The Calgary Plastic Ban Breakdown

A Calgary plastic ban overview that’s easy to understand.

In Alberta, the landscape of sustainability is changing. With the introduction of the Calgary plastic ban, businesses and consumers alike are stepping into a new era of environmental responsibility.

Origin is here to guide you through the ban’s implications, regulations, and voluntary measures— for a cleaner, greener Calgary.

In this article:

[Last Update: May 5th, 2024]

colourful plastic straws, calgary plastic ban

UPDATE: May 5th, 2024

In response to community backlash, the City of Calgary has voted 12-3 to officially repeal the Calgary plastic ban.

Effective immediately, businesses are no longer required to charge $0.15 for paper bags and $1 for reusable bags. As well, businesses need not ask customers to request accessories.

Calgary businesses are free to continue with these policies on a voluntary measure, but they are not required by law.

UPDATE: January 31st, 2024

After backlash from businesses and communities, the City of Calgary will be repealing their single-use plastic ban. This is specifically in relation to the bag fees: $0.15 for paper bags and $1 for reusable bags.

A new plan and report must be submitted to the council by March 31st. The City states that the plastic ban bylaws are still in effect, and that they expect to keep the regulations in place until mid-year or a new plan is set in motion.

The Calgary Plastic Ban Breakdown

The Calgary plastic ban will come into effect in January 2024, with the goal of reducing plastic waste. The prohibition focuses on shopping bags and food service ware accessories. The City has also suggested voluntary measures that businesses can implement should they want to take a larger leap toward a plastic-free future.

While this ban was originally meant to complement the federal plastic ban, it is currently unknown if the federal ban will come into effect in December 2023. In November, the Federal Court overturned the Canada-wide ban, though the government is appealing this ruling.

The City of Calgary is closely monitoring the Federal Government’s response and other related court cases. Adjustments may be made in the future to the Calgary ban should the federal ban not come into effect.

Learn More: Federal Court Overturns the Canada Plastic Ban

Food Service Accessories

Key Definitions:

  • Food Service Accessory: Utensils, straws, stir sticks, splash sticks, pre-packaged condiments, toothpicks, napkins, cutlery kits.

Restrictions on Food Service Accessories

Single-use accessories, such as utensils, straws, and condiments, fall under the Calgary plastic ban in January. The regulations prohibit food service providers from distributing or selling these accessories unless a customer specifically requests or independently accesses them through a self-serve station.

This bylaw includes compostable products, such as paper straws or compostable containers. The City of Calgary states that the material does not matter when it comes to the food accessory prohibition. If the item is classified as an accessory, it must be given out by request only.

The Calgary plastic ban applies to dining, takeout, delivery, and drive-thrus.

paper bag on pile of moss, calgary plastic ban

Shopping Bags

Key Definitions

  • Reusable Bag: A bag capable of being used and machine-washed at least 100 times.
  • Shopping Bag: A bag sold or distributed for transporting  products.
  • Used Bag: A previously used bag that is being reused.

General Prohibition on Shopping Bags

Beginning in January, businesses will not be able to distribute or offer single-use plastic shopping bags. Businesses may only offer paper bags so long as they contain 40% recycled material.

By imposing these restrictions, Calgary aims to reduce the amount of plastic bags that end up in our landfills and environment, encouraging businesses to consider reusable or recyclable options.

Shopping Bags Sold for a Charge

The Calgary plastic ban specifies that businesses may sell paper bags made from recycled paper or reusable bags. The starting charge for paper bags is $0.15 and $1.00 for reusable bags. Notably, the cost of paper bags will rise to $0.25, and reusable bags to $2.00 in 2025 – a clear incentive for consumers to make a permanent switch to sustainable alternatives. 

Businesses may keep the paper and reusable bag fees so that they may use it toward sustainable alternatives or in other areas of their business.

And lastly, before finalizing a sale, businesses are required to give customers the option to use their own bags, reducing the need for new ones. If a customer requests a bag, the sale of their bag of choice must appear on their receipt.

Distribution of Bags for Free

Businesses are permitted to hand out bags free of charge if the bags are previously used. As well, small paper bags, no larger than 15cm x 20cm when laid flat, may be given out for free.

Learn More: The BC Plastic Ban Breakdown

Calgary Plastic Ban Voluntary Measures

The Calgary plastic ban goes beyond their prohibitions and encourages businesses to adopt voluntary practices to further lessen environmental impact. In a show of support for sustainability, businesses are invited to transition away from single-use plastics for food service ware and disposable cups, opting instead for compostable or reusable alternatives.

While there is no enforceable mandate for these additional steps, the city advocates for this proactive shift. Through these measures, businesses can take the initiative to innovate and pursue eco-friendly solutions that align with Calgary’s overarching environmental goals.

chopsticks on green moss, calgary plastic ban

Origin’s Ban Compliant, Eco-Friendly Alternatives

For over 30 years, Origin Sustainables has led the way in creating eco-friendly options for food service ware, skillfully blending innovative designs with environmental consciousness.

Our extensive industry knowledge enables us to stay on top of the latest prohibitions, providing products that adhere to the latest regulations.

As restrictions on single-use plastics become more stringent, companies are seeking out greener choices for their operations. Alternatives like polylactic acid or polyethylene may be tempting, but their recycling complications could lead to future compliance challenges.

Here at Origin Sustainables, our product range is deliberately crafted to be both eco-responsible and fully in line with regional prohibitions, including Calgary plastic ban laws. Our commitment is to deliver options that fit effortlessly into your business while being kind to the environment.

With Origin, meeting regulations is just the beginning. Every product in our range is designed to satisfy your requirements while signaling a commitment to a business ethos that values both ecological sustainability and commercial success.

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