Single-Use Item Reduction

It is no secret that single-use item reduction is an important issue in our region. In 2018, 1.1 billion single-use items were disposed in the Metro Vancouver region. That is equivalent to 440 items per person per year! Of that, a third were utensils, a quarter bags, and a quarter cups. Approximately 57% of the items are plastic, 22% are plastic-lined paper, and the remaining are paper or wood.

No matter what they are made of, single-use items have a lasting impact on our environment long after being used for a short period of time. Single-use items cost taxpayers millions annually to collect from public spaces, take up valuable space in landfills, are commonly found in marine litter, and are not commonly reused or recycled. They take significant amount of resources to produce, which contributes to climate change. Metro Vancouver’s Board Strategic Plan 2019-2022 calls for actions that will reduce the amount of litter and waste that members manage. This includes working with members, the provincial government, and the federal government on strategies to reduce single-use items and other consumer products.

Across Canada, all levels of government are taking action to reduce single-use items. Learn more in this jurisdictional scan document, which provides a summary of single-use item reduction regulations and policies in Canada.

Metro Vancouver emphasizes reduction and reuse over recycling and disposal. This approach is most effective at preventing litter, protecting our oceans, reducing street collection costs and reducing resources needed to produce single-use items.

The “Superhabits” campaign supports single-use item reduction across Metro Vancouver.

It celebrates the everyday actions residents take to reduce single-use items.