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Sustainability is about meeting the needs of the present generation without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.

The Town of Whitby has made a commitment to sustainability. Together, with the Whitby Sustainability Advisory Committee, residents, businesses, and community groups, the Town is working toward becoming a more sustainable community.

This part of the Sustainability, Heritage, Downtowns and Community Development section of the Planning and Development Department is responsible for coordinating corporate and community sustainability initiatives. This includes the development of strategies, policies, plans, and programs surrounding sustainability, energy management, and climate change.

Learn more about the Town’s growing  efforts to build sustainable practices into its everyday operations. View the Town’s first Sustainability and Energy Progress Report.

Single-Use Plastics 

In response to the Council Motion Resolution # 273-19 during the Council Meeting on September 23, 2019, Town staff will be developing a plan for Council’s consideration for the phase-out and eventual ban on single-use plastics in Whitby.

The scope of this project will focus on three main areas:

  • Corporate behaviours
  • General public & household
  • Local businesses & the economy

What are single-use plastics?

A single-use plastic is any product made of plastic designed for a one time use after which is it disposed of, whether into garbage or a recycling program stream, as solid waste.

Why are single-use plastics an environmental concern?

Studies are showing that due to the large amounts of single-use-plastics that we consume, they are now commonly found environment even on a micro-scale. As a result they post a threat to wildlife, water quality and human health.


Single-use plastic items are a major source of litter in our community. According to the Great Canadian Shoreline 2018 Report – 8 of the 12 most commonly items collected by litter volunteers across the country are a form of single-use plastic.

Waste Disposal

Single-use-plastics also place stress on our waste collection and disposal services. Most single-use plastic items cannot be recycled and end up in incinerators or landfills. Products that can be recycled often get “Down-Cycled into a product that cannot be recycled again.

The Town of Whitby is working towards zero waste future, which prioritizes reduction and reuse. The Council endorsed Durham Community Energy Plan includes targets to reduce waste and the associated greenhouse gas emissions.

Get Involved

You can also help reduce the consumption of single-use-plastics in your community by:

  • Not purchasing products that are packaged in single-use plastic
  • Avoid using single-use plastic items that are given to you in stores and restaurants
  • Using reusable alternatives like cloth bags and mugs
  • Participate in a community cleanup or consider adopting a public space
  • Spread the word

Sustainability Advisory Committee

The Whitby Sustainability Advisory Committee (WSAC) is an Advisory Committee of Council that works to promote sustainability, support environmental management, and respond to climate change. 

What's New

Energy Conservation & Demand Management Planning

The Town of Whitby is committed to reducing its energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions to support a healthy and sustainable community.  Greenhouse gases are gases in our atmosphere that keep the earth's temperature warm enough to sustain life.  When sunlight enters the earth's atmosphere, some is reflected back towards space and some is absorbed by the earth.  Greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide can absorb the radiation from the sun and trap the heat in the atmosphere, creating a "greenhouse effect".

In compliance with the Green Energy Act (Ontario Regulation 397/11), the Town of Whitby is committed to reporting annual energy use and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions for its facilities.  The Energy Consumption & Greenhouse Gas Emissions Report for 2011 is the first annual report to be posted.

The Town of Whitby has developed a five year Energy Conservation and Demand Management Plan that provides proposed measures for reducing energy consumption and demand in Town Facilities.  The Green Energy Act requires this plan to be completed and available for viewing by July, 2014.

The Corporate Energy Management Plan is now available. The five year plan identifies a vision, goals, objectives and targets for energy reduction, including a number of technical actions to be implemented in the Town's facilities.

Whitby Featured for its Environmental and Sustainability Initiatives

Whitby was recently featured in Business Review North America and Energy Digital magazine for its environmental and sustainability initiatives.  The article provided an in-depth profile of the Town's green initiatives and sustainability practices, focusing on some of our most recent projects and successes in the development of a healthy and sustainable community.

Download the 'Whitby Collaboration and Education are Key to Sustainable Success' Article 
Sustainable Development Guidelines

In late 2018, Whitby launched an initiative to develop Sustainable Development Guidelines, which are intended to help incentivize sustainable development for site plan and subdivision applications on private property.  Once implemented, minimum and voluntary tiered standards will be outlined to support the development approval process.  It is anticipated that the standards will be completed in late 2019.

Please continue to check here for the progress of this initiative.

Click here to see the timeline of the project.

Click here for Project Update #1


Stakeholder Engagement Session #1 – November 20, 2018

A short presentation (Engagement Session #1 Presentation) was made to a stakeholder group including representatives from the building and development industry, planners, utilities and local conservation authority.

The presentation was followed by a peer to peer discussion to gather input to the following three questions:

  • What sustainable development practices are you already incorporating into your projects in Whitby?

  • What are the biggest opportunities related to sustainable development in Whitby?

  • What are the biggest obstacles to sustainable development in Whitby?

The feedback from this session will be gathered as input into a Background Report and will be available in early 2019.