CPIA Threatens Legal Action to Stop Toronto’s Bag Ban
Posted by Ted Duboise
Canadian Plastics Industry Association
Toronto, CA, October 3, 2012 (PBBR) - The Canadian Plastics Industry Association (CPIA), through its legal counsel, has threatened to take legal action if Toronto implements its plastic bag ban passed in June of this year.
In a letter sent to Toronto's City Solictor, Anna Kinastowski, legal counsel stated, "If the proposed ban on single-use plastic bags is not rescinded, we shall seek instructions from CPIA to take whatever actions are necessary to protect their interest."
Plastics Industry: Overturn Ban
The CPIA, along with the plastics industry, is calling on the City of Toronto to overturn the plastic bag ban.
“Reversing the ban on plastic shopping bags in the City of Toronto is the responsible decision for City Council to make from a social, economic and environmental perspective” says Marion Axmith, Director General of CPIA.
“This is a complex issue. All bags, whether used as carry bags or to manage household waste, have environmental impacts. Toronto’s decision to ban plastic shopping bags was made based on misconceptions about bags and the environment and without analysis of the facts and the consequences of a ban.”
The industry believes that all decisions about the environment must be based on science and fact and consider the intended and unintended consequences of that decision. The facts in Toronto do not support implementation of a bag ban:
• 58% of residents have switched to reusables.
• Plastic bag usage has declined 53% over the past three years.
• 44% of the bags are reused to recycle green bin organics (33% of landfill).
• 36% of the bags are used for household waste.
• 15% of plastic shopping bags are recycled in the blue bin.
• Plastic bags are 0.13% of litter and 0.6% of Toronto’s waste stream.
Further, the City of Toronto has a world class recycling system that properly manages plastic bags, which makes a ban unnecessary.
“Based on the evidence, a ban is unnecessary and will have negative consequences that will not reduce the City’s waste costs, extend the life of the landfill, or reduce litter, but it will make life more difficult for Torontonians and cost them more,” adds Axmith.
“Bags are not just a convenience, but a necessity for residents to manage organic, pet and household waste and for everyday impulse purchases which is why the reuse rate on bags in Toronto is close to 80%.”
According to the industry, the ban will not eliminate plastic bags from the city’s waste system because residents will now have to purchase bin liners for their household waste, which are likely to contain considerably more plastic than conventional shopping bags and will cost them anywhere from 10 to 20 cents a bag.
“The ban will cause needless economic hardship for small, local retailers like convenience stores and over 10,000 Ontarians employed in plastic bag manufacture,” added Axmith. “These are Canadian-owned, small, family-run companies with five thousand jobs in the Toronto area that will be affected.” There are 2,500 convenience stores in Toronto.
The Canadian Plastics Industry Association is the national voice of Canada’s plastics industry, representing the interests of processors, material suppliers, equipment manufacturers, recyclers, and brand owners across the country.
Plastic Bag Ban Unlawful
The CPIA stated that they were ready to assist the City in the development of environmental solutions to concerns that Council may have related to plastic bags.
In the letter, CPIA's legal counsel stated, "We have reviewed the decision of the Council to enact the resolution and we have reviewed the background reports, transcripts of the minutes of the meetings, as well as applicable law.
It is our opinion that the ban on single-use plastic bags contained in the resolution of Council dated June 6, 2012, is unlawful and, if challenged, would be quashed via an Application pursuant to section 214 of The City of Toronto Act, 2006."
To try to counter the negative view of plastic bags, the CPIA launched a website, AllAboutBags.ca. According to CPIA, the “All About Bags” website is a resource tool designed to provide information on plastic shopping bags that will help Council to make an informed decision to reject the plastic bag ban.
AllAboutBags.ca reports on the status of plastic bag management around the world. It includes research, trends, studies and life-cycle assessments on all types of shopping bags. Research confirms the failure of total bans to protect the environment and shows that such bans can cause economic and social harm.
CTV Toronto reported on Sept. 26 that convenience stores are also considering legal action to stop the ban. Heading up the legal action would be the Ontario Convenience Store Association.
As of this writing, the Toronto City Council, at its regular meetings on Oct. 3 & 4, decided to not reconsider the ban.