Toronto ousts plastic bags, bottled water

Yesterday, Toronto city council overwhelmingly approved two measures aimed at helping the city reach its goal of diverting 70 per cent of its waste from landfills by the end of 2010.

According to today’s Canada Globe and Mail, the council voted for an immediate ban on the sale of bottled water at city hall. The ban will extend to other city facilities over the next two years.

The city also is requiring retailers to charge five cents per plastic bag starting June 1, 2009.  By June 1, 2010, all plastic bags that are incompatible with Toronto’s recycling program — including those with metal grommets, rope handles, and those that are biodegradable or compostable — will be banned.

By February, 2011, plastic take-out food containers that cannot be recycled by the city — such as those made of clear hard plastic — will be banned.

Fast-food industry and city officials are being asked to report by April on options to recycle coffee cups and lids.
According to Canada’s Polaris Institute, which has a campaign against bottled water, bans are spreading throughout the country. So far:

-16 municipalities from 5 provinces have banned the bottle.
-45 municipalities are planning restrictions on bottled water.
-Canada’s Parliament is currently considering a ban on bottled water at the Parliament Buildings.