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Toronto on Waste

In a time where there are still places in the United States where people literally throw away cases of empty beer bottles because there are no recycling programs or bottle-deposit programs in place, I’m proud to see my city being progressive about reducing waste.

The City of Toronto is pushing Coffee Shops to encourage customers to use reusable coffee mugs in order to reduce the number of coffee cups being thrown in the trash (Approximately 1 million cups a day in this city).

The recommended plan is to force the stores to refund customers who bring their own mugs in the sum of 20 cents for each coffee purchased. The coffee shops are fighting back for fear that the 20 cents will eat into their profit, as a coffee cup only costs them but 10 cents. The city has given the coffee shops until April to look for alternative options to address this issue before the 20 cent refund is imposed. The hope is that they will be able to find a way to recycle the coffee cups being sold or use a type of coffee cup that is recyclable.

Another measure the city is moving forward with is to force grocery stores to refund customers 10 cents per bag for customers who bring their own bags. The City of Toronto committee also recommended to move forward on a ban on plastic water bottles at city facilities.

There is an environmental and economic benefit to diverting our garbage. From an economic perspective, we’re currently sending our trash 400 kilometers to a Michigan landfill, which isn’t exactly cheap. The environmental benefit is obvious.

I’ve always pushed for individuals to take responsibility for their impact on the environment, but the government has its role as well in making it a better place for its citizens to live, work and play. It’s motivating for me on a personal level when I know that there are people in the government who have the same goals as I do. It’s in everyone’s best interests on multiple levels to reduce our waste, reduce our footprint, and enjoy the earth as it was intended to be enjoyed.