Guelph to ban single-use items by January 1, 2023

Reduction of single-use items and changes to waste collection service levels key to a greener future

Guelph, Ont., April 26, 2022 – Last night, Guelph City Council approved two recommendations from the City’s Solid Waste Management Master Plan (SWMMP) 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.

“We need to take bold action if we want a greener, healthier environment,” says Jayne Holmes, deputy chief administrative officer, Infrastructure, Development and Enterprise Services. “Last night’s decision is a strong signal to the community that Council supports Guelph’s vision for a sustainable future. We echo their commitment and will support our residents and businesses as these waste management changes take effect.”

A key finding of the Master Plan is growing community interest in circular economies which aligns with the Community Plan vision to become the greenest, most sustainable city in Ontario. “The ban on single-use items is an example of how policy can reflect community interest, support behaviour change and further the development of a circular economy,” says Heather Connell, technical services manager for Solid Waste Resources.

Ban on single-use items

As part of Phase 1, the following single-use items will be banned in Guelph as of January 1, 2023:

  • plastic shopping bags, including non-certified compostable bags and biodegradable bags
  • polystyrene foam cups and takeout containers

Council was interested in hearing more regarding concerns received by the Accessibility Advisory Committee (AAC) related to the ban on plastic straws. Staff were requested to engage with the AAC for further consideration of the elimination of plastic straws by January 1, 2023, with a report back to council on this issue by September 2022.

Prior to implementing Phase 2 in March 2024, City staff will conduct further engagement for residents and businesses to discuss options for free and low barrier alternatives to single-use cups and utensils, particularly for people with low incomes or experiencing homelessness. Staff will report back to Council in 2023 with an engagement summary related to fees for single use items, for further consideration.

Changes to waste collection for IC&I sector

Council approved changes limiting commercial collection services to small mixed-use buildings with a residential component, and institutional collection services (e.g., places of worship, daycares and community centres) to those on existing residential collection routes.

Businesses can share carts provided to a residential dwelling, however the use of carts must not exceed the limits of residential waste collection. Institutions will have their own carts with the same limits as residential dwellings. The residential waste limits are weekly 80L green cart collection, and 360L blue and 240L grey cart collection every other week.

These changes will take effect in 2023.

Organics collection for schools

Council approved staff’s recommendation to introduce organics collection to schools not currently getting City collection services starting in 2026.

Next steps

City staff will engage with and educate residents and businesses to support understanding and compliance with the Council-approved changes to ensure success.

The updated Solid Waste Management Master Plan, including the implementation of these recommendations, support a future-ready Guelph by taking ambitious steps to care for the environment.

For more information

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