Daily Archives: July 6, 2009

Toronto eyes recyclable coffee cups

City mulls plan to require coffee shops to provide a paper lid for disposable cups
By Kris Scheuer
Originally published Nov.13.08

The city’s shining a spotlight on the disposable coffee cup you’re holding and the estimated 365 million of them Torontonians throwaway each year.
City staff is grappling with how to divert that cup from landfill and who should pay to make the hot drink
cups and lids compatible with the existing blue bin.
A recent city hall report recommended a mandatory 20-cent discount for people who bring their own mug to a
coffee shop for their java fix. It also gave retailers such as Tim Hortons and Starbucks until the end of next year to ditch the plastic lid and develop a paper alternative to top their paper coffee cups
These proposals unleashed a heated nine-hour debate the Public Works and Infrastructure Committee on Nov. 12. After all that,
councillors voted to defer a decision until next April (since extended to fall/09).
So now what? Continue reading

Plastic bags costs a nickel in T.O

Grocery retailers start charging 5 cents a bag as of June 1
By Kris Scheuer
(Originally written Dec 2/08 for Town Crier.)

A key city council plan to reduce garbage is now in the bag.
The new policy, passed Dec. 2, requires retailers and grocers to charge a nickel for each
plasticbag they give out starting this summer.
Some retailers already sell alternatives to
plastic bags, including reusable cloth bags,plastic grocery bins with handles, and metal and cloth shopping carts.
Beacher Karen Buck says the new policy is a good start.
“It may not be a strong enough disincentive,” she said, adding she’d like to see retailers charge 20 cents per
plastic bag and offer a 10-cent rebate for every reusable bag used.
“For the past 18 years, I’ve been using reusable
bags,” Buck said Dec. 8. “I’ve been subsidizing the other people using plastic bags.”
Her tipping point came in 1990.
“I was still using plastic bags for my garbage but they’d accumulate quicker than I could use them,” she said.
Now Buck and her husband, who only throw out enough garbage to fill the city’s smallest garbage bin three times a year, toss waste loosely into the bin. Continue reading

No free TTC ride

Toronto councillors among those who get Metropass perk
Not so for women in shelters in need of affordable transit

By Kris Scheuer
Unlike local politicians who get free yearly Metropasses to get around town, Natoya, who lives in a women’s shelter in the Rosedale area, often has to walk to job interviews and the St. Lawrence Centre where she volunteers.
The shelter she stays at provides meals and snacks and a place to sleep and one TTC token per weekday, which the shelter fundraises to be able to afford to give to all 50 residents.
The 23-year-old is not on welfare but does get $3.75 a day from social services as a personal allowance, which she often has to use to buy a token ($2.50) to return to the shelter.
On a “slow day” Natoya uses the TTC five times per day to go to job interviews, job centres and get to the place she volunteers. “Every day I go out and do some job hunting,” she said. “So my allowance goes to bus fare. On weekends I volunteer but have no tokens (to get there).”
She has been accepted to a broadcast journalism program offered jointly by Seneca College and York University for this September, but at this point is not sure how she’ll get up to the Seneca campus at Keele St. and Steeles Ave.
She’s paid for half her tuition and has permission to pay off the rest throughout the year. She is looking for a job in her career, but will take any administrative job to help pay for school and books.
The TTC gives out almost 19,000 free Metropasses a year.
All sitting city councillors and the mayor are offered a free transit pass. The TTC also dishes out eleven lifetime passes to all TTC commissioners when they retire.
Not everyone uses the pass, but because the pass has a picture of the recipient on it it’s non-transferable.

Continue reading

Ted Reeve Arena open during strike

By Kris Scheuer
Ted Reeve Arena and eight other city arenas are not impacted by the labour disruption.
A New Yorker who is attending a pro wrestling event later this month at this arena, near Main and Gerrard, e-mailed me July 5 to inquire if the facility was still open.
While I missed it the first time I checked, the city’s website clearly states this arena plus George Bell, Larry Grossman Forest Hill Memorial Area, McCormick Playground Arena, Moss Park, North Toronto Memorial, William H. Bolton, Lakeshore Lions and Weston Lions are open.
Each of these facilities are run by a city-appointed management board. So they are not staffed by CUPE union locals 79 and 416, which went on strike June 22.
I also called Ted Reeve Arena and the manager confirmed they are indeed open and no one has cancelled events as of yet because of the city strike.
The city has set up 21 temporary dumps, two are now closed, including one outside the Ted Reeve site. But that doesn’t impact programming at this indoor arena.