Spruce Grove to develop bylaw to ban single-use items by 2022

December 2, 2019

The City of Spruce Grove is moving forward on developing a bylaw to ban the distribution of retail plastic bags, plastic straws, and polystyrene takeout containers and cups by fall of 2020. The ban will have an implementation period of one to one a half years (2020-2021) and will be in full effect by January 2022.

On November 25, 2019 Administration presented the Single-Use Items Reduction Strategy to Council. The Strategy was developed with input from regional stakeholders, industry experts and the public. Results of this engagement were presented at the November 18, 2019 Committee of the Whole meeting. The Strategy outlines the following recommendations:

  • Single-Use Item Reduction Bylaw applied to all business licence holders within Spruce Grove. Following the approval of the bylaw a transitionary period will occur allowing businesses time to use up old stock and adequately source an alternative. The Bylaw will focus on the following:
    • Banning plastic, bio-plastic and biodegradable retail bags, with a fee on paper and reusable bag alternatives
    • Banning polystyrene take-out containers and cups
    • Banning plastic straws, with exemptions for residents with accessibility requirements
  • Explore future reduction and management of disposable cups, utensils and take-out containers
  • Champion for the introduction of an Extended Producer Responsibility program in partnership with other municipalities across Alberta
  • Explore the possibility of offering a commercial organics collection program to help capture compostable single-use items and food waste
  • Continue to educate and inform residents on responsible purchasing habits to reduce the amount of waste produced from the home
  • Lead by example, the City for all City run events (external and internal) should work to be leaders in waste reduction, specifically limiting the use of single-use items

Council received this Strategy as information at the meeting and authorized Administration to proceed with the development of a complete ban on the distribution of retail plastic bags, plastic straws, and polystyrene takeout containers and cups by fall of 2020.

Single-use Items in Spruce Grove

Single-use items are products that are used only once before they are discarded to landfill or recycled. In Spruce Grove and Alberta most single-use items made of plastics that are not recyclable due to a change in the global recycling markets. Examples of single-use items are: plastic retail bags, straws, take-out containers, coffee cups, stir sticks, disposable cutlery, sandwich bags and more.

In the summer of 2019, the City conducted a residential waste audit. It is estimated that the average household in Spruce Grove produces 11kg of single-use items per year.  Of the single-use items, shopping bags were the most prevalent occupying 37% of all single-use items. Of these shopping bags 79% were used only once. When broken down by volume, of the 100 audited household, 652 plastic retail bags, 427 disposable straw and 49 polystyrene takeout containers or cups were found within a one week period. It was also noted that 92% of all single-use items disposed of in Spruce Grove were found in the garbage.