Grabbing a cup of joe from your favourite coffee shop could cost you extra in the near future. That’s because the City of Toronto is contemplating whether or not to impose extra fees on single-use takeaway containers, which includes hot beverage cups.
City officials are considering the new charge as a way to reduce the amount of waste going into landfills. Targeting hot beverage cups could be an effective measure as single-family homes in Toronto produce more than 1,000 tons of paper cup waste each year, according to the city.
Despite the fact that hot beverage cups lined with plastic can’t be recycled, plenty of Torontonians continue to dump the item in the blue bin. This, along with plastic takeaway containers with food left inside, is one of the biggest “blue bin offenders,” CTV reports.
To solve this issue, the city hopes to create laws that will force manufacturers to make recyclable cups and containers. However, their “second-best choice” is to impose the extra tax, Councillor Gord Perks said.
But not all city officials are on board with the idea. Councillor James Karygiannis is concerned about the impact this will have on consumers.
“I’m buying a cup of coffee in the morning; I’m going to get hit with another five cents? How many times is the consumer going to get hit?” Karygiannis said.
On Twitter, there’s mixed reactions from the public. While some are all for making the city more eco-friendly…
I would be happy if Toronto also banned black plastic used in (for example) President’s Choice frozen food, it’s not necessary. Plenty of frozen meals are sold in cardboard containers that don’t need to be black.
— PatriciaNolan (@PatriciaKnits) March 19, 2019
I’m waiting for them to eliminate single serve bottles of water. Bottled water is stupid.
— BeyondOldfasioned-NotAfraidofHard🇨🇦Hats (@Karen22912) March 19, 2019
Others say they’re “taxed enough” and question how much good the extra charge would really do for the environment.
What a well thought out plan! Best way to save the planet is for nobody to work so lets tax every business and the few luxuries people enjoy! FO ignorant tree huggers I’m taxed enough!
— Jim Bob (@JimBob87966760) March 19, 2019
Do they really think a coffee cup tax is going to keep cups out of landfills?? People also thought that having to pay for plastic bags would reduce plastic use….and although it did for a while, it wasn’t enough to make a lasting impact.
— Lisa Hall (@notgreatjustok) March 19, 2019
As Twitter user Lisa Hall pointed out, implementing the five-cent plastic bag tax in 2009 did see significant results. During its three-year run, Toronto saw a 53 per cent decrease in plastic bag use, City News reported.
However, the amount of plastic ending up in landfills is still alarming, as 90 per cent of plastic can’t be recycled.
Just last week, the provincial government released a discussion paper that looked at ways to reduce litter and waste. They also announced that they were open to the idea of banning single-use plastics altogether. This includes items such as plastic wrap, straws, grocery bags, and cups.
While the extra charge and the ban on single-use plastics are just ideas the city is toying with, it’s never too early to start rethinking how your daily habits are affecting the environment.