Alert | Mandatory outdoor water restrictions in effect - critical water main break affecting city-wide usage

City-wide indoor and outdoor water restrictions are in place. A fire ban is in effect. The boil water advisory has been lifted.

More information

Voluntary measures to reduce your business waste.

Single-Use Items Reduction Strategy Voluntary measures

The City’s Single-use Item Reduction Strategy focuses on reducing single-use items, made from all types of materials, not just plastics. Our strategy emphasizes preventing and reducing waste and promoting reusables. The City’s strategy includes voluntary programs to encourage waste reduction.

Food serviceware

Encouraging businesses to:

  • Use reusable serviceware for dine-in.
  • Adopt a reusable take-out container program.
  • Use locally recyclable or compostable take-out containers.

Reusable cups

Encouraging businesses to:

  • Use reusable cups for dine-in and accept customer-provided cups.
  • Adopt reusable cup share program.
  • Use locally recyclable or compostable single-use cups.

Contact us

If you have questions regarding the bylaw repeal or waste reduction practices, fill out the online service request below or contact 311.

What your business can do

  • Encourage customers to bring in a reusable beverage cup.
  • Provide reusable cups and containers for dining in. 
  • Consider participating in a reusable cup or container sharing program. Earthware reusable takeout containers can be returned to participating bottle depots for a cash refund. More information.
  • Train your staff to ask customers if they’d like to package their leftovers themselves in their own reusable container. If using single-use containers, pack into leftovers into as few containers as possible, rather than packaging items separately.
  • Replace single-use containers or cups with alternatives that are acceptable in Calgary’s residential recycling and composting programs.

Speak with your supplier about bag and foodware accessory options. Use this guide to help select options for your business.

Download the handout

Safe use of reusable items

Review your business practices and provincial health guidelines to determine your protocols for customer provided reusable bags, totes, cups and containers.

Follow these tips and remember to train staff.

  • Encourage staff to remind customers to regularly clean their bags and totes.
  • Wrap raw meat, poultry, and seafood in individual plastic bags. This will help prevent juices from leaking out and contaminating customer reusable bags/totes and other foods. Separate customer produce from raw meat into different reusable bags.
  • Have the customer keep the lid while staff fill the reusable cup.
  • Ensure the reusable cup is visibly clean and in good condition.
  • Ensure the reusable cup is made from a food-safe material, like glass, metal, ceramic, or durable plastic.
  • Do not allow the reusable cup to touch the drink dispenser.
  • If you feel it would not be safe or sanitary to fill the customer’s cup or bag, you can politely refuse it.

Additional Resources

Frequently asked questions

Why can’t we switch to compostable or biodegradable plastic shopping bags?

On December 20, 2023, the Government of Canada banned the distribution of plastic shopping bags that are labelled as compostable or biodegradable. They will not be available anywhere in Canada.

Why can’t we switch to compostable or biodegradable plastic utensils?

On December 20, 2023, the Government of Canada is banning the distribution of plastic utensils that are labelled as compostable or biodegradable. They will not be available anywhere in Canada. 

Plastic items like cups, cutlery and containers labeled or described as "compostable" or "degradable" are not accepted in Calgary’s residential recycling and composting programs. These items do not break down fully at the Calgary Composting Facility and are not recyclable. Once they reach people’s homes, they must be discarded as garbage.

What do I do with extra plastic bags?

Businesses with extra plastic bag stock can try and donate them to a charity that might be able to use them. Or recycle them as per your business (hauler) recycling requirements.

Can I refuse to accept a customer’s reusable shopping bag because of safety or cleanliness concerns?

If a business feels it would not be safe or sanitary to use a customer provided reusable shopping bag, you can politely refuse it.