Single-Use Items Reduction Strategy

single use downtown news

Single-use items are made for one use before they are thrown away. These include grocery bags, straws, containers, cups, and cutlery. 

The Town of Banff has developed a Single-Use Item Reduction Strategy that combines voluntary and regulatory measures that will help reduce single-use items. The Town strives to be a model environmental community, adopting and implementing innovative programs to protect and enhance the natural environment.

Single-Use Items Reduction Bylaw 

The Town of Banff has passed a Single-Use Items Reduction Bylaw to support a range of voluntary initiatives underway to help reduce disposable items that are used once than go to landfill.  The Single-Use Item Reduction Bylaw (PDF) will be enforced in stages:

Effective July 1, 2023:

Customers must request accessory disposable items

  • Businesses or event organizers that serve food and beverages shall not provide disposable accessory items such as utensils, straws and pre-packaged condiments, UNLESS customers ask for them.
  • Businesses or event organizers can have self-serve stations for disposable single-use items, however, after January 1, 2024 must also include reusable options at these stations for customers.

Customers must be allowed to ask for food and beverages to be served in their reusable containers.

  • Businesses and event organizers serving food or beverages must have a written policy to accept reusable cups and containers that customers bring to the business or event.
  • Businesses may set their own standards for when they will accept customer cups and containers, for example, they can refuse unsanitary customer containers.

Effective January 1, 2024:

Plastic shopping bags are banned.

  • Businesses and event organizers must not provide NEW plastic shopping bags to customers, and must allow customers to use their own bags for shopping.
  • Businesses may provide paper (minimum 40% recycled) or reusable bags, if requested, and must charge a minimum fee on paper ($0.25) and reusable ($2) bags. These fees shall be listed separately on a receipt.

 Businesses are required to provide reusable food ware for dine-in services.

  • Businesses such as restaurants, cafes and bars must provide reusable food ware, such as plates, bowls, cups, cutlery and other accessory items, for any food or beverages consumed on the premises. 
  • Businesses must ask and may rely on the customer’s stated intention as to whether they are staying or going.
  • Businesses serving food and beverages ready for consumption must have suitable dishwashing facilities to clean the reusable food ware, and provide adequate seating (minimum of 10 seats) for consumption on the premises.
    • Existing businesses can apply for an exemption if they cannot accommodate on-site or off-site dishwashing facilities due to space, financial or other special circumstances. 
    • All new food and beverage businesses must provide a minimum of 10 seats, on-site dishwashing facilities and reusable food ware to be licenced to operate in Banff.
  • Non-profits, charitable organizations and healthcare facilities are exempt from the requirements.

Public Engagement

A comprehensive online and in-person public engagement process recorded strong support for the Town's single-use item reduction strategy, with a phased and straightforward implementation and a priority on education over enforcement.  More information on the public engagement process can be found at


Download templates, posters and find other Zero Waste resources at

You can also try our Waste Sorting Game and What Goes Where? tool at


Temporary or permanent exemptions to specific clauses in the Single Use Items Bylaw may be granted in exceptional circumstances. To apply for an exemption, please fill out our online form:

Why is reducing single-use items important?

A study in Banff found that single-use items are problematic for several reasons including:  

  • This waste is a primary source of contaminant in recycling and composting bins
  • Single-use disposables are in large quantities in pedestrian bins, and as litter throughout the town  
  • Town resources are expended to sort single-use disposable items, the majority of which ultimately end up in the landfill, even if recyclable or compostable
  • When this waste ends up in the Banff National Park ecosystem, single-use items pose a significant threat to wildlife

The Town of Banff has a goal to have zero waste going to landfill by 2050.