Single-Use Item Reduction Strategy

The City of Chilliwack is seeking feedback from businesses and residents on its Single-Use Item Reduction Bylaw by April 16, 2021. Visit the project page on Engage Chilliwack to learn more about the proposed bylaw and complete our survey. 

The City of Chilliwack’s Single-Use Item Reduction Strategy was adopted at the December 15, 2020 Council meeting. The Single-Use Item Reduction Strategy is a comprehensive plan intended to reduce waste from shopping bags, drink cups, take-out containers, straws, and disposable utensils. Initiatives include a Single-Use Item Reduction Bylaw banning the distribution of several problematic single-use items, establishing minimum fees on some single-use items, and requiring that others be provided by request only, as well as educational programs and continued dialogue with businesses and stakeholders. 


 

What is single-use?

Use it once, then toss it out. Single-use, disposable items, including plastic bags and paper coffee cups, are meant for one-time usage before being thrown in the garbage. Unlike reusable items, they are not intended for extended use, and their disposable, often light-weight nature makes them a convenient choice for grocery stores, coffee shops, restaurants and retail shops. Some single-use items can be recycled, while others must be disposed of. Items may include:

 

Why is single-use a problem?

It’s easy to see the appeal of single-use items: Use it once, then toss it out.

But while these items are intended for short-term, single-use, they can take hundreds of years to decompose, contaminating our waterways, polluting our communities and filling up our landfills. Some items are recyclable, but due to material composition, many single-use items are confusing and/or hard to recycle. As a result, single-use items contribute directly to the amount of plastic in landfills.

Aside from creating waste, single-use items require significant resources like water and energy to be produced. The production process creates greenhouse gases, which can contribute to climate change. Their reusable counterparts also require resources, but thankfully last much, much longer.

 

How can we reduce single-use items?

There are different ways to reduce single-use items, and Chilliwack’s strategy includes a combination of regulatory and educational components. Other communities have already introduced regulatory measures, such as bans or mandatory fees to encourage reduction. 

The City encourages all residents and businesses to consider how they can start reducing single-use items.  

Please see the "Single-Use Item Reduction" brochure for ideas and tips on ways residents can begin reducing single-use items.

 

Are we the only ones doing something about it?

Steps are currently being taken by the Government of Canada to develop a single-use item reduction strategy.  This strategy may include bans on items like plastic bags and stir sticks.

The BC Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy is also in the process of developing a Clean BC: Plastics Action Plan. They are exploring actions related to four policy areas, including expansion of their Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) programs and potential bans on single-use packaging.

Over thirty other municipalities in British Columbia are investigating the impacts of single-use items on their communities or have already implemented bylaws to regulate their use.

 

When is this happening? What’s next?

Engagement with residents took place in December 2019 and consultation with businesses took place in January 2020. The City hosted three pop-up booths in December 2019 where residents could learn about single-use items, talk one-on-one with staff, and share feedback. In January 2020, the City hosted an open house and workshop to engage businesses on the topic. An online survey for residents ran in December 2019 and a survey for businesses took place in January 2020. The City received over 1,000 responses - thank you to everyone who took the time to provide feedback!

Overall, our consultation within the community found that there is high support for single-use item reduction initiatives including education and measures that make it easier to bring reusable alternatives to businesses.


Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the City of Chilliwack will continue to monitor the situation and develop strategies that may be implemented once it is safe to do so. The City encourages residents and businesses to proactively take steps to reduce single-use items.

For more information about this initiative: Engage Chilliwack or environment@chilliwack.com

Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.