Toronto, Ontario Packaging Reduction Policies

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Toronto, Canada

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Type: Policy

Status: Adopted

Source File:


Timeline of Council approved policies to reduce in-store packaging:

Ban on sale of bottled water immediately or following the expiry of any existing contracts at Civic Centres, including City Hall and Metro Hall.

April 2009:
Timeframe for City staff to report back to the Public Works & Infrastructure Committee on results of meetings with industry stakeholders to propose possible alternatives to existing hot drink cups.

June 1, 2009:

  • Retailers must charge five cents for a single-use plastic shopping bag taken by a customer or provide a free alternative (i.e., a cardboard box).
  • Signs must be posted to let customers know about the charge and it must be recorded on the receipt.
  • Retailers are required, when requested, to fill reusable bags the customer provides in lieu of plastic shopping bags to carry out their purchases.

December 31, 2009:
The date by which City staff, together with industry stakeholders, are to achieve the goal of having 50 per cent of plastic takeout food containers compatible with Toronto’s recycling program.

June 1, 2010:
Ban on plastic carryout bags that are incompatible with Toronto’s recycling program (e.g., bags with metal detailing or grommets, rope or hard plastic handles, biodegradable or compo stable plastic bags).

December 31, 2010:
Food service retailer representatives, food service trade associations and/or other food service stakeholders who currently use plastic take-out food containers, must develop a reusable and/or refillable take-out food container, or take-out food service protocol, which will allow customers to choose a reusable packaging option.

January 1, 2011:
Date by which City staff are asked to report back to City Council on the use of bans or financial tools regarding plastic takeout food containers if no reusable and/or refillable take-out food container or take-out food protocol is in place.

February 28, 2011:
Ban on plastic take-out food containers (i.e., clear, hard, plastic containers) that are incompatible with Toronto’s recycling program.

December 31, 2011:
Date by which various City divisions are to have cooperatively developed and implemented a program that bans the sale and distribution of bottled water at all remaining City facilities, improves accessibility to tap water at all City facilities and takes into account existing contracts related to bottled water at City facilities and unique public health and safety related situations.

Check out the following for more details and background information: