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Sudden plastic bag ban 'reckless' and 'irresponsible' - Toronto Sun

June 7, 2012
Maryam Shah
Toronto Sun

TORONTO - Some retail associations feel slighted that City Hall did not consult them before banning single-use plastic bags in a 27-17 vote Wednesday.

President of the Canadian Federation of Independent Grocers, John Scott, hopes council will revisit the decision.

“I just find this so unbelievably reckless what they’ve done, so unbelievably irresponsible,” he said. He worries that the cost of alternative ways of carrying purchases, such as paper bags and reusable bags, will eventually fall on consumers.

“If you have to move to paper, obviously paper’s more expensive than plastic,” he said. “Obviously there’s a cost implication there. Who bears that at the end of the day, I’m not sure.”

Representing over 4,000 grocery retailers across Canada, the association points out that retailers have reduced plastic bag usage by 59% over the past three years. Signed in 2007, the original agreement with the government set a goal of 50% over five years.

“We can go a long way in achieving what city council wants to achieve,” he said. “We don’t have to resort to Machiavellian things like this.”

Scott has sent a letter to the mayor, expressing the association’s concerns.

Lawyer John Mascarin from Aird and Berlis says it’s possible to challenge the ban in court.

“The bylaw can still be challenged just like every other bylaw,” he said.

Atlantic Packaging Products chairman Irvin Granovsky does not use plastic bags at the grocery store. Instead, he uses a corrugated box. His plants manufacture both plastic and paper bags, but the ban on plastic bags, effective January 2013, doesn’t scare him.

“I’m too old to worry,” he said. “I go with the flow.”

He also doesn’t believe any jobs will be lost because as long as the ban is not flat out against all plastic, poly products will still be in demand.

His main concern is that plastic bags from grocery stores are widely used for disposing of wet garbage and lining smaller trash cans.

“Plastic bags were invented and millions sold for a reason and it’s a good reason,” he said.

On the other hand, the Toronto Environmental Alliance was pleasantly taken aback by the sudden move by the city to ban plastic bags.

“We’re surprised by this but we’re excited about council taking some steps forward for the environment,” campaigner Emily Alfred said.

The council also voted on removing the nickel fee for plastic bags, effective July 1.

When asked about the ban, vice-president of Loblaw’s public relations Julija Hunter wrote in an email that the company respects the council’s decision.

“Our goal is to reduce the number of plastic shopping bags in use, not collect nickels,” she wrote.

As originally published here: http://www.torontosun.com/2012/06/07/sudden-plastic-bag-ban-reckless-and-irresponsible-independent-grocers

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