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Single-Use Item Reduction Strategy

Plastic bottles in garbage can

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

Thank you for providing your feedback through our residential Single-Use Items and Plastic Packaging online survey. Information collected from the survey will be used to inform the next phase of broader stakeholder engagement and eventually Surrey’s Single-Use Item Reduction Strategy.

Results will be analyzed and shared later in 2020. Staff are now engaging with businesses in Phase 2 consultations.

If you have any questions, please contact rethinkwaste@surrey.ca.

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.

Background

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.