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City passes major ban impacting restaurants, grocery stores, and more: 'On the road to less waste'

"All these positive choices add up."

Ban on single-use plastics in restaurants and grocery stores

Photo Credit: iStock

The city of Edmonton, Alberta, once known as "The City of Champions," is also showing itself to be a champion of the environment. 

Edmonton passed a ban on single-use items (SUI) that went into effect on July 1, as reported by Global News. The new bylaw aligns with the Zero Waste Framework, which is the foundation of the city's 25-year Waste Strategy.

In a press release, the city said this new regulation puts it "on the road to less waste and litter." 

The bylaw applies to most organizations that hold a business license — with some exemptions for non-profits — and people who are required to hold a civic event permit. It also complements federal restrictions already in place to ban plastic shopping bags and Styrofoam. 

While the federal regulations focus on single-use plastics, the bylaw encompasses all SUI regardless of the material and focuses on overall waste reduction rather than simply replacing items with others made of more sustainable materials. 

The press release outlined the four types of SUIs the law focuses on — shopping bags, Styrofoam, single-use cups, and items like utensils, straws, pre-packaged condiments, and napkins — all of which can easily either be replaced with reusable versions or avoided entirely. 

Restaurants have to serve all dine-in drinks in reusable cups, utensils, straws, pre-packaged condiments, and napkins will be by request or self-serve, and both Styrofoam containers and plastic shopping bags can no longer be used. Further, businesses have to charge a minimum of 15 cents for a paper bag and one dollar for a new reusable shopping bag. 

Edmonton throws out close to 450 million SUIs each year, an amount that adds up to 10,000 tons of waste, according to Global News. Reducing these items leads to less litter in public spaces and less waste in landfills. Further, it means less pollution from planet-heating gases, as the production, shipping, and eventual disposal of plastics contribute greatly to the overheating of our planet. 

​​"All these positive choices add up and contribute to cleaner parks and public spaces," Denis Jubinville, the city's branch manager of waste services, said in the press release. 

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