Say goodbye to coffee lids, straws, wet napkins and more

Takeout is changing as the province moves closer towards ditching single-use plastics

If you enjoy ordering takeout, you might’ve noticed that food service workers are no longer putting cutlery together with your food order. Or, alternatively, that the sushi you’ve brought home is no longer separated from the small mound of wasabi in the corner, touching together in the absence of the familiar plastic grass sheet.

That isn’t a mistake.

As of Wednesday, Dec. 20, BC has introduced new province-wide regulations that prohibit food service workers from offering single-use and plastic-based items such as utensils, napkins and coffee lids to customers, unless specifically requested at the counter.

Photo: Pexels

Items that can be provided by request include wooden utensils, stir sticks, straws, lids, condiments, napkins, wet wipes, chopsticks, splash plugs, and garnishes (such as the sushi grass), according to the Retail Council of Canada.

Single-use wooden utensils used in care facilities and drink lids purchased at a drive-thru window are two notable exceptions to the new regulation, under specific circumstances.

Limitations to shopping bags are also in effect as of Dec. 20—Canada is phasing out all single-use plastic shopping bags while BC will be making it mandatory for all businesses to charge a fee for new reusable and paper bags as of July 15, 2024.

So if you’re heading out for groceries (or for that matter, if you’re making any shopping stop) be sure to bring a reusable bag with you, and be sure to ask for utensils if you know you’ll need them.