British Columbians Still Back Proposed Ban on Single-Use Plastics

Three-in-four of the province’s residents say they rely on their own re-usable bags to transport groceries out of a store.  
Vancouver, BC [December 31, 2021] – Public support remains high in British Columbia for the federal government’s plan to reduce plastic use across Canada, a new Research Co. poll has found.  
In the online survey of a representative provincial sample, 82% of British Columbians are in favour of banning single-use plastics, unchanged since a similar Research Co. poll conducted in January 2021.
The federal government’s proposed regulation focuses on items such as grocery checkout bags, straws, stir sticks, six-pack rings, plastic cutlery and food takeout containers made from hard-to-recycle plastics. Several municipalities in British Columbia have already implemented their own guidelines for specific items, such as grocery checkout bags.  
Just over three-in-four British Columbians (76%, -1) acknowledge relying on their own reusable bag to transport groceries out of a store after purchasing them. Significantly smaller proportions of the province’s residents use bags provided by the store, either made out of paper (11%) or plastic (9%).  
“There is a generational gap in the adoption of reusable bags in British Columbia,” says Mario Canseco, President of Research Co. “Practically nine-in-ten residents aged 55 and over (88%) are already using their own bags at grocery stores, compared to 73% among those aged 35-to-54 and 62% among those aged 18-to-34.”  
Just over half of British Columbians (51%, -3) say they go out of their way to recycle “all of the time”, such as holding on to bottles and cans until they can be placed into a proper recycling bin. Once again, this behaviour is more common among the province’s residents aged 55 and over (66%) than their counterparts aged 35-to-54 (50%) and aged 18-to-34 (32%).  
More than three-in-five residents of Vancouver Island (65%) and Northern BC (63%) claim to go out of their way to recycle “all of the time.” The proportion is lower in Southern BC (58%), the Fraser Valley (57%) and Metro Vancouver (44%).  
One-in-five British Columbians (20%, -6) acknowledge limiting hot water usage in their home “all the time” by taking shorter showers or running washing machines or dishwashers with full loads only.  
Fewer British Columbians say they unplug electrical devices in their home—such as TVs, computers and cell phone chargers—when they are not in use (12%, -1), buy biodegradable products (5%, -2) or eat organic or home-grown foods (also 5%, -2) “all of the time.”
Results are based on an online study conducted from December 21 to December 23, 2021, among 800 adults in British Columbia. The data has been statistically weighted according to Canadian census figures for age, gender and region. The margin of error—which measures sample variability—is +/- 3.5 percentage points, 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.