The City of Toronto is targeting some of its biggest garbage offenders – coffee cups, takeout food containers and plastic bags – in a study that could lead to sweeping changes in the way residents handle their refuse.
As part of Toronto's plan to be diverting 70 per cent of its garbage from landfill by 2010, the city is examining ways to limit items that have a bad reputation for filling up landfills.
Proposals being considered for beverage cups, takeout food containers and plastic bags include:
- An outright ban
- A levy or tax on the items. (Charging extra would presumably influence consumers to use recyclable cups or containers.)
- A deposit-return program similar to the provincial bottle return program, whereby consumers get at least a portion of their money back if they turn in the container, making the seller responsible for recycling it.
- A proposal pushed by Councillor Howard Moscoe targets cardboard and plastic store packaging, most of which ends up in the garbage stream. Stores in Toronto should be required to provide space where customers can take their purchases out of the packaging and leave the garbage behind, Moscoe says. This would put pressure on the manufacturers – over whom Toronto has no control – to reduce the amount of packaging on their products.