Canada’s plastics ban: How companies are responding

Canada’s plastics ban: How companies are responding

As the first phase of Canada’s plastic ban goes into effect, restaurants and grocery stores are offering greener alternatives as they phase out disposable bags, cutlery and containers.

As of Tuesday, the manufacture and import of single-use plastic straws, bags, cutlery, chopsticks and takeout containers is banned in Canada. The manufacture and import of ring carriers for canned drinks will be banned in June, and the ban on the sale of these single-use plastics will come into force on 20 December 2023.

Here’s how companies are responding to and anticipating the plastic ban:


Tim Hortons already used paper straws since October 2020. But on the same day that first phase of the plastic ban went into effect, the company announced it would. expanding tableware made of wood and fiber Beginning in early 2023.

Tim Hortons also plans to introduce new breakfast and lunch food packaging that the company says uses 75 percent less material. In Vancouver, the company is also testing new fiber drink covers.

But Tim Horton’s isn’t the only coffee company rushing to replace single-use plastics. Starbucks Canada announced in August 2021 switched to paper straws and cutlery made from recyclable polypropylene.

Starbucks also resumed its bring-your-own-cup program in August 2021 after a temporary hiatus due to concerns over COVID-19. Customers who bring their own cup can also get 10 cents off their drink. In Vancouver, the company has also begun charging 25 cents for single-use cups, in compliance with city regulations.


A&W has already switched to paper straws. The company announced the elimination of plastic straws in 2018 and is one of the few fast food chains to offer customers metal baskets, glass bowls and ceramic plates for dining.

In the same year, Subway Canada continued with paper straws, and completed the transition in August 2019.

Recipe Unlimited – the parent company behind Harvey’s, Swiss Chalet, New York Fries and many other chain restaurants – also announced that it would phase out plastic straws in 2018. In April 2019, the company announced it ditch the plastic take-out bags and Styrofoam containers.

In October 2021, McDonald’s Canada announced that it would be switching to paper straws and wooden cutlery and stir sticks. McDonald’s has allowed customers to bring their own reusable cups to order coffee and tea since July 2022.


In January 2020, Sobeys announced stay away from single-use plastic bagsmaking it Canada’s first national grocery store.

In April 2022, Walmart stopped offering plastic bags, instead of offering reusable cloth bags. But the company has been criticized Distribution of cloth bags for online grocery ordersleaving some customers with piles of unneeded cloth bags.

Metro announced in June that it would stop distribution of plastic bags in its stores by September. Loblaw Companies also announced plans in June eliminate single-use plastic shopping bags by the first quarter of 2023and in October, the company announced that it had completed operations in Manitoba, Saskatchewan and the Northwest Territories.

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