Many states and provinces across the US and Canada have been moving towards banning many types of single-use plastics since the early 2000s. Most have started with single-use plastic shopping bags – either charging for their use or banning them altogether. As we look at these bans, we have to ask what’s next and what can each of us do on an individual level? There is still a long way to go.

According to Waste Management US, Americans use 100 billion plastic bags each year. Single-use plastic bags end up in landfills and the ocean, harming birds, sea turtles, fish, and causing toxic microplastics to be consumed through our food and air.

California

In the United States, California was the first state to pass a statewide single-use plastic bag ban in 2014.

2014

2015

Hawaii

Each of Hawaii’s five islands individually banned single-use plastic bags at different times; the final ban.

Illinois

A bill was passed to place a fee on single-use plastic shopping bags. It was later implemented in February 2017.

2016

2018

Seattle, Washington

Single-use plastic straws are banned in Seattle. Bars and restaurants are no longer permitted to give customers plastic straws or utensils – including forks, knives, spoons, and stir sticks.

Quebec, Canada

Montreal bans single-use plastic bags. The city previously used 2 billion plastic bags annually, and just 14% of those were recycled.

JUNE

2018

2019

Florida

Local governments in Florida can now ban single-use plastic straws.

Victoria, British Columbia, Canada

Victoria, BC bans single-use plastic bags from all stores in the city.

2019

JANUARY

2019

Rhode Island, New York

Rhode Island banned clamshell food containers. The ban also applies to caterers, food carts, food trucks, retail food stores, delis, grocery stores, cafeterias, coffee shops, hospitals, adult care facilities, nursing homes, schools, colleges and more, according to the state Department of Environmental Conservation.

New Orleans

New Orleans announces reductions in the materials that will be collected in its residential recycling program – this includes plastic bags, waxboard items like milk cartons, and plastic and polystyrene egg cartons.

MAY

2019

JULY

2019

Prince Edward Island, Canada

The province declares that retailers can no longer offer plastic checkout bags and will have to charge a minimum of 15 cents for a paper bag or a dollar for a reusable one.

Maine

New York State

Vermont

All three states move to ban single-use plastic bags.

2019

2020

Long Beach, California

Long Beach bans single-use polystyrene meat and veggie trays.

Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

The city in Canada bans single-use foam products including foam cups and take-out containers.

JANUARY

2020

2020

New York

New York officially bans single-use plastic bags in October 2020.

Hoboken, New Jersey

The local government bans single-use styrofoam and all single-use plastic bags. The city hopes that this will help to move toward its goal of sending zero waste to landfills. The ban also applies to polystyrene egg cartons.

MARCH

2020

APRIL

2020

Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

The province bans plastic straws, styrofoam cups, and containers.

Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada

The Canadian province becomes the second Canadian province to completely ban single-use plastic bags.

APRIL

2020

JULY

2020

Maryland

Maryland lawmakers approve a bill to ban foam food containers. (Delayed due to the COVID-19 Pandemic)

Jurisdictions in Maryland

including Baltimore, Westminster, and Takoma Park

New Jersey

Oregon

Washington

All states ban single-use plastic bags in 2020.

2020

2020

Berkely, California

The city rolls out a new law to reduce disposable food packaging. Restaurants must charge 25 cents for every disposable cup or to-go container.

Maine

Maine bans single-use foam containers.

2021

2021

Colorado

Connecticut

In 2021, Colorado and Connecticut pass a law to ban single-use plastic shopping bags.

Banff, Alberta, Canada

Banff has introduced several laws around single-use plastic including banning single-use plastic bags, straws and stir sticks. They have also introduced fees for paper bags and takeout containers. Consumers can bring reusable cups and containers at dine-in restaurants and request reusable utensils for takeout food.

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2021

2021

Virginia Governments

Five local Virginia governments joined the growing trend of taxing plastic shopping bags in hopes of reducing their usage and moving towards eliminating them altogether.

New Jersey

Ban takes effect in 2022 to ban foam packaging. The strict ban includes clamshell food containers, plates, coffee cups, meat and veggie trays, and cutlery.

2021

2021

New York

New York State is set to ban many foam products including food containers and packing peanuts. The ban applies to caterers, food carts, food trucks, and retail.

Canada

In 2022, Canada is set to implement a federal ban on single-use plastics. By the end of the year, the government had announced that the ban will include six single-use plastic items. These include: single-use plastic bags, coffee stir sticks, beverage six-pack rings, plastic cutlery, single-use plastic straws, and food packaging made from plastics that are not fully recyclable.

2021

2022

Canada

The Canadian government announced that the manufacturing, importing, exporting, and selling of the following categories of single-use plastics will be banned by the end of 2025: checkout bags, cutlery, food service packaging, drink ring carriers, stir sticks, and straws.

USA

The U.S. Department of the Interior has announced that by the end of 2032, it will stop selling single-use plastics in national parks, wildlife waste, and other public spaces.

JUNE

2022

JUNE

2022

California

California passed an aggressive new regulation to lessen plastics altogether. The law will guarantee a 25% drop in single-use plastic by 2032. It requires that at least 30% of plastic items sold or purchased in the state are recyclable by 2028. By 2032, 65% of all plastic items sold or circulated in California must be recyclable.

India

India begins to ban single-use plastics, including cups and straws. India has identified a list of 19 plastic items that will be illegal to produce, import, stock, distribute, or sell. India is home to factories that make over 243,000 metric tons of disposable plastic each year. Reducing the manufacturing and consequent waste of plastic is crucial for India to meet its target of reducing emissions in economic activity by 45% in eight years. This aggressive move by India shows the global urgency to reduce single-use plastic manufacturing and stop greenhouse gas emissions released by making plastic. Click here to view a plastics video on LinkedIn.

JULY

2022

DECEMBER

2022

Canada

Single-use plastic check-out bags, cutlery, food service ware, stir sticks and straws will be prohibited from being manufactured in Canada or imported into the country.

The United States and Canada have a long way to go in reducing plastic and polystyrene foam waste. In 2022, big changes will happen to move North America in the right direction.

Similar to Walmart, some Canadian brands have also excluded plastic bags from their stores – including the national grocery chain, Sobeys, and the shoe brand Aldo.

Aside from single-use plastic bags, Canada is making moves to get rid of other single-use plastics and polystyrene foam products as well. Banff, Alberta has made significant changes in 2021.

Which states, provinces or businesses would you like to see make a move to ban single-use plastic and foam next? Hold them accountable and share how you’re reducing your plastic waste consumption. #ditchplasticpackaging

*The above information are subject to change based on local and state legislations. Laws for plastic bans are on-going. Consult your local jurisdiction for the most up-to-date information.