What's Allowed During COVID-19?

The BC Centre for Disease Control (BC CDC) provides information about COVID-19. Visit the pages below for information about using reusable items during COVID-19.

  • Food businesses (see the “Reusable containers, grocery bags and beverage cups” section)

Reusable Cups During COVID-19

The City of Vancouver has worked with Vancouver Coastal Health to ensure “contactless cup” procedures can be used to serve drinks in customers’ reusable cups.

Personal Protective Equipment

Metro Vancouver residents disposed of 528 million items of personal protective equipment in 2020 — mostly gloves and masks.

  • Learn how to care for your reusable PPE and how to safely dispose of single-use masks or gloves when they are the only option available.

Opportunities for Reusables in Retail Settings During COVID-19

Research from the National Zero Waste Council in collaboration with the University of Toronto's Dalla Lana School of Public Health sheds light on the safe use of reusable items in retail settings during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The interest in this research emerged from the confusion and uncertainty around the safety of using reusable products and services (such as mugs, bags and refill stores) at the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In the spring of 2020, public health authorities across Canada provided a range of guidance regarding the use of reusables. Most health authorities permitted the use of reusables with added safety precautions. At the same time, a variety of policies were adopted across the retail landscape with regards to the use of reusables, resulting in mounting confusion and concern amongst consumers about the risks of COVID-19 transmission through surfaces.

The National Zero Waste Council sought to better understand these risks, and the implications for the growing reusables infrastructure that retailers and consumers have increasingly adopted in recent years. The research team concluded that as long as precautions remain in place, reusable items may be used in retail settings during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Read the report: Opportunities For Reusables in Retail Settings During the COVID-19 Pandemic in Canada: A Review of Guidance and Evidence