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Single-Use Item Reduction Strategy

Recognizing the growing importance of addressing the impact of single-use items and plastic packaging, the City of Surrey is taking action and developing a Single-Use Item and Plastic Packaging Strategy.

Get Involved

As part of our development of the Single-Use Item Reduction Strategy, we want to hear from citizens, businesses and organizations. Your feedback will help outline the recommendations for investigating this issue further and will shape the future strategy.

Take the Survey

Understanding Single-Use Items

Single-use items are products and packaging that get thrown away after one use. These include takeout containers, disposable cups, utensils, plastic straws, plastic bags and plastic water bottles.

These items are produced in significant amounts. Their increased use is due to convenience, transportation of goods, food safety, cost savings and durability.

It is estimated that over 1.1 billion single-use items are disposed in the Metro Vancouver region each year. This is equal to 440 items per person.

Problems Associated with Single-Use Items

The use of single-use items results in:

  • increased energy and resource consumption
  • scattered litter
  • illegal dumping
  • increased costs to collect from public spaces, and
  • increased landfill waste.

Additionally, these items are not all recyclable or compostable. They can also end up in waterways, contaminating the water and impacting fish and marine life.

Developing the Strategy

Our approach towards a reduction strategy will include three key phases:

  1. Engage and consult with residents and businesses to better understand the challenges and concerns.
  2. Complete a single-use item waste composition study to learn more about the volume and type of single-use items used in Surrey.
  3. Conduct an extensive review of existing regulations and legislation. We will also look at how we can make amendments to help reduce the use of single-use items.


In May 2019, Council asked staff to look into single-use items and their effects. This is in response to the increasing momentum around the world that is taking place for reducing or eliminating single-use items.

All levels of government are undertaking initiatives focused on managing single-use items. In Canada, there is a mix of regulatory authority over the use of single-use items and the waste they create. Each level of government has a role to play in the future management of single-use item waste.