The Toronto Plastic Ban Breakdown

A full and easy to understand summary of the Toronto plastic ban.

The push for sustainability has become more than just a trend. Cities, businesses, and consumers alike are seeking ways to minimize their environmental impact, leading to significant shifts in policy and practice.

Canada enacted its own plastic ban. As did BC and the City of Calgary. Now, in just over a month, the second stage of the Toronto plastic ban will come into effect.

Are you prepared?

In this article:

plastic bag ice burg with a whale swimming toward it - toronto plastic ban

The Toronto Plastic Ban and Waste Reduction Strategy

Toronto is joining neighbouring cities and provinces by enacting their own plastic waste reduction strategy. 

The City’s Reducing Single-Use program slowly introduces initiatives to reduce plastic waste. It also supports businesses that have taken the initiative to move away from single-use items.

The focus of these guidelines is on a broad spectrum of items that have become staples of our convenience-driven world, yet significantly contribute to waste. This includes:

  • Disposable food accessories such as utensils, straws, stir sticks, condiment packets, napkins, and drink trays.
  • Single-use cups
  • Single-use shopping bags
  • Foam takeout products
  • Black plastic takeout containers
  • Plastic and plastic-lined containers
  • Plastic items labelled as compostable or biodegradable

Learn More: Is Canada Reversing the Plastic Ban?

Stage 1 – Voluntary Measures

The first stage in the Toronto plastic ban seeks to encourage businesses to reduce single-use items through voluntary measures.

This includes the adoption of a by-request approach for food service accessories. Instead of including food service accessories with every order, consumers would request what they need or access them from a self-serve station. Food service accessories include lids, straws, napkins, wipes, utensils, and bags.

Stage 1 also encourages businesses to accept reusable takeout containers and beverage cups. 

The City is promising incentives and recognition for businesses that voluntarily adopt these measures.

Stage 2 – Bylaws (Effective March 1, 2024)

Stage 2 of the Toronto plastic ban turns Stage 1’s voluntary measures into bylaws.

Food service accessory items, including straws, stir sticks, utensils, napkins, drink trays, and condiments must only be available at a self-serve station or by request. This also includes paper shopping bags.

As well, retail business establishments must accept reusable shopping bags and reusable drink cups.

Stage 3 – Waste Management (Effective 2025)

The third and final stage in the Toronto plastic ban does not impact businesses or consumers directly.

In 2025, Solid Waste Management Services will report to the City regarding the expansion of the single-use plastic ban with further measures to reduce plastic waste.

The updates will include how feasible it is to include:

  • Large venues in Toronto.
  • A requirement for retail business establishments to accept reusable food containers.
  • A requirement for retail business establishments operators to use reusable food containers and beverage cups for dine-in services.
a crow on the beach with a plastic lid in its mouth, toronto plastic ban

Make the Switch to Sustainability with Origin

For nearly 35 years, Origin Sustainables has been at the forefront of delivering eco-conscious solutions for food service ware, effectively balancing innovation with sustainability.

Our deep understanding of the industry enables us to seamlessly navigate evolving regulations, offering products that comply with the most current standards.

As the demand for sustainable alternatives increases in response to tighter restrictions on single-use plastics, businesses are in search of environmentally friendly solutions. While materials like polylactic acid or polyethylene might seem attractive, their recycling challenges may pose issues with future bylaws.

Our range of products is both environmentally friendly and fully compliant with regional bylaws, including the regulations enforced by the Toronto plastic ban. Our goal is to provide options that seamlessly integrate into your operations without compromising on environmental integrity.

Choosing Origin means going beyond meeting regulations. Our products are crafted to meet your business’s requirements while staying kind to our planet.

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