On May 17, City of Toronto released the Single-Use and Takeaway Items Reduction Strategy – Stage 1 staff report that will be considered by the Infrastructure and Environment Committee on Tuesday, May 25, 2021.
Plans to present a more comprehensive Reduction Strategy to City Council in 2020 were delayed as the City focused its efforts on the emergency response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The City is not recommending mandatory measures such as fees, bans or bylaws at this time. Instead, the report recommends a Voluntary Measures Program (VMP) as the first stage of a Reduction Strategy to help reduce single-use and takeaway items.
The report takes into consideration the social, financial, and health-related impacts of the reduction measures on Toronto residents and businesses as a result of COVID-19 and recommends the VMP to encourage businesses to voluntarily implement actions to reduce single-use and takeaway items. This includes the adoption of an “ask first/by request” approach for items including, but not limited to, bags, straws, and utensils; and asking businesses to consider accepting reusable takeout containers and beverage cups. The report also recommends the City promote, recognize and develop incentives for businesses that adopt voluntary measures to reduce single-use and takeaway items.
The report also provides an overview of the Federal Government’s commitment to ban or restrict a list of six plastic single-use items by the end of 2021. In December 2020, the City provided input on the Federal Discussion Paper: A proposed integrated management approach to plastic products to prevent waste and pollution.
If approved by City Council, the Voluntary Measures Program will be the first stage of the Reduction Strategy. Solid Waste Management Services will report back in the first quarter of 2022 with an update and action plan that includes any new considerations of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic; any further implementation details and potential alignment with the Federal Government’s proposed approach to ban or restrict single-use plastic items; implementation timeline and proposed approach for any recommended additions or mandatory measures and a review of options to incentivize businesses to reduce single-use and takeaway items.
More information about single-use and takeaway items can be found at www.toronto.ca/single-use.