The RCA’s Position on Single-Use Bylaws and Calgary Council’s Repeal Vote

Connector February 2024

The Recycling Council of Alberta (RCA), a trusted authority with over three decades of experience championing waste reduction in the province, expresses disappointment with the City of Calgary Council’s decision to initiate the repeal process for its single-use items reduction bylaw. The recently enacted bylaw aimed to address the critical issue of roughly 15 million single-use items entering Calgary landfills weekly. RCA Executive Director, Jennifer Koole stated that the bylaw “was a definitive step in the right direction that responded to the 91% of Calgarians who wanted their city government to play a role in reducing waste from single-use items. Now it feels like a step backwards.” 

Despite the potential repeal, the RCA finds encouragement in the ongoing discussions regarding the reduction of single-use items. This presents an opportunity to reconsider the types of actions that will better align with the needs of Calgarians, whether implemented outside of a bylaw or within a revised bylaw. The RCA believes that policy tools including bylaws can successfully change behaviors and reduce waste. Additionally, there are other tools like education, outreach, incentives, and return-for-reuse programs, such as Earthware, which are also important contributors. The Federal government’s single-use plastics ban reinforces the significance of such measures. Consequently, the RCA hopes that Calgary’s single-use items reduction bylaw will not be repealed later this year.

As a leader in advocating for waste reduction in Alberta, the RCA is determined to actively advance strategies like single-use item bylaws that are effective in waste reduction. We are committed to utilizing the coming months to elevate conversations on the importance of single-use item bylaws for Alberta. The RCA remains open to discussions with City Councillors, stakeholders, and members to propel waste reduction initiatives throughout the province.

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