Nov. 14, 2008, TORONTO – Toronto’s restaurant industry is applauding the Nov. 12 decision by the Public Works committee to delay a decision on banning paper coffee cups. The move opens the door to more reasonable solutions to reduce in-store packaging.
"Other communities are recycling the paper cups and plastic lids, and it’s time for Toronto to seriously consider that solution,” says Stephanie Jones, Ontario vice president of the Canadian Restaurant and Foodservices Association (CRFA).
“Restaurant companies are doing their part by contributing to funding of the Ontario Blue Box program, and many restaurant locations voluntarily offer discounts to customers who bring their own mugs."
While Wednesday night’s vote on the coffee cup ban was a positive step, a number of concerns remain, including a mandatory discount for customers who bring their own bags, and bans on plastic and compostable food packaging.
"Food packaging is designed to meet strict food safety standards,” Jones says. “It doesn’t make sense for the city of Toronto to encourage customers to bring their own food containers that might not be clean and could pose a health risk. Recycling is a more reasonable and responsible solution for dealing with take-out packaging."
The plan to force businesses to provide a 10-cent discount per plastic bag that a customer doesn’t use is another concern. It amounts to an indirect tax on business owners, whose cost for a plastic bag is typically far less than 10 cents.
“The restaurant industry in Ontario is currently operating on razor-thin profit margins that are the lowest in the country, averaging less than 3 per cent of sales. We can’t absorb these extra costs and will have no choice but to pass them along to our customers,” Jones says.
There are more than 8,000 restaurant operators in the city of Toronto, employing almost 85,000 people.
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