Tag Archives: plastic

Five cent bag tax resulting in reduced use

Councillor Walker wants proof five cent plastic bag fee reduces use
Grocery chains interim results indicates it has, for me it’s meant no new bags
By Kris Scheuer
(Originally written Oct. 4 for Town Crier.)

Most Torontonians want to do right by the environment.
The city has a policy aimed at getting us to reduce our use of plastic sopping bags and produce less garbage. And if we don’t follow along, it will cost us more money.
This five-cent plastic bag fee that kicked in June 1.
The city’s aim in this recent bylaw is to reduce the number of plastic bags that end up in littering the streets or sent to landfill.
Midtown councillor Michael Walker is asking how many fewer bags are being used as a result of the nickel charge.
The city manager responded Sept. 30 to Walker’s inquiry. The short answer is we don’t know yet.
The General Manager Geoff Rathbone will be reporting back to the city after May 31 when the policy is a year old. At that time industry will report back to the city on how many fewer plastic bags customers are using.
So far, Metro (which bought Dominion) grocery stores have reported that by June 29 there was already a 70 percent reduction in plastic bags compared to the monthly average.
Supermarket giant Loblaw introduced the bag charge earlier back in January and also reported a 75 percent reduction in plastic bags now that customers were charged.
We shall see if this reduction in plastic bag use was just initial reaction to the nickel charge and if consumers will embrace alternatives such as reusable bags or carts.
According to 2005 audit data by Stewardship Ontario, collectively in Toronto we use 457 million retail plastic shopping bags annually.
That’s 8.8 plastic retail shopping bags, per family weekly. Continue reading


Stop littering Toronto’s streets

An argument against trashing the city
By Kris Scheuer

Want to make the planet a greener, cleaner place?
It’s easy.
We need to stop littering. Litter doesn’t just look bad, it’s costing city taxpayers millions a year to clean up and it’s an environmental hazard.
On Jan. 31, I was reminded about this problem twice. On my parents’ downtown Toronto street I saw a hand drawn poster on a pole with a picture of the planet.
In a child’s writing it said, “Save the World. You can start by not littering”.
Earlier that day, on the CBC radio show GO, David Suzuki and three grade 12 students from University of Toronto Schools spent the morning tackling some of the earth’s biggest eco challenges. The largest one they tried to solve was how to clean up the centre of the Pacific Ocean’s plastic garbage patch, a mess the show said was at least twice the size of the state of Texas.
Some floating plastic is broken into smaller pieces and mistaken for food by wildlife who can die by eating too much of this indigestible litter. The students on the show suggested setting up ahuge floating recycling station to clean up the litter and then setting up stiffer penalties for polluting. Continue reading