Don’t expect any napkins and cutlery in your take-out orders, Toronto. The city’s new single-use and takeaway items bylaw is now in effect and here’s what that means.

As of March 1st, restaurants and businesses in Toronto will now have to ask if customers would like single-use “food accessory items”. The includes items like straws, napkins, stir sticks, utensils, drink trays, and condiment packages.

This also includes paper shopping bags except for those used for bakery items and prescription or medication bags.

Businesses will no longer be able to provide them without asking first or by request – it’s the law.

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The Toronto City Council approved the bylaw on December 15th. The point of this bylaw “is to reduce the use and disposal of specific single-use and takeaway items, regardless of the material and which waste stream (i.e. garbage, recycling or organics) they are managed in,” per the city.

Start carrying around your reusable shopping bags if you haven’t already! Businesses are now required to accept them, along with customers’ reusable cups.

toronto single use
Photo via City of Toronto

There are some other exceptions to the bylaw as well.

“Retail business establishments that provide or permit the provision of accessory food items, single-use use paper shopping bags, and beverages to a customer at a City property event or a restricted event will not be subject to the bylaw,” states the city.

And if a business doesn’t comply with the new bylaw, it could face a fine of now less than $500 and no more than $100,000, according to the city.

Toronto has provided a “Reducing Single-Use & Takeaway Items Guide” for food service businesses with product alternatives.

The effort in reducing single-use and takeaway items supports Toronto’s Long Term Waste Management Strategy and goals of a zero-waste future.