Single-Use Products to be Banned in B.C. – Plastic or Not – Comply by December 2023

Franchisors and Franchisees in the restaurant industry should carefully review B.C.’s new Single-Use and Plastic Waste Prevention Regulation. The new requirements come into effect in December 2023 and cover many single-use products, not just those made of plastic.

Franchisors and franchisees in British Columbia that operate in the restaurant industry should closely review and monitor B.C.’s efforts to address hard to recycle single use plastic items, as well as other single use items not made from plastic. On July 14, 2023, BC introduced the Single Use and Plastic Waste Prevention Regulation under the Environment Management Act. This regulation targets the operations and products of “business operators” and “food service providers” and prohibits the distribution and sale of single use items in BC. There is a focus on products used in the food service industry. The regulation targets compostable, biodegradable and Oxo-biodegradable plastic products. Because of these wide categories, the prohibitions capture many non plastic single use items as well.

The regulation comes into effect in December 2023 which gives six months for businesses to use up their existing inventory and source and order products that meet the new rules.

The regulation is part of the Province’s CleanBC Action Plan, launched in 2019. Since that time, 21 B.C. municipalities have established bylaws to limit single use plastics in their communities. In December 2022, the federal government also regulated single use plastic items. The manufacture and import of six plastic items was prohibited by the federal government: plastic checkout bags, drinking straws, cutlery, stir sticks, ring carriers, and food service ware. Sales of these items will be banned as of December 20, 2023.

Any business that uses single use products in its operations should ensure that it reviews applicable provincial, municipal, and federal laws. If you have questions about whether your business falls within the categories of “business operators” and “food service providers”, or how the ban applies to you, reach out to Marta or Tony.

Note: this article is for information purposes only and is not legal advice, is not exhaustive of all possible legal rights or remedies, and is not updated after the date of publication to account for changes to law or other circumstances that may impact its accuracy. Do not rely on these materials for legal advice or opinion. You should consult your own legal advisor for advice for your situation.