Bakers Journal

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Trouble brewing in T.O.


November 18, 2008
By Brian Hartz

Nov. 18, 2008 – Despite the Toronto Public Works committee delaying its decision on
banning takeaway coffee cups from shops such as Tim Hortons, Second
Cup, Coffee Time, Starbucks and thousands of others, the possibility of
an outright ban by Dec. 31, 2009, remains alive as the city focuses on
finding ways to divert 70 per cent of its waste from landfills (it
currently diverts 43 per cent). Related proposals include giving
customers who use their own coffee cups a 20-cent discount, and
requiring stores that provide plastic bags to give customers who bring
their own bags 10 cents off for every bag saved.

Let us know what you think about the trouble
brewing in T.O. If you aren’t in Toronto, do you think your city should
be having this debate? How would it affect you? What would be a better
solution?

Nov. 18, 2008 – Despite the Toronto Public Works committee delaying its decision on banning takeaway coffee cups from shops such as Tim Hortons, Second Cup, Coffee Time, Starbucks and thousands of others, the possibility of an outright ban by Dec. 31, 2009, remains alive as the city focuses on finding ways to divert 70 per cent of its waste from landfills (it currently diverts 43 per cent). Related proposals include giving customers who use their own coffee cups a 20-cent discount, and requiring stores that provide plastic bags to give customers who bring their own bags 10 cents off for every bag saved.

Representatives for the restaurant and foodservice industry are lobbying hard against these proposals – and rightly so. Punishing businesses with excessive taxes – and that’s what these proposals would amount to, when you consider the cost to retailers of takeaway cups, food containers and plastic shopping bags – in the current economic climate is simply a bad idea. I consider myself pro-environment, and I think fancy coffee-shop coffee is usually a waste of money, so although unaffected by this controversy I can plainly see the folly in such a shortsighted move to curtail waste. Why not, as some people have suggested, provide incentives that encourage retailers to provide on-site recycling of their containers and packaging that aren’t fit for the city’s recycling bins? With some sort of coffee shop, bakery, deli or restaurant on virtually any given city block in Toronto, you wouldn’t have to carry that Tim Hortons cup very long after finishing off your morning caffeine jolt.

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Let us know what you think about the trouble brewing in T.O. If you aren’t in Toronto, do you think your city should be having this debate? How would it affect you? What would be a better solution?


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