For any Airdronians that spend a lot of time in Calgary and eating out, as of Tuesday, the single-use plastic bylaw in Calgary has been tossed in the garbage.

As part of the bylaw, businesses will no longer be required to charge a minimum fee for new paper and reusable shopping bags and will provide shopping bags or cutlery accessories by request only.

Although the bylaw is no longer enforced, businesses have the option to maintain waste reduction practices that align with their operations. Airdronians and Calgarians may encounter businesses implementing bag fees or inquiring about the need for foodware accessories before supplying them.

The bylaw, which was originally passed on January 16, aimed to reduce the quantity of single-use products that were disposed of in city landfills. When the bylaw was in place, Albertans would have to pay 15 cents for a bag or $1 for a reusable cloth bag. In 2025, the costs would have increased to $2 and $0.25, respectively.

The bylaw applied to  'any businesses providing new paper or reusable shopping bags and/or cutlery  accessories to customers including grocery or convenience stores, retail stores, fast food, restaurants, cafes, bars and coffee shops.' The bylaw also encompassed vendors at festivals, special events and markets. 

Two weeks after the bylaw was passed, the Calgary council voted to start the repeal process after an outcry from residents and those who visit frequently. Removing the charter bylaw required a public hearing, a 90-day notice and an advertisement period.

According to a City of Calgary study, every week, about 3.5 million plastic shopping bags, 6.4 million plastic utensils, 2.4 million takeout containers, and 2.4 million disposable cups are discarded in residential and commercial waste streams.

When the bylaw was first implemented the question arose if the City of Airdrie would follow suit. According to officials, Airdrie does not regulate waste management for the industrial, commercial or institutional sectors.

A few months ago, the Federal Court issued a ruling overturning the federal government’s Ministerial Order designating all plastic-manufactured items to be “toxic substances”.

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