In another chapter of the long war over who pays for waste, Toronto is tired of spending so much on single use packaging. Packaging costs the city huge sums for collection, sorting and recycling, and eats up vast amounts of precious landfill space. To the outrage of some manufacturers and retailers, Toronto is now asking: Why is this paid for by taxpayers, instead of by the companies that create the waste?
On Nov 12, Toronto’s public works committee voted to ban single use bottled water from city facilities and to require retailers to give customers a 10-cent discount for every plastic bag they don’t use. (How many bags did you not use today?) Retailers will also be required to design a reusable takeout food container in the next few years.
After an energetic lobbying campaign, the committee decided that the City isn’t ready to ban single-use coffee cups (which, when discarded attached to their plastic lids, cannot be sorted by Toronto’s recycling department) — instead, it will consult with companies like Starbucks and Tim Hortons over the next few months. Toronto would need a $3 million machine to take the plastic lids off discarded paper cups. Or, people would actually have to go to the effort of taking the tops off their cups before throwing them away.