Not quite all in the bag yet

John Mullinder, Executive Director

John Mullinder, Executive Director

(Regular posts on environmental and sustainability issues impacting the Canadian paper packaging industry).

PPEC has been monitoring the proliferation of bans and/or fees on shopping bags for some time, the most recent iteration being the City of Toronto’s move to ban single-use plastic bags from sale, effective January 1st.

While we sympathise with the plastics industry in the way Toronto’s proposed ban originated (paper could equally have been targeted), this has not stopped our plastic colleagues from dissing the paper alternative. So we came to a meeting of the council’s public works committee yesterday all ready to point out the positives about paper and to address some of the key misperceptions.

When we got there, however, the meeting chairman informed all deputants that he would not allow any comments that did not directly relate to the draft bylaw itself, and he proceeded to cut off the microphone on people who strayed from that path. There were quite a few! The most memorable were those who called the city “fascist overlords” and “minions of the UN.”

When it was our turn, we explained who PPEC represented and acknowledged that “paper” was not specifically mentioned in the draft bylaw, but that we had been dragged into the conversation by others. We had intended to cover off very briefly some of the good things about paper (renewable resource, regeneration, certified forests, furnish, use of renewable energy, recycled content et cetera). But given the chairman’s edict about talking to the bylaw only, we suggested that now was probably a good time to cut us off! He did basically, although a couple of councillors asked questions of us first, mainly about the paper bag industry’s ability to supply demand if the plastic ban went through as expected.

You can get the flavour of the event here:

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