Plastic bag ban and fees on single-use cups in Vancouver start January 1

VANCOUVER’S ban on plastic bags and fees begins on Saturday.

On January 1, by-laws will go into effect banning plastic shopping bags and requiring businesses to charge fees for paper and new reusable shopping bags, as well as single-use cups.

The City said these new regulations are key to our overall strategy to reduce waste from single-use items. They join the by-laws for foam, straws and utensils introduced in 2020.

How we shop is changing

  • Starting January 1, businesses can no longer distribute single-use plastic shopping bags to customers. The ban includes plastic shopping bags made from fossil fuels, plastic bags labelled or described as compostable or degradable, and plastic bags made from plants or other biological materials.

  • This year, Vancouver shoppers will also start paying for paper and new reusable shopping bags if they forget to bring their own. Businesses are required to charge a minimum of $0.15 for a paper shopping bag and $1 for a new reusable shopping bag.

Residents should always bring their own reusable bags when they shop to avoid paying bag fees and to reduce single-use waste. Bringing your own bag is allowed during COVID-19, according to BC Centre for Disease Control guidelines. Residents are encouraged to clean their bags regularly using Health Canada cleaning tips available here.


Coffee and tea time is changing

  • On January 1, businesses are required to charge a minimum of $0.25 for each single-use cup. To avoid the fee and reduce waste, bring your own cup. Or, if you’re having a drink to stay, ask for it in a reusable cup.

  • The City has worked with Vancouver Coastal Health to ensure that “contactless cup” procedures, which are used in cities around the world, can be used during COVID-19 to safely serve drinks in customers’ cups.

What happens to the fees?


Businesses keep the fees from cups and shopping bags and are encouraged to use them to cover the cost of complying with the by-laws (e.g. software updates, staff training) and to invest in reusable alternatives, such as dishwashers, reusable cup-share or “take-a-bag, leave-a-bag” programs.

The City said it is committed to supporting businesses and other organizations that are affected by the new by-laws. Toolkits are available in several languages to help businesses comply and find reusable, recyclable or compostable alternatives that are convenient and affordable.

Visit for more information on all the City’s single-use item by-laws.