Western Canadians Support Banning Single-Use Plastics

Majorities of residents of the four Canadian provinces say they are relying on reusable bags when shopping for groceries.

Vancouver, BC [January 12, 2021] – The federal government’s plan to curb the use of single-use plastics in Canada is supported by most residents of the four western provinces, a new Research Co. poll has found.

In the online survey of representative provincial samples, 82% of British Columbians, 78% of Manitobans, 71% of Albertans and 69% of Saskatchewanians support the proposal.

The federal plan calls for as ban on grocery checkout bags, straws, stir sticks, six-pack rings, plastic cutlery and food takeout containers made from hard-to-recycle plastics.

Support for the ban on single-use plastics is highest among British Columbians who voted for the BC Green Party in the 2020 provincial election (91%), as well as those who voted for the New Democratic Party (NDP) in the most recent provincial democratic processes held in Saskatchewan (90%) and Alberta (86%).

In British Columbia, more than three-in-four respondents to this survey (77%) say they rely on their own re-usable bag when shopping for groceries—a proportion that rises to 80% among those aged 35-to-54.

Majorities of residents of Alberta (69%), Saskatchewan (64%) and Manitoba (60%) are also using their own bags when they shop for groceries, instead of bags provided by the stores.

More than half of British Columbians (54%) say they go out of their way to recycle—such as holding on to bottles and cans until they can be placed into a proper recycling bin—“all of the time”. The proportion for this particular behaviour is slightly lower in Saskatchewan (50%), Manitoba (48%) and Alberta (46%).

One-in-four British Columbians (26%) say they limit hot water usage in their home—taking shorter showers or running the washing machine or dishwasher with full loads only—“all of the time”, compared to 19% in both Alberta and Saskatchewan and 17% in Manitoba.

Other behaviours are not as widely embraced across Western Canada. While 13% of British Columbians and 11% of Albertans say they unplug electrical devices in their home—such as TVs, computers and cell phone chargers—when they are not in use “all of the time”, only 5% of Saskatchewanians and 4% of Manitobans follow the same course of action.

Fewer than one-in-ten residents of each province say they buy biodegradable products or eat organic or home-grown foods “all of the time.”

“Western Canadians aged 55 and over are more likely to be keeping an eye on hot water usage in their homes,” says Mario Canseco, President of Research Co. “Conversely, those aged 18-to-34 have been quicker to adopt biodegradable products.”

Results are based on an online study conducted from January 4 to January 6, 2021, among 800 adults in British Columbia, 600 adults In Alberta, 600 adults in Saskatchewan and 600 adults in Manitoba. The data has been statistically weighted according to Canadian census figures for age, gender and region in each province. The margin of error—which measures sample variability—is +/- 3.5 percentage points for British Columbia and +/- 4.0 percentage points for Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba, nineteen times out of twenty.

Find our data tables here and download the press release here. 

For more information on this poll, please contact:

Mario Canseco, President, Research Co.
[e] mario.canseco@researchco.ca