City staff to present recommendations from Solid Waste Management Master Plan to Council

Community engagement shows strong support for a ban on single-use items

Guelph, Ont., March 24, 2022 – At the April 4 Committee of the Whole meeting, City staff will present the updated Solid Waste Management Master Plan to Council and the community, including two recommendations informed by community engagement: a phased reduction of the most problematic single-use items, and new waste collection standards for the Industrial, Commercial and Institutional (IC&I) sector.

Proposed ban on single-use items

Overall, 80 per cent of engagement participants strongly or somewhat agreed with recommendations to reduce or eliminate single-use plastic items in Guelph.

City staff recommends a two-phased approach to this change, beginning with a ban on the following items as of March 1, 2023:

  • Plastic shopping bags, including non-certified compostable bags and biodegradable bags
  • Polystyrene foam cups and takeout containers
  • Plastic straws

Plastic straws would be allowed and available by request for those who need them, and care settings like hospitals would be exempt from the ban. Certified compostable plastic bags with a BPI or CQA symbol that meet the City’s compatibility requirements would also be exempt from the ban.

In 2024, further changes would be introduced including disposable cup fees and reducing the use of single-use utensils.

Proposed changes to waste collection for IC&I sector

As part of the master plan, City staff is recommending changes that would limit commercial collection services to small mixed-use buildings that have a residential component, and limit institutional collection services (e.g., places of worship, daycares and community centres) to those located on an existing residential collection route.

Staff also recommends introducing organics collection to schools not currently receiving City collection services starting in 2026.

Overall, 75 per cent of survey respondents including residents and businesses, definitely agreed or somewhat agreed with these recommendations.

Should Council approve these proposed changes to IC&I sector collection services, City staff would work with customers throughout 2022 to determine if they are eligible for waste collection under these new standards, or if they need to seek other waste collection arrangements through private contracts.

Extensive community engagement helped shape this master plan

In 2020, City staff engaged the community to review the 2014 Solid Waste Management Master Plan and explore new and ground-breaking ways to support our growing city’s waste management needs. Feedback was extensive and solicited in a variety of ways, including: two public surveys, the Council appointed Public Advisory Committee, the Technical Advisory Committee, workshops with community groups, a survey geared towards businesses specifically, and a partnership with the University of Guelph’s Ideas Congress (ICON) program.

All feedback collected helped inform the final master plan recommendations.

Projecting costs for waste management as our community grows

While the master plan includes anticipated costs of serving a growing community and changing services to foster sustainability, approval of the master plan and the recommendations is not a budget approval. Master plans set service levels and identify priorities over a number of years. Specific project funding from all the master plans will be included in the multi-year budget by priority and considering affordability.


Here are the links to the April 4, 2022 Committee of the Whole agenda:

For more information

Heather Connell, Technical Services Manager
Solid Waste Resources, Environmental Services
City of Guelph
519-822-1260 extension 2082
[email protected]