Largest City in Canada Bans Plastic Bags | Plastic Bag Ban Report
Toronto, CA June 10, 2012 (PBBR) - Toronto Mayor Rob Ford, since taking office, has wanted to eliminate Toronto's five cent fee on plastic bags. At last Wednesday's City Council meeting, Councilors rescinded the fee but then banned plastic bags.
After many hours of debating the merits of the Plastic Bag Fee program, a motion to ban plastic bags was made by Councilor David Shiner. The motion carried by a vote of 24-20. When the vote was announced, applause broke out by the Councilors.
Situated on Lake Ontario, Toronto is the largest city in Canada, the fifth most populous city in North America, and the provincial capital of Ontario.
Councilor David Shiner representing Ward 24-Willowdale, was one of the lead proponents of banning single-use plastic shopping bags. "Let's get on with really doing something. Let's get rid of the plastic bag", Shiner told the Council. Shiner is a member of the Mayor's Executive Committee which had already decided to support rescinding the plastic bag fee at the Executive Committee meeting on May 14.
"I want to make a motion that the City Council prohibit all City of Toronto retail stores from providing customers with single-use plastic carryout (shopping) bags, including those advertised as compostable, biodegradable, photodegradable or similar, effective January 1, 2013", proposed Shiner.
He went on to say, " Taxpayers spend $5 million per year for the plastic bags and then we spend $100,000 to collect them. It's become ridiculous. These bags are junk. Whether you call them biodegradable or not, they all wind up in the same place, blowing around the streets or in the landfill." Shiner was Chair of the City of Toronto's Budget Advisory Committee from 2000 to 2003.
Shiner and other Councilors referred to the fact that retailers were making extra money by charging the fee but are not returning any of the extra monies to the City's green program. The plastic bag fee was "voluntary" and the city received none of the fee. Retailers were supposed to "donate" portions of the fee to the city's Tree Canopy program.
"Let's make today a real statement. Let's tell the industry that we're not accepting your baloney anymore and we're not gonna let you make millions and millions of dollars because of what the (Toronto) City Council tried to do."
Copyright © 2012 Plastic Bag Ban Report. All Rights Reserved.
Cover photo: Toronto view from CN tower. Author: Agunther. License: CC BY 3.0