Skip to content

Calgary city council dumps bylaw charging consumers for shopping bags


Calgary’s much-maligned bylaw imposing restrictions and costs on single-use items is no more.

City council voted 12-3 on Tuesday to ditch the rules following months of criticism from restaurants and consumers.

The bylaw was passed in 2022 but only put into place in January. The goal was to reduce waste ending up in the landfill.

The bylaw required businesses to charge of minimum of 15 cents for paper bags and $1 for reusable bags. Single-use utensils such as cutlery, napkins and condiments would only be provided if the customer requested them.

The bylaw’s cancellation takes effect immediately.

Alberta Premier Danielle Smith, a longtime critic of the bylaw, praised the decision in a post on social media, saying it will save families and businesses “time and unnecessary cost.”

Smith added, “I’m absolutely confident Calgarians can be trusted to recycle and dispose of such items on a voluntary basis. In fact, all Albertans can.

“I hope a few other Alberta municipalities make the same change.”

The city, in a statement, said that while the bylaw is no longer in effect, businesses can still move forward with their own waste reduction practices, including charging fees for shopping bags.

The city also noted that federal regulations on single-use plastics remain.

The federal rules, launched almost two years ago, ban six categories of single-use plastics on the grounds they threaten the environment.

Those items are: plastic checkout bags, stir sticks, straws, food containers, cutlery and the ring carriers used for items like six-packs of drinks.