Single-use plastic: What you need to know about legislation
Montreal prohibits the distribution of certain single-use plastic items in restaurants and food establishments.
What is a single-use plastic item?
This means a plastic item that is used to package or consume a food item, distributed individually and intended to be used only once or for a short period of time before being discarded or recycled.
Overview of the by-law
The by-law prohibits the distribution of several single-use plastics in Montréal grocery stores and restaurants, whether for on-site consumption, takeout or delivery.
Single-use plastics include the following items:
All plastics, compostable or not
- stirring sticks
- utensils for on-site consumption
Polystyrene (no. 6) and compostable plastics (no. 7 PLA and PHA)
- trays (except those used for raw meat and fish)
- utensils for takeout and delivery
Who is affected?
Establishments that offer restaurant service
Some examples: Restaurants, food courts, food service counters, food trucks, school or employee cafeterias, vending machines, food service at events, grocery store takeout counters, etc.
Establishments that package foodstuffs for retail distribution
Some examples: Grocery stores, convenience stores, fruit markets, bakeries, pastry shops, butcher shops, cheese markets, etc.
The prohibitions do not apply to:
- Non-profit food aid organizations, e.g., charities that distribute food or meals to vulnerable people.
- Establishments that only offer home delivery services, e.g., caterers or warehouses that are not open to the public and that deliver directly to their clients, either by delivering themselves or through an intermediary.
- Foods pre-packaged outside the establishment.
- Plastic coated cardboard cups, glasses and containers (compostable or not).
In order to ease the transition, several practical tools are available through the Guichet unique pour la transition alimentaire (GUTA). It offers a directory of alternatives to prohibited articles, a guide to best practices and contact information for several support organizations.
You can also consult the Best practices guide to reducing food packaging and waste (in French) developed by Concertation Montréal in collaboration with the GUTA.
Any questions? Contact Affaires Montréal.