City of Toronto Releases ReduceWasteTO Educational Resource For Food Operators

The City of Toronto has released a new educational resource for food service businesses in Toronto as part of the ReduceWasteTO Reducing Single-Use Program. The Reducing Single-Use program will be phased in over the next few years to encourage, enable and celebrate businesses as part of Toronto’s transition to zero waste and a circular economy.

The Reducing Single-Use & Takeaway Items Guide is available in 12 languages and provides information on more sustainable product options to replace the single-use cups, containers, and accessory items businesses may currently be using, as well as product alternatives to avoid.

The guide also offers information on the City’s Blue Bin recycling and Green Bin organics programs, as well as resources businesses can access to get details on the City’s Reducing Single-Use program, compostable and biodegradable products, and the Federal Single-use Plastic Prohibition Regulations.

Download a copy of the guide in your preferred language here

Reducing single-use and takeaway items supports recommendations in the City’s Long Term Waste Management Strategy (Waste Strategy) (opens in new window) and will help the City of Toronto become a zero waste and circular city.

Through Reducing Single-Use – one of a suite of ReduceWasteTO programs, the City wants to support and recognize businesses already taking a leadership role to eliminate the unnecessary use of single-use and takeaway items, such as:
  • Single-use accessory disposable food items (i.e. eating utensils, straws, stir sticks, condiment packets, napkins, and beverage takeout trays)
  • Single-use beverage cups (hot and cold)
  • Single-use shopping bags (paper and plastic)
  • Foam (expanded polystyrene) cups and takeout containers
  • And Much More

The following information has been developed to help businesses transition away from single-use items and support their waste reduction efforts:

Be Recognized for Waste Reduction Leadership

Is your business already eliminating the unnecessary use of single-use and takeaway items in your operations? Are you a service provider that has an innovative business solution or a service that is already helping businesses reduce single-use Items?

Complete the Reducing Single-Use Program Application (opens in new window) and demonstrate your commitment to be part of Toronto’s efforts to become a zero waste and circular city.

Ways to Take Action

Here are some practical tips to eliminate the unnecessary use of single-use and takeaway items in your business:

  • Adopt ‘Ask-First/By-Request’ practices in your operations where staff will first ask if they need an item, or wait for customers to request single-use accessory items before giving them out.
  • Accept reusable cups and containers provided by customers for any prepared foods or beverages, including leftovers from dine-in service.
  • Post in-store signage and social media content to encourage customers to bring their reusable bags and containers.
  • Avoid plastic and plastic lined items labelled as compostable or biodegradable, which are not accepted in the City’s Blue Bin or Green Bin Program.

Reasons to Reduce

Get the facts on why it is important to reduce single-use and takeaway items.

  • Single-use accessory items (such as eating utensils, straws, stir sticks, condiment packets, napkins, and beverage takeout trays) are generally not recyclable or compostable, and are common litter items.
  • By reducing the distribution of single-use accessory items, businesses could reduce their overhead costs.
  • Single-use and takeaway items require valuable resources and energy to produce, collect, process and dispose of.
  • Foam containers can have serious impacts on the environment because they break down into little pieces that are easily ingested by fish and animals.
  • Foam containers are difficult and costly to recycle.
  • Black plastic cannot be sorted mechanically at the City’s recycling facility, so is not accepted in the Blue Bin Recycling Program and is sent to landfill.

Other important information including Government Single Use Plastics Prohibition Regulations, Meetings & Events, Resources and Public Health Regulations and Guidance on Reusables on Food Premises.

To receive updates about the City’s Single-Use & Takeaway Items Reduction Strategy, subscribe (opens in new window) to the Long Term Waste Management Strategy email list.