Single-Use Plastics Ban Welcomed by Most British Columbians

The proportion of residents who rely on re-usable bags when they go grocery shopping has increased since December 2021.

Vancouver, BC [January 25, 2023] – The recently implemented federal ban on the manufacture and import of single-use plastics in Canada is endorsed by four-in-five British Columbians, a new Research Co. poll has found.

In the online survey of a representative provincial sample, 80% of British Columbians support the federal government’s decision.

The federal government has banned the manufacture and import of single-use plastics, including 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.

“The highest level of support for the federal ban on single-use plastics is observed on Vancouver Island (84%),” says Mario Canseco, President of Research Co. “The prohibition is also supported by majorities of residents in Metro Vancouver (81%), the Fraser Valley (also 81%), Northern BC (77%) and Southern BC (73%).”

More than four-in-five British Columbians (85%, +9 since a similar Research Co. poll conducted in December 2021) say that they transport groceries out of a store after purchasing them using their own re-usable bag. Only 13% say they rely on bags provided or purchased at the store.

A sizeable proportion of British Columbians aged 55 and over (96%, +8) are relying on their own re-usable bag when they go grocery shopping. The numbers are lower among those aged 35-to-54 (85%, +12) and those aged 18-to-34 (69%, +7).

About half of British Columbians (49%, -2) claim to 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.

Fewer British Columbians are actively partaking on other behaviours “all of the time”, such as limiting hot water usage in their home by taking shorter showers or running washing machines or dishwashers with full loads only (19%, -1), unplugging electrical devices in their home—such as TVs, computers and cell phone chargers—when they are not in use (12%, =), buying biodegradable products (9%, +4) or eating organic or home-grown foods (5%, =).

Methodology:Results are based on an online study conducted on January 9 to January 11, 2023, among 800 adults in British Columbia. The data has been statistically weighted according to Canadian census figures for age, gender and region in British Columbia. 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.

778.929.0490 [e]