City delays reports on recycling coffee cups
Published Wednesday, March 11, 2009 1:03PM EDT
A city task force to deal with the nettlesome issue of how to best recycle empty takeout coffee cups won't meet its April deadline.
Instead, the report won't be delivered until June.
The city has spent about $50,000 so far on consultants, but Coun. Glenn De Baeremaeker, chair of the city's works committee, insisted it's money well spent.
"Yes, it will cost us $50,000 or so to come up with a solution that will hopefully save us millions and millions of dollars," he told CTV Toronto.
The debate about how best to handle the 350 million disposable coffee cups dispensed in Toronto each year began last fall.
City staff proposed that customers who bring in their own cups should get a 20-cent discount on hot beverages. They wanted a ban on paper cups with plastic lids because recyclers can't handle the lids without contaminating the paper stream.
Instead, they wanted completely recyclable coffee cup and lid combinations.
The food industry fought back.
Tim Hortons, which one 2007 study found accounts for about 65 per cent of the coffee cups found on Toronto streets, said the city should change its reycling system to accommodate the plastic lids.
It noted that one is dealing with very hot fluids, so there is a safety issue.
The industry has generally warned about health and safety issues associated with customers bringing in their own cups.
Business would also like to see the city explore a composting option. However, the city would bear the full cost of composting, whereas business must share the cost of recycling.
The initiative is part of a Toronto plan to see it divert 70 per cent of the city's solid waste by 2010.