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article imageOp-Ed: Toronto bag fee banned, and so are plastic bags forever

By Daniel Boyington     Jun 12, 2012 in Environment
Toronto - Many were not expecting this, yes they wanted to stop the five cent charge for plastic bags, but not ban them forever. But the city decided otherwise, and maybe they didn't know what impact it would have on the public.
It's not the 5¢ fee that annoys everyone, it's where the fee is going. Since the introduction in 2009 there were no stipulations from the city as to where the money must go. Many large corporations have donated these fees to environmental causes, but most just pocketed the money.
The official ban of all plastic bags does not take effect until 2013, but the bag fee will be cancelled starting next month.
Now what does the public use plastic bags for? Garbage, dog droppings, and many other things, so what are people to do without plastic bags? The obvious answer is to bring your own cloth reusable bag. Right, but what if you don't have one. The city hasn't addressed that problem yet and probably won't.
Some reputable stores are donating the fee  others are just pocketing it.
Some reputable stores are donating the fee, others are just pocketing it.
The silver lining of all this, maybe they made the right decision, and don't even know they did. I'm old enough to remember before plastic bags, there was a thing called 'paper or plastic' and that eventually disappeared and we were forced to use plastic only. It was more of an option in the USA and still is to this day, but are they going to now force us to buy a cloth re-cycled bag and further the stores' profits.
The fall back should be, offer paper bags which should have been done when the 5¢ fee came into effect, but no, most places did not. Will this be the start of paper bags coming back, we sure hope so. Whole Foods stores did the right thing when the 5¢ fee came into effect, and didn't charge for the paper bags, but will that be the trend now.
If we are so interested in the environment why do we still not have a deposit on cans and bottles, like they do in almost every American city. If you've been to USA grocery stores you may have seen all the lineups of people returning cans and bottles.
Rob Ford  Toronto s mayor
Rob Ford, Toronto's mayor
The Ontario Government made a big step in 2006 when they introduced a deposit on beer and liquor bottles, which has made an enormous dent on the landfill. Can that not be done with pop cans and bottles?
Mayor Ford was trying to do something that annoyed the folks, but it backfired and he was upset. But Mayor Ford does not make the decisions for the city, the council does, and maybe they did make the right decision. Only time will tell. We are not the first in North America and yet some USA cities have started charging 10 cents for paper bags, try that here and we'll be shopping somewhere else.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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