The City of Toronto is hosting round 2 of a public consultation on how to reduce and eliminate single-use plastics and takeaway items. See TEA’s tips on how the City’s suggested rules are a good start, but need to go further to not only restrict disposables, but move businesses towards reusables.
Based on feedback from the first round of consultation last year (that saw record-breaking participation), the City has proposed regulations to reduce 5 single-use items. Specifically, the City is looking at a ‘by-request’ or ‘ask-first’ rule for utensils and straws, a fee on bags and single-use cups, and a ban on all styrofoam containers.
While the suggested regulations are a good start, the City of Toronto needs to go further. The City needs to make sure businesses don’t just replace one disposable with another, and we need laws to make sure businesses provide reusable alternatives.
HERE’S HOW YOU CAN PUSH FOR ZERO WASTE DURING THIS CONSULTATION:
1. Take the City of Toronto’s online survey by November 4th. Take the survey here.
- The survey takes about 10 minutes and asks your opinions on the proposed regulations.
- The proposed regulations are effective tools: ‘by-request’ laws stop businesses from giving out unwanted and unnecessary disposables. Fees are effective at shifting people and businesses away from disposables.
- While the survey doesn’t ask if you think businesses should have to provide reusable foodware, you can say that for each item in the ‘Comments’ sections on each page. For example, if you want a fee on disposable cups, you can say you also want businesses to offer a free reusable cup for drinks ‘to-stay’. (Take a look at the image below for an example.)
- Bans are necessary for the most harmful materials. Bans on styrofoam are increasing all over the world because it is a low-value and difficult to recycle material that is frequently littered. It is also toxic in all stages of its lifecycle.
- The survey doesn’t ask about banning unrecyclable black plastic or falsely-labelled ‘compostable’ containers, but in the question about banning styrofoam, you can use the ‘comments’ section to say you also want those materials banned.
2. Participate in a City of Toronto telephone/web town hall on October 10th or 24th to hear more about the regulations, ask questions, and share your views publicly. Learn more here.
3. Sign up for emails from TEA here to stay up-to-date.
During the consultation, TEA will be pushing for a bold, comprehensive approach to reducing and eliminating single-use and takeaway items. We want:
- A strategy that is about phasing out single-use foodware entirely - no matter what it's made of. That must include laws that require reusables, and programs to support the transition to reusable foodware. A strategy must be more than a few regulations to reduce a handful of items.
- Ongoing monitoring to ensure that the strategy is working. This also needs a plan to step up the regulations to reduce further.
- No further delays, especially on the items that cause the most harm and have ready substitutes. For example, styrofoam is harmful to the environment in all stages of its life and other options are available.
Read our blog “6 Actions Toronto Can Take to Reduce Single-Use Plastics” and get inspired!