City not ruling out fees for coffee cups, takeout containers
City staff are working on a strategy to help reduce the amount of waste in Toronto’s landfills and say they aren’t ruling out fees as an option.
Single-use takeaway containers, including hot beverage cups, are some of the city’s top “blue bin offenders.” Items with leftover food inside and hot beverage cups with plastic linings cannot be recycled and must be placed in the garbage.
According to the city, single-family homes in Toronto generate more than a thousand tonnes of paper cup waste a year.
Staff are holding public consultations in order to form a strategy to reduce the amount of garbage in Toronto’s landfills. One of the options the city hasn’t ruled out are fees, or a tax, on single-use takeaway plastics, although councillor Gord Perks called it a “second-best choice.” The best-case scenario, Perks said, is to force producers to make recyclable cups.
“You have to write in law that you have to design a product or package that is easy to recycle with the existing system,” Perks said.
Other councillors were concerned about how a fee for single-use takeaway plastics would impact the economy.
“I’m buying a cup of coffee in the morning; I’m going to get hit with another five cents? How many times is the consumer going to get hit?,” said councillor James Karygiannis.
“We want business to thrive and we don't want them to be the tax collectors,” James Pasternak said.
Earlier this month, the Ontario New Democratic Party said it would be proposing a bill to ban single-use throw away plastics. This announcement came as the Progressive Conservative government said it had opened discussions into a ban as well.
The city implemented a five cent plastic bag tax in 2009 and then rescinded it in 2012. The use of plastic bags went down by 53 per cent while the fee was in effect.
The city held the first public consultation on single-use plastics in October and will be conducting a second round of consultations later in the year, a city official said.
With files from CTV News Toronto's Natalie Johnson