Voluntary action isn’t enough. We need rules and regulations to restrict, regulate and eliminate unrecyclable and polluting single-use plastics.
The City of Toronto just launched a public consultation on single-use plastics and packaging. They need to hear loud and clear that Toronto residents support action on single-use plastics and want to see bold action that protects our environment and our health.
Take action and share your opinion before the consultation closes on October 28th.
The feedback collected during this consultation process will shape the strategy on single-use products and packaging. We aren’t the only ones being consulted - plastics industry lobbyists will be making their voices heard, too.
We encourage you to share your opinions and experiences and strongly encourage you to say yes to using regulations to reduce and eliminate single-use plastics. At the end of the survey, you’ll have a chance to add additional comments.
See our tips below for completing the survey and how to make your survey have the biggest impact.
TEA’s Tips for Taking the City’s Single-Use & Take Away Items Survey
More about the survey:
- Until October 28, the City is seeking input from the public to identify which single-use plastics to focus on for reduction and whether we need to use City-wide regulations -- ‘mandatory’ approaches -- to reduce the use of disposable containers.
- This is the first phase of consultation. The next phase will be more about options for specific tools and regulations.
What kinds of regulations the City can set:
- The City has limited powers, but it can set by-laws and regulations on what retailers and restaurants give out -- so the focus of this consultation is on take-out food containers and bags. Take out food containers actually cause a lot of contamination to public waste and recycling bins, and form a big part of litter, so it’s an important type of waste to tackle.
Below is a screenshot of some of the questions about personal use of single-use packaging
- Single-use or disposable items are designed to be used once (even if someone keeps them to reuse a few times), they are not durable, and are meant to be dumped, recycled or composted after one use.
- The survey asks about coffee cups, cold drink cups (for pop), paper and plastic shopping bags, take out food plastic containers (black, clear or white), cutlery, straws and styrofoam.
- If there are other single-use containers that you want the City to address, list them in “Other” sections (questions 2, 5 and 6)
- For example, “compostable” take out cups and food containers are not actually compostable in Toronto’s Green Bin, so they must go to landfill.
The survey asks whether you support ‘mandatory’ or voluntary approaches to reducing the use of these single-use items.
Below is a screenshot of the questions about regulatory versus voluntary approaches:
"Mandatory" or "voluntary" approaches
- Mandatory approaches mean using regulations and by-laws. This includes things like banning the use of unrecyclable materials or requiring that retailers offer reusable options, or charge a fee on disposables to discourage them.
- If we really want to get serious about single-use products, we need rules, by-laws and other ‘mandatory approaches’. Our current system is already based on using ‘voluntary’ approaches, and it’s clearly not working!
- Some single-use products are important for accessibility reasons, and regulations need to carefully consider this. You will have the option to share your experience and opinion on single-use products and access in the survey and in the comments section.
One of the other ways you can help make an impact is to get others to complete the survey and encourage them to be honest about their use of single-use plastics. The City consultation needs to hear from people from all parts of Toronto, including those who regularly use single-use plastics now, and those who would find it easier to reduce waste if the City takes action.
As Toronto’s environmental watchdog, we advocate for rules, regulations and policy changes that hold producers accountable for their wasteful and polluting design choices and that get us on the path to a zero waste city with a vibrant circular economy.
Stay up-to-date with our work and opportunities to take action: torontoenvironment.org/subscribe