Person carries white plastic bags outdoors

Find out what's coming up in the development of the City's Single-Use Item Reduction Strategy. 

The City of Surrey is taking action to reduce and eliminate the negative impacts single-use items.

Planned to begin in November 2021, no business will be able to provide plastic checkout bags or foam takeout containers. With the implementation of the bylaw, Surrey will be the first municipality the in the Metro Vancouver region to place a ban on plastic checkout bags.

Learn more about the City's Plastic Bags and Single-Use Items Bylaw.

Latest News

In December 2020, Council passed the Plastic Bags and Single-Use Items Bylaw for the first, second and third readings. In May 2021, Council approved Implementation Date and Communication Strategy for Bylaw.  The Bylaw proposes:

  • banning plastic checkout bags (including compostable and biodegradable);
  • introducing a charge of $0.25 per paper checkout bag and $2.00 per reusable checkout bag; and
  • banning Polystyrene foam cups, take-out containers, plates and bowls.

The BC Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy has granted approval for Surrey to proceed with implementation. 

Next Steps

We recognize that the proposed bylaw will be a significant change for our unique and diverse business community. The City is committed to supporting all local businesses as we successfully transition and eliminate the use and distribution of single-use items. The City is currently reaching out to businesses that will likely be affected, to ensure they are aware of the new bylaw requirements, timelines for implementation, and appropriate sustainable alternatives. 

To support the business community, the City will lead a comprehensive education and communications campaign, which will include:

  1. Developing business toolkits, brochures, and other resources to support the business community during the transition phase. Surrey staff will be reaching out to businesses over the summer and fall.
  2. The City has planned to host free virtual information sessions to learn more about the Bylaw. We encourage business to participate in these sessions to learn more about the bylaw requirements, alternatives to banned single-use items, ask questions, and share your feedback on implementation of the bylaw. Updates will be posted on this page, please check for more sessions.
  3. We are connecting with suppliers to ensure the alternatives work for businesses.
  4. We are educating the public through the City website, social media, and other advertising to ensure they aware of the transition.
  5. Aligning with other levels of government to reduce confusion.

Resources for Businesses

Tips for Residents

  • Bring a reusable shopping bags when grocery shopping, this will save you money and reduce waste
  • If you get paper grocery bags, make sure to recycle or compost them in your recycling or organics cart
  • You can reuse paper shopping bags or they can be used in your kitchen catcher to reduce odours
  • Make sure to recycle or compost your takeout containers in your recycling or organics cart
  • If possible, try to reuse plastic takeout containers at home for leftovers

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 people dispose of more than 1.1 billion single-use items in Metro Vancouver each year, with an estimated 76 million sent to landfill annually from Surrey. This is equal to 440 items per person. A recent audit of waste in Surrey estimated that each year, we throw away approximately:

  • Plastic Checkout Bags: 26.6 million
  • Disposable Cups: 12.5 million
  • Takeout Containers: 12.4 million
  • Foam Takeout Cups and Containers: 7.3 million

Problems Associated with Single-Use Items

The use of single-use items results in:

  • increased energy and resource consumption;
  • scattered litter in the community;
  • 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.

Background

In December 2020, Council passed the Plastic Bags and Single-Use Items Bylaw for the first, second and third readings. In May 2021, Council approved the Implementation Date and Communication Strategy for the Bylaw

The Bylaw proposes:

  • banning plastic checkout bags (including compostable and biodegradable);
  • introducing a charge of $0.25 per paper checkout bag and $2.00 per reusable checkout bag; and
  • banning Polystyrene foam cups, take-out containers, plates and bowls.

The BC Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy has granted approval for Surrey to proceed with implementation. 

Next Steps

We recognize that the proposed bylaw will be a significant change for our unique and diverse business community. The City is committed to supporting all local businesses as we successfully transition and eliminate the use and distribution of single-use items.

The City is currently reaching out to businesses that will likely be affected to ensure they are aware of the new bylaw requirements, timelines for implementation and appropriate sustainable alternatives. 

To support the business community, the City will lead a comprehensive education and communications campaign, which will include:

  1. Developing business toolkits, brochures and other resources to support the business community during the transition phase. Business will start to receive information packages by the end of May 2021.
  2. The City has planned to host free virtual information sessions to learn more about the Bylaw. We encourage business to participate in these sessions to learn more about the bylaw requirements, alternatives to banned single-use items, ask questions and share your feedback on implementation of the bylaw.
  3. We are connecting with suppliers to ensure the alternatives work for businesses.
  4. We are educating the public through the City website, social media and other advertising to ensure they are aware of the transition.
  5. Aligning with other levels of government to reduce confusion.

Tips for residents:

  • Bring a reusable shopping bags when grocery shopping. This will save you money and reduce waste.
  • If you get paper grocery bags, make sure to recycle or compost them in your recycling or organics cart.
  • You can reuse paper shopping bags, or they can be used in your kitchen catcher to reduce odours.
  • Make sure to recycle or compost your takeout containers in your recycling or organics cart.
  • If possible, try to reuse plastic takeout containers at home for leftovers.

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 people dispose of more than 1.1 billion single-use items in Metro Vancouver each year, with an estimated 76 million sent to landfill annually from Surrey. This is equal to 440 items per person. A recent audit of waste in Surrey estimated that each year, we throw away approximately:

  • Plastic Checkout Bags: 26.6 million
  • Disposable Cups: 12.5 million
  • Takeout Containers: 12.4 million
  • Foam Takeout Cups and Containers: 7.3 million

Problems Associated with Single-Use Items

The use of single-use items results in:

  • increased energy and resource consumption;
  • scattered litter in the community;
  • 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.

Contact

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

See our Zero Waste Strategy and Sorting Waste pages to learn more about our waste reduction efforts.