Montréal has passed a by-law banning certain single-use plastic items in restaurants and other food establishments. The by-law will come into force on March 1, 2023 but, in the meantime, establishments can begin the transition toward compliance.
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.
Who is affected?
In the boroughs:
- Establishments that offer food service.
For example: restaurants, food fairs, food counters, food trucks, food courts at events, ready-to-eat sections in grocery stores, etc.
- Establishments that package food items for retail sale.
For example: grocery stores, convenience stores, fruit stores, bakeries, pastry shops, butcher shops, cheese shops, etc.
How to comply with the by-law
Begining March 1, 2023, it is prohibited to distribute, for on-site consumption or delivery/takeout, a single-use item made from plastic bearing the following identification codes:
- Food tray (excluding meat and fish): Number 6
- Plate: Number 6
- Container and lid: Number 6
- Lid for cup or glass: Number 6
- Cup or glass: Number 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 or 7
- Stir sticks: Number 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 or 7
- Straws: Number 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 or 7
- Utensils for on-site consumption: Number 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 or 7
- Utensil on request for delivery/takeout: Number 6
In addition, no single-use items made from degradable plastics (oxodegradable, oxofragmentable, biodegradable, or compostable) may be distributed.
The prohibitions do not apply to foods prepackaged by an external supplier, nor do they cover the distribution of single-use items made mostly of cardboard or paper with plastic lamination.
Above all, eliminate the use of non-essential single-use items. For example, using a lid with a spout to eliminate the straw, or using an edible cone to eliminate the cardboard cup from an ice cream.
- Offer the client multiple use (reusable) dishes, such as glasses, ceramic cups and plates and metal utensils.
For takeout and delivery:
- Offer the client multiple-use glasses, containers and utensils for a deposit (incentive to return items so that they can be resold)
- Offer customers incentives to use their own multiple use containers and utensils, such as discounts or fees for the single-use items
- Distribute napkins, wooden utensils, packets of condiments, paper lids and straws only upon customer request.
- Use recyclable single-use items made from recycled content certified sustainable when multiple use items are not feasible.
The prohibitions do not apply to:
- Establishments that do not receive consumers in-house and offer only delivery service. For example: caterers who deliver themselves or through an intermediary; grocery stores that do not receive the public on their premises and deliver directly to the consumer themselves or through an intermediary.
- Non-profit organizations whose mission includes food distribution. For example: charities that distribute food or meals to vulnerable people.
Any questions? Contact Affaires Montréal