Plastic bag fee unfair to consumers

After Toronto 5 cent plastic bag fee was rescinded by that council July 1, Silvio Panza expected to stop paying the across the board.

But that has turned out not to be the case.

don know why I was paying it in the first place, the 45 year old Woodbridge resident said. does a decision made in Toronto affect my life? I was paying the tax in some places and still replica watches uk am. Mr. Panza, the gripe is not about the nickel he asked to spend on the bags, or is it about companies charging for the bags.

Instead, it about the policy not to share the garnered profits from the bag fee with the consumers who are spending the money.

He said since the levy was removed two weeks ago he has stopped paying for bags at Dollarama, but is still paying at Fortinos and No Frills.

a huge cash cow for them, he added. is starting to look more and more like it about these huge corporations getting more money from customers. If I am paying for more greenspace for kids or planting trees, I be fine with it (the fee). Unfortunately, we don know where it all goes, it just not transparent. of posting the amount for all shoppers to see, companies, including Loblaws, which has instituted replica watches uk the tax across the country in a bid to reduce waste, has remained secretive about the amount of money it collects.

After being contacted by The Citizen about the bag fees and what happens with the money, the company released an e mailed statement yesterday saying that its shopping bag policy has been based on respect for the environment, not a consequence of a municipal bylaw

It said the policy has been a huge success, reducing the number of plastic bags by 3.8 billion or 71 per cent nationally.

As part of the program, it has also donated $4 million over four years to various environmental initiatives.

who choose to pay for plastic shopping bags can do so knowing that partial proceeds from our charge for plastic shopping bag program support World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Canada initiatives, including the replica watches uk Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup, National Sweater Day and Green CommUnity School Grants. Panza said he understands why No Frills charges for bags, consideri replica watches uk ng it has been doing so since 1987 as part of its corporate branding.

But he added he was unhappy with Fortinos and Canadian Superstore policies.

feel as though they should just abolish the plastic bag and go back to paper or list how much they are earning, said the father of three. good to know that they are contributing something, but now the focus should shift to keeping the customer informed. none of the supermarkets have released information in regards to how much has been generated from the fee, a Toronto City Council report estimated that after costs, the net annual revenue across the city, assuming all bags are paid for by the consumer, is $5.4 million.

plastic bag fee mulled

Council member Tommy Wells.

Mr. Wells, Ward 6 Democrat, was joined along the river in announcing the replica watches uk plan by other council members and representatives from Maryland and environmental groups. He said the fee would be charged at grocery stores, convenience stores and food vendors, among other places.

From a boat ramp near piles of washed up plastic bottles, chip bags and a spare tire, Mr. Wells said the legislation would help cut down on the amount of trash removed from the river each year, which he said was about 477 tons.

Council member Kwame R. Brown, at large Democrat, said approving the legislation would be a step forward. you look and drive past, you see the trash; if you come down here with your kids, you see the trash, Mr. Brown said of the river, which runs through the District and Maryland. attacking the plastic bag issue, we going to make an effort to lift up the commu replica watches uk nity. bill, called the Anacostia River Cleanup and Protection Act of 2009, aims to raise money for cleaning and restoring the river, and curbing the use of shopping bags. Department of the Environment, the bags contribute to 85 percent of the waste in the Anacostia. The report stated a bag fee could l replica watches uk ead to a 68 percent decrease in the trash.

Under the le replica watches uk gislation, 1 to 2 cents of the fee would go to the businesses, the rest toward a river cleanup and protection fund and providing reusable bags to elderly and low income people.

Maryland Delegate Alfred C. Carr Jr., Montgomery County Democrat, said the state will introduce similar legislation, called the Chesapeake Bay Consumer Choice Act of 2009. He said such measures are necessary to this problem as a region. cities already have taken similar steps to curb or end plastic and paper bag use. Last year, San Francisco banned plastic bags from supermarkets and chain drug stores. Seattle lawmakers have proposed a 20 cent bag fee and the issue could go before voters in August.

Home furnishings retailer Ikea stopped offering plastic and paper shopping bags in October 2008. However, such a measure failed two years ago in Annapolis.

Plastic bag fee earns its keep

Mayor Rob Ford is unfortunately signalling an intention to trash Toronto’s five cent “tax” on plastic bags by the end of this year, even as the mandatory fee’s second anniversary approaches on Wednesday. That’s short sighted. Tossing out this measure would hurt both the environment and the city.

Like much of Ford’s agenda, his opposition to the mandatory fee seems based more on small government sentiment and raw populist emotion than any sound policy a replica watches uk nalysis. If the fee were judged strictly on its merits, its preservation would be, well, in the bag.

Contrary to terminology favoured by the fee’s opponents, this is not a tax. None of the money raised through the nickel charge goes into the city’s coffers. Moreover the fee is easily avoided. There are plenty of alternatives to receiving a new plastic bag whenever making a purchase, including deploying a reusable bag, a basket, a box or a grocery bin. With a little foresight there’s scarcely any need to pay this fee at all.

There’s evidence that a great many Torontonians are adopting that sensible approach. At the end of last year, an umbrella group of grocery distributors estimated that the number of bags issued at its Toronto stores had dropped by 70 per cent. That impact was underlined by Sobeys Ontario spokesperson Tracy Chisholm on Friday. She said the supermarket chain cut bag usage by 72 per cent province wide after it implemented a fee. Loblaws, too, reports a 73 per cent drop nationwide.

In short far from being a “feel good failure” the fees do exactly what they’re supposed to do: dramatically cut usage.

That success is precisely what Ford risks throwing away by ending the mandatory policy. Yes, individual retailers would still be free to impose their own fee to deter use, but the city wide commitment would suffer. And that matters. Two years ago, before the replica watches uk fee was put in place, Torontonians used some 460 million plastic bags each year. Almost all of them ended up in landfill or blowing around as litter.

Since then, Toronto has accepted plastic bags for recycling, so the landfill burden wouldn’t be as great. But the greenest way to deal with bags, by far, is to avoid taking them home in the first place. Furthermore, litter would no doubt increase in parks and streets if people were to fall back into the habit of collecting, and discarding, free bags.

At present, retailers can use the money they collect any way they wish. Responsible merchants, like Sobeys, plow it ba replica watches uk ck into green causes. The chain has established a community environment fund that has provided 50 organizations across Ontario with more than $800,000 since 2009, and Sobeys is to announce additional grants shortly. It’s not alone. Other big grocery chains help fund non profit environmental causes.

So, in summary, here’s what Ford will achieve by killing the bag fee: he’ll increase litter, replica watches uk boost the needless manufacture of environmentally unfriendly bags, and potentially hurt charitable causes.