Single-Use Items Reduction Strategy

Virtual Sessions

The Banff & Louise Hospitality Association (BLLHA) will be hosting two virtual engagement sessions in partnership with Banff & Lake Louise Tourism (BLLT) and the Town of Banff to help businesses prepare for the Single-Use Item Reduction Bylaw:

Wednesday, May 10, 10-10:30 am, via Zoom Register
SUI Reduction Bylaw 101:
Businesses will have the core components of the bylaw and exemption processes presented to them.  A live Q&A will follow.
Presented by Carla Bitz, Environmental Coordinator at the Town of Banff
This session is open to members of BLLHA and BLLT

Wednesday, May 17, 10-10:30 am, via Zoom Register
SUI Reduction Bylaw – Accepting Reusable Cups and Containers:
A ready to use template policy will be presented that includes Alberta Health Service (AHS) standards. A live Q&A will follow.
Presented by Kori Woodard, Environmental Health Officer with AHS
This session is open to members of BLLHA and BLLT

Single-Use Items Reduction Strategy

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

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.

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.

 Guiding Principles of the Single-Use Item Reduction Strategy 

  • Intentional use of the word items rather than only plastics    
  • Move away from disposable and avoid unintended consequences  
  • Focus on to-stay, bring your own, and reusables, NOT disposable items made of alternative materials   
  • Focus on unnecessary convenience items and what we can control as a municipality   
  • Integrated approach and made in Banff solution, informed by best practice 

National Plastic Ban

In December 2022, the Government of Canada banned the manufacture and import for sale of single-use plastics in an effort to achieve zero plastic waste by 2030. The ban covers single-use plastics including checkout bags, cutlery, food service ware, ring carriers, stir sticks and straws.

While the ban on the manufacture and import of single-use plastics is in effect, the sale of these items will be permitted until December 2023.


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.
  • A customer must request to receive these accessory items: single-use spoons, forks, knives, chopsticks, utensils, straws, stir sticks, splash sticks, cocktail sticks, toothpicks, pre-packaged condiments, and napkins.
  • Businesses or event organizers can have self-serve stations for disposable single-use items, but 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 businesses must charge a minimum fee on paper ($0.25) and reusable ($2) bags and 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 with dine-in service are permitted to provide food and drinks in disposable food ware, if the customer says they are not consuming the food on premises.
  • Businesses in the Attractions and Entertainment category may provide food and beverages in disposable food ware, to be consumed on the premises, if the customer requests single-use items, and as long as reusable food ware is also available.
  • 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.

The Town did not include items in the bylaw that were previously proposed:

  • The bylaw does NOT require businesses to provide reusable containers for take-away services
  • The bylaw does NOT require that remaining disposable food ware to be recyclable or compostable
  • The bylaw does NOT require businesses to charge a minimum fee for disposable cups, containers or accessory items

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.  

The first project of the new Business Environmental Leadership Working Group was to develop initiatives of the Single-Use Item Reduction Strategy.  The working group advised on public input process to engage businesses that would be affected by the strategy and a proposed bylaw.


Downloads posters and find other Zero Waste resources at