Single-use items

September 2022 update

Proposed federal and provincial regulations to reduce the distribution and use of single-use items are anticipated to be finalized in late 2022, with staged implementation beginning in 2023.

The District is currently supporting local businesses in understanding and adapting to these anticipated regulatory changes.

Specifically, we are sponsoring a free Zero-waste Coaching for Small Businesses program in partnership with the District and City of North Vancouver and Ocean Ambassadors Canada (OAC) that includes ongoing support on how to reduce single-use items, how to improve recycling and compost practices, as well as other zero-waste tips and tricks.

To register for the Zero-waste Coaching for Small Businesses program, email [email protected].

For more information, visit the Ocean Ambassadors Canada website.


In response to Council’s strategic objective to reduce community and corporate waste, including the reduction of single-use items, the District started developing a Single-Use Item Reduction Strategy.

Report to Council presented on September 9, 2019

Due to the impacts of COVID-19, consultation and development of a Single-Use Item Reduction Strategy for West Vancouver have been temporarily suspended. For more information about the consultation process, please visit:

Both federal and provincial governments are developing regulations to reduce the distribution and use of single-use items. To avoid creating additional complexity for local businesses, the District is deferring local regulation until provincial and federal regulations have been finalized. The District is currently advancing its single-use item reduction objectives by supporting the provincial regulations and local businesses in understanding and adapting to anticipated regulatory changes. 

Report to Council presented on May 30, 2022

You will find more information about single-use item reduction, including provincial and federal regulations, examples of local single-use item reduction initiatives, and resources for residents and businesses in the sections below.

What is a single-use item?

Single-use items are designed to be used once for a short period of time and then discarded. There are many types of single-use items, from diapers and cigarette butts to disposable pedicure flip-flops. However, the most commonly targeted materials for single-use item reduction strategies include shopping bags and items commonly associated with food service or take-out.

Why single-use item reduction?

We want to focus on reducing and reusing single-use items, over recycling and disposal, because this approach creates less litter, reduces collection costs and decreases the resources needed to produce single-use items in the first place. 


The responsibility for developing regulations or restrictions on the unnecessary use of single-use items is shared by multiple levels of government. In Canada, federal and provincial governments have powers to develop regulations directed at environmental protection. Provincial regulations such as the Community Charter or Environmental Management Act define the limited roles of regional and local governments.

Both provincial and federal governments have released information about their intentions to work on single-use item reduction, which includes moving forward with regulations.

Proposed Federal regulations

Proposed Provincial regulations

The District supports provincial and federal action to reduce the use of single-use items and recognizes the importance of consistent regulations throughout the province and across the country.


Zero Waste Coaching for Small Businesses Program

In collaboration with the District and City of North Vancouver and Ocean Ambassadors Canada, this program will help small businesses across the North Shore to:

  • decrease their use of single-use items, 
  • consider offering reusable takeout containers and cups, and 
  • determine which single-use products are most sustainable given the recycling systems in their municipality. 

The overall intent of the program is to educate and prepare businesses for upcoming provincial and federal legislation restricting the use of single-use plastic items.

To sign up or for more information about Zero-waste Coaching for Small Businesses program, please visit the Ocean Ambassadors Canada website.

Metro Vancouver Superhabits campaign

Metro Vancouver and other regional governments in B.C. do not have the authority to restrict the sale and use of single-use items. However, Metro Vancouver has played a key role in facilitating information sharing, collecting data about single-use items and developing public education programs including the regional “Superhabits” campaign, which encourages residents to say no to single-use and choose reusable alternatives.

For more information about the Superhabits campaign, please visit Metro Vancouver's website.

Beyond Plastic Bags

In spring 2019, the Horseshoe Bay Business Association launched an initiative to go “Beyond Plastic Bags” in Horseshoe Bay Village. The collaborative project with non-profit Ocean Ambassadors Canada resulted in 28 of the seaside village’s 35 businesses switching away from single-use plastic bags in favour of offering consumers paper or reusable ones.

Horseshoe Bay Beyond Plastic Bags

Repair Café

The primary goal with single-use items is reduction. When reduction is not possible, repair and reuse are the next best thing. A Repair Café is a free community event that brings people together to learn how to fix basic household items with the help of experienced volunteers.

The District hosted its first repair café event in 2020 and three subsequent events in 2021 in collaboration with the West Vancouver Memorial Library and non-profit Metro Van Repair Cafés. Stay tuned for more information about future events.

North Shore News: West Vancouver repair café aims to give broken items a second life

Student Video Contest

In 2020, the District challenged West Vancouver students to create videos about single-use item reduction. We received many inspiring videos reminding the community of creative ways to reduce waste and avoid the unnecessary use of single-use items where possible, even during a pandemic. Watch all of the videos on the student video webpage.

2020 Student Video Contest

Streetside Recycling

The District launched a streetside recycling program in commercial areas in 2019. Streetside recycling stations accept several single-use items, including disposable drink cups. Please do your part to dispose of all waste responsibly, whether you're in a park, municipal facility, or on the sidewalk.

Remember, bins don’t recycle  -- people do! Please sort your materials correctly at the District’s streetside bins to ensure paper and containers can be recycled.

Public Spaces

Love West Van

The District launched Love West Van, an initiative that encourages residents and businesses to get involved in local stewardship projects such as litter clean up events. Whether you want to clean up your neighbourhood, the shoreline, or a park, our community benefits when we all work together.

Love West Van

Clean Shoreline Community

The District joined the Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup in 2018 and officially became one of the first municipalities in Canada to be designated a Clean Shoreline Community. Learn more and organize your own cleanup.

Clean Shoreline Community