 
  • Foam (“Styrofoam”) plates, cups and containers: These items can no longer be used. 
  • Single-use cups: Restaurants must serve dine-in drink orders in reusable cups and have a written policy for accepting reusable customer cups
  • Accessories (like utensils, straws, pre-packaged condiments and napkins): These items will only be available by request or self-serve. 

“The bylaw builds on the efforts many businesses and residents are already making to reduce waste,” said Denis Jubinville, Branch Manager, Waste Services. “All these positive choices add up and contribute to cleaner parks and public spaces.”

An estimated 450 million single-use items are thrown in the garbage each year in Edmonton. These items make up about 10,000 tonnes of garbage—the weight of more than 700 city buses. 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.

“The bylaw will help encourage businesses and customers to stop and consider if the item is actually necessary,” said Jubinville. “We have worked hard to take a balanced approach that allows single-use items like cups and bags to be available for those who need them.”

The bylaw complements the federal restrictions on certain types of single-use plastics, including plastic shopping bags and Styrofoam, both of which will be banned this year. While the federal regulations specifically address plastic items, the City’s bylaw focuses on waste reduction, rather than simply replacing plastics with other types of materials. 

More information and support tools are available at City Waste Education Outreach staff will also be visiting many businesses to answer questions and help them adapt to the bylaw. 
For more information:

Media contact: 
Communications Advisor
Communications and Engagement