Single-Use Items Bylaw FAQ

Single-Use Items Bylaw FAQ
What does this bylaw aim to achieve?

The District of Squamish Single-Use Items Bylaw supports Council’s climate action priorities by significantly reducing the use of single-use items across the spectrum. 

What are single-use items?

Single-use items are disposable items such as products and packaging that are disposed of after a single use.

What materials are being regulated as part of this bylaw?

The Single-Use Items Reduction Bylaw regulates checkout bags, straws, takeout styrofoam containers and plastic utensils.

Why are straws required to be available upon request?

Plastic bendable straws are an important accessibility tool for people with disabilities and therefore businesses who sell beverages will still be required to provide straws for those who request them. 

What is an Accessible Straw?

An Accessible Straw is a plastic, bendable straw required for health, medical or disability reasons.

What about biodegradable and compostable plastics?

Biodegradable and compostable plastics pose significant problems for recycling and composting facilities due to their chemical composition. This bylaw prohibits the distribution of biodegradable and compostable plastic bags and straws.

Can businesses provide paper straws?

Businesses are required to ask a customer if they would like a straw. Only then can they provide a paper straw. The exemption is if a customer requires an Accessible Straw. 

Will all businesses who provide checkout bags be required to sell them upon request?

Yes, this bylaw applies to all businesses in Squamish who wish to provide checkout bags. A toolkit will be provided to retailers that will include materials necessary to inform and educate their employees and customers.

What are the non-checkout bag exemptions of this bylaw?

Bags will still be allowed to package the following:

  • Loose bulk items (such as fruit, vegetables, nuts, grain or candy);
  • Loose small hardware items such as nails and bolts;
  • Frozen foods such meat, poultry or fish, whether pre-packaged or not;
  • Flowers or potted plants;
  • Prepared foods or bakery goods that are not pre-packaged;
  • Prescription drugs received from a pharmacy;
  • Clothing after professional laundering or dry cleaning.
Why are paper bags included in the bylaw?

It is estimated that the production of paper bags generates three times the environmental and greenhouse gas than the production of plastic bags due to the way in which they are manufactured and transported. In addition, paper can produce methane, a potent greenhouse gas, when breaking down. Research suggests that banning single-use plastic bags could lead to increased use of other types of bags, such as paper bags, and therefore the bylaw aims to reduce the use of all checkout bags.

Does the new bylaw require that I buy new reusable bags?

Only if you need one! If you already use reusable bags, that’s great. We encourage you to continue bringing them with you when you go shopping and reusing them over time. We also encourage the reuse of old plastic and paper bags.

What about 'biodegradable' or 'compostable' plastic bags and straws?

Some single-use plastics are marketed as recyclable or compostable, but they either cannot be recycled (such as straws), or result in contaminating organics loads (such as lids, bags, or containers). The bylaw therefore prohibits “biodegradable” or “compostable” plastic bags and straws as these items cannot be composted or recycled.

What type of check-out bags can be provided?

The following bag-types can be provided to a customer. Note that they both must be accompanied by a fee.

  • “Recycled Paper Bag” means a paper checkout bag that contains at least 40% recycled paper content, and has a reference printed on the outside of the bag to the applicable amount of recycled content with the word “recyclable”
  • “Reusable Bag” means a bag with handles that is for the purpose of transporting goods from a Business and that is designed and manufactured to be capable of at least 100 multiple-time uses, and primarily made of washable fabric.
What are the minimum fees that must be charged for a check-out bag?

The customer must be charged a fee of not less than, as applicable:

    • $0.75 per Recycled Paper Bag; or
    • $2.75 per Reusable Bag.
What happens to the fee? Should it be remitted to the District?

The business is to keep all fees related to check-out bags.

Are there any exemptions to the Checkout Bag requirements?

Yes, a business may provide or sell plastic bags or paper plastic check-out bag if the business reasonably deems the following:

  • the customer’s disability or medical reasons; or
  • financial hardship upon the Customer; or
Small Paper Bags are exempt from the bylaw. What constitutes a Small Paper Bag?

A Small Paper Bag is a Paper Bag that is less than 300 square cm when flat.

Toolkit and Resources

The District of Squamish is providing these resources to make the implementation of the Single-Use Items Reduction Bylaw easier for business owners, staff, and patrons. Please download and print or distribute digitally to your staff.

Useful Resources for Businesses:

Single-Use Items Reduction Bylaw General Brochure

Single-Use Items Reduction Bylaw Retailer Info Sheet

Single-Use Items Reduction Bylaw Retailer Checkout Bags Info Sheet (half letter)

Single-Use Items Reduction Bylaw Retailer Checkout Bags Info Sheet (quarter letter)

Single-Use Items Reduction Bylaw Till Topper Customer Info


Do you have more questions and need additional support? Or you are unable to work with digital material and require printed copies? Contact us at with any inquiries about the Single-Use Items Reduction Bylaw.