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York Region survey finds 87% want businesses to ask before giving single-use plastic
April 22, 2022

York Region residents are concerned about plastic use and most want to be asked before receiving a single-use object, according to a new York Region report.

The region has released the results of a July 2021 survey on single-use plastics, showing that 87 per cent of respondents prefer businesses ask first before giving them a single-use item such as a straw or plastic bag, and that 78 per cent are willing to choose stores that are reducing use of the items.

Meanwhile, 93 per cent of respondents reported being moderately or extremely concerned by plastic litter impacting the environment.

“Overall, survey results show that respondents are concerned about the impacts of single-use items and support actions to reduce their use and impacts on the environment,” the summary report said.

The report comes as the federal government prepares to put an end to six single-use plastic items by the end of the year. The July poll garnered 1,908 respondents, with approximately 16 per cent of them from Newmarket.

Most poll respondents said they would strongly or somewhat support the reduction of most single-use plastics, including straws, water bottles, Styrofoam containers and plastic bags.

Other questions addressed comfort levels with reusable items amidst the pandemic, with 52 per cent of respondents extremely or moderately concerned last year about using reusable items like coffee mugs and cloth bags.

The report also summarizes results from an online public quiz and engagement with York’s accessibility advisory committee. The report said that measures like banning straws can create a lack of autonomy issues for persons with disabilities and that plastic cups can offer a more sanitary option for those with compromised immune systems.

The region said the results would inform its approach to reducing single-use items, though it would further engage with businesses to decide how to proceed. Some jurisdictions, including Newmarket, have banned single-use plastics at their facilities and events, no longer providing them for residents or staff.

“Knowing we have your support, the region is now working on a campaign to promote ways you can avoid single-use items,” the region said.

The full report is available through the region website.