What are the challenges and opportunities related to switching from single-use to reusable foodware materials in local businesses?
In response to concerns over increases in plastic pollution and to the federal government’s decision to ban single-use plastic items by 2021, the City of Toronto has focused on reducing plastic waste as part of its Long-Term Waste Management Strategy. The City of Toronto has also approved the Single-Use and Takeaway Items Reduction Strategy – Voluntary Measures Program in May 2021 to reduce the use and disposal of single-use and takeaway items regardless of the material type and the waste stream in which they are currently managed.
In anticipation of policy changes, and to increase sustainability, several restaurant-style businesses within the City of Toronto have considered or implemented programs to reduce their plastic footprint. This includes reducing the use of single-use plastics, which is sometimes facilitated by enabling reusable alternatives.
We are working with Toronto Environmental Alliance, a not-for-profit organization, to identify the challenges and opportunities associated with implementing reusables programs in local businesses within the City of Toronto.
This project aims to:
- Assess the level of participation in reducing single-use plastic items in local businesses within the City of Toronto.
- Determine the challenges and opportunities that local businesses experience with implementing reusables programs.
- Determine the perceptions of consumers around supporting businesses with or without programs that reduce single-use plastic items.
Our report includes the results of a 2021 study on the challenges and opportunities for reducing single-use foodware and switching to reusable options in local food service businesses. Surveys and interviews were conducted with 12 small businesses from across Toronto including sit-down restaurants, quick-service restaurants, cafes and a bakery. Our findings summarize the potential for success in increasing and sustaining the use of reusable takeout options across Toronto to reduce single-use waste and plastic pollution.
The data generated from this project will be used to inform decision-makers as they consider new policies to reduce single-use plastic items.
For more information, please email Rafaela F. Gutierrez
This project is in collaboration with Toronto Environmental Alliance.