The City has developed a Single-Use Items Reduction Strategy that includes both bylaws and voluntary programs focused on reducing single-use items commonly provided by businesses to their customers. The aim of The City’s strategy is not just to replace single-use plastic items with single-use items made from another material type, but rather to emphasize reducing waste and promoting reusables. The Single-Use Items Bylaw targets items that can easily be replaced with reusable options or completely avoided. Beginning January 2024, all businesses and organizations will need to comply with the following bylaw requirements:

  • Charging a minimum mandatory fee for new paper shopping bags and new reusable shopping bags.
  • Making foodware accessories (utensils, straws, stir sticks, pre-packaged condiments, napkins, etc.) available by request only.

In addition to these requirements, The City is recommending the following voluntary measures:

  • Food serviceware - Encouraging businesses to adopt reusable takeout container programs and use locally recyclable or compostable takeout containers.
  • Reusable cups - Encouraging businesses to use reusable cups for dine-in, adopt reusable cup share programs, and use locally recyclable or compostable single-use cups.

Implementing bylaw changes may bring operational challenges, issues or even questions from customers and employees. We want to know the challenges your business may have in complying with the Bylaw and what resources you need from The City. We are particularly interested in hearing from retailers and food establishments that utilize shopping bags and foodware accessories for in-store, online, takeout and delivery orders.

Your input will help build resources to prepare and inform customers and employees of the Single-Use Items Bylaw requirements.


Calgarians have told us they care about waste reduction and many people are already doing things like using reusable shopping bags and cups. Many businesses are also taking action and are charging fees for shopping bags, switching to recyclable or compostable take-out containers, and asking customers if single-use items are required.

What do I need to know about the Bylaw?

By January 16, 2024 all businesses will be required to adopt a minimum fee on new paper shopping bags and new reusable shopping bags, and a by request requirement for single-use foodware accessories made from any material.

For shopping bags, business license holders will be required to:

  • First ask customers if they need shopping bags before providing them;
  • Charge a minimum fee of $0.15 for new paper shopping bags and $1 for new reusable shopping bags starting January 16, 2024;
  • Increase minimum fees to $0.25 per new paper shopping bag and $2 per new reusable shopping bag on January 16, 2025; and,
  • Ensure paper shopping bags contain at least 40% recycled content.

This Bylaw applies to in-store, online, mobile and telephone purchases, as well as takeout and delivery orders.

Bylaw requirements do not apply to:

  • Shopping bags used by charitable organizations.
  • Small paper bags (less than 400 square centimetres).
  • Shopping bags used to package goods from a pharmacist.
  • Shopping bags used to: package loose bulk items such as fruit, vegetables, nuts or candy; protect bakery goods; or wrap meat or fish.

Business license holders can only provide single-use foodware accessories if:

  • A customer asks for the item;
  • The business asks the customer if they want an item and the customer confirms that they do;
  • The customer takes the item themselves from a self-serve station; or,
  • The customer answers a prompt on an ordering platform.

The Bylaw applies to:

  • Single-use accessories made from all materials (plastic, wood, paper, etc.).
  • Dine-in, takeout and delivery orders made in-person, online, or by telephone.


A single-use item is designed to be used only once before being thrown away. They are made from a range of materials including conventional plastics, compostable plastics, fibre (such as wood or paper) and aluminum. Many single-use items are unnecessary and frequently provided for convenience (e.g. single-use shopping bags, utensils, straws and napkins).

There is increasing public and business interest in decreasing waste from single-use items. It is important to reduce the negative life-cycle environmental impacts of single-use items. Producing, using and disposing these items uses up natural resources, and causes harm to our water bodies, ecosystems and wildlife.

Besides environmental benefits, the bylaw requirements can save businesses money.

  • Due to the federal regulations, businesses will need to purchase alternatives to single-use plastic bags. The City’s mandatory minimum fee on shopping bags encourages waste reduction behaviours and supports businesses since they will keep the revenue from the fees. The by request requirement for foodware accessories (such as cutlery, straws, napkins and condiments), should also reduce costs as you won’t need to buy or distribute as many.

In 2022, the Government of Canada banned the manufacture and import of single-use plastic checkout bags, cutlery, stir sticks, straws and foodservice ware containing foam or carbon black. Sale of these items will no longer be allowed by December 20, 2023. This means Calgary businesses will be unable to purchase these products from suppliers for use at their business.

The City is not banning any single-use items and is not making any changes to single-use items accepted in our Blue Cart (recycling) or Green Cart (food and yard waste) programs.

We encourage businesses to source reusable alternatives or single-use packaging that can be recycled or composted in the Calgary residential programs. Learn more at Suggested Alternatives Guide and use our What Goes Where? tool.

Certified compostable plastic shopping bags and bin liners are accepted in residential food and yard waste programs.

Other plastic items like cups, cutlery and containers labeled or described as "compostable" or "degradable" are not accepted in Calgary’s residential recycling and food and yard waste programs. These items do not break down fully at the Calgary Composting Facility and are not recyclable. Once they reach people’s homes, they must be discarded as garbage.


Engagement for this project is now closed. Thank you for responding!

As part of this engagement, we asked you for feedback on the following topics:

  • How you think our bylaw on shopping bags will impact you and your customers;
  • How you think our bylaw on foodware accessories will impact you and your customers; and
  • What information and resources would help to comply with our bylaws, and to communicate these new bylaws to customers.

Click here to view our What We Heard Report of the feedback provided.


The project team will take the information provided during engagement to help inform the implementation of The City bylaw, as well as follow-up conversations with businesses and business organizations. Future work on education resources will consider the feedback provided during engagement.