Rob Ford decides to sack the Toronto bag fee
Back during the 2010 mayoral election, Rob Ford was asked what he thought of the five cents plastic bag fee by the Toronto Sun, and said he’d kill it. That was in August. By late September, he was qualifying things and saying he might only redirect the nickel charge to something else (something the city cannot do). Well, the New Year is here and the mayor has come back to where he started, and believes the five-cent bag fee has to die. Just one bag snag: the surcharge might not be that easy to kill.
From the Post:
Mayor Rob Ford told the National Post this week he wants to quash the “bag tax,” which isn’t technically a tax because all the proceeds go to retailers, not the government.
But since the current bylaw requires stores to charge a nickel (often six cents, if the HST is added in) for every plastic bag, simply revoking it doesn’t mean that retailers have to stop, according to Rino Cipolletta, a manager of parks and waste enforcement in the city’s municipal licensing and standards division.
“If [council] cancels it and says it’s up to the store owners,” said Mr. Cipolletta, “they can continue with the plastic bag 5 cents if they want to.”
And some very well may, given that major retailers like Loblaws are charging for bags across the country.
While it’s certainly possible that retailers may stand up to customers on this, the mayor is nothing if not perceptive about how angry relatively trivial fees make people. We’d bet on consumer rage beating all but the cruelest merchants into submission on this one. Which is a shame, because all of the evidence suggests that the nickel fee is one of the city’s cheapest, most effective ways of reducing a small amount of landfill waste. Or, to put it another way, by killing the bag fee the mayor is going to end up spending more on the city’s own unionized waste disposal—or as he no doubt calls it, gravy.
Come to think of it, considering that it combines the mayor’s hatred of small annoyances and his love for replacing working solutions with more-expensive options, it’s a wonder the bag fee isn’t dead already.
• Ending plastic bag charge may not be straightforward [National Post]
• Ford’s plan to kill plastic fee far from in the bag [Toronto Star]
• Efforts to reduce plastic bag use paying off [CTV News]
• ‘Majority’ want to dump bag tax [Toronto Sun]
• Plastic shopping bags to be banned in Italy [Telegraph]
25 thoughts on “Rob Ford decides to sack the Toronto bag fee”
Before Christmas I asked a major retailer what they do with the 5 cent charge and they said it used to go to charity but now it goes toward the cost of manufacturing the bags. Is it possible the 5 cent fee was enabling the creation of more plastic waste?! What’s your take?
It was simply going into their pockets. Bear in mind when Miller vame up with this, THEY would pay us to being in our green bags, then he caved into the big Loblaws like retailers.
I like bringing my own bags. But on the rare occassion I need one, its sad. Notice how WINNERS bags are flimsy, thinner versus when they gave us free ? Same for Lowlaws? Try Old Navy who supposedly ran out of paper bags to put your big sweaters in and the cashier charge you 5cents and stuff your bulky sweaters in a tiny bag. Its all a rip off!
Change it and legislate it – let them charge you 5cents but ALL the funds should go to a reputable environmental group to ensure it goes back into the “green’ pocket!
I would like to implement a purchasers tax that retailers need to pay me to shop at their stores.
After flapping my arms for 15 minutes in the computer department at Best Buy to get someone’s attention to spend $600 (plus tax) in their store, at the door after my transaction occurred, the receipt checker guy asked me for 5¢ when I asked him for a bag that the dude at the counter where I paid told me to ask for it. Seriously? I said. There isn’t even a register there, so whose pocket is the nickel going? Based on my facial expression alone (I assume) I got the bag FREE!
Why is it becoming distressingly more and more difficult to buy things? It takes a lot of nickel bags to add up to a hefty purchase. Perhaps the nickels would be better spent rolled back into customer service training.
The bag fee was ALWAYS supposed to go to an environmental fund of the store’s choice.
I have asked the employees of Urban Barn once.. and I was impressed that she said “yes, our 5cent fee goes to the David Suzuki foundation”.. I then said, I’ll take 75 bags please … ;)
But Robert, seriously, how many retailers are sending the nickel to an environmental fund ? Who is auditing them ? No one.. PEE points sounds realistic and yes, big store like department stores should have paper bags!
Has anyone ordered from swiss chalet or Spring rolls? They dont even tell you they are adding the nickel to your delivery bill?! They should get paper bags versus showing up and adding the nickel. I am by far no cheapo, but its the principle and everyone ripping you off that bothers me!
Good call Robert, and Jack it also annoys me that they opt for you to purchase a bag without telling you. But what reeeeally bugs me is when you buy a ton of stuff and the person behind the counter says “would you like to buy bag?” after you have paid and it has been rung in…and then you have to wait for the 5 cents bag to be rung in…..annoying!
OMG, do you ppl really think that the 5 cent plastic bag is really making an environmental difference? We still go out and buy plastic kitchen garbage bags in bulk don’t we? So isn’t that actually adding to the plastic bag problem?
I mean, plastic grocery bags are recycled in many ways. People use them as garbage bags, put lunches in them, use them for storage and for packing when traveling, to name a few.
Yet the designated bulk purchase of kitchen garbage bags are limited in their usage, and still a land fill problem.
There a many people that prefer the old way. Free plastic shopping bags that had multiple purposes. Believe it or not, 5 cents is a lot of money to people that are on a budget.
And if you still feel it’s necessary to pass a sarcastic comment about poverty, wait, wait until the wheel of fortune turns your way and lands on the word……Bankrupt! Then lets see what tune you sing about multiple bag purchases at 5 cents each, plus HST!
The manufacturer of Sun Chips came out with a biodegradable chip bag that disintegrates in 28 days when exposed to the elements.
If these greedy retailers care so much about the environment, why aren’t they using them? I resent paying for a cheap plastic bag that I reuse twice instead of buying more plastic bags, especially when they are either pocketing the money or donating only a portion of it to charity. What a scam!
And I shouldn’t have to pay for a biodegradable bag. That should be part of the cost of doing business and part of a program on the behalf of the retailer to reduce garbage. Loblaws and other grocers still use styrofoam for meats and other items and that’s even worse than plastic bags.
Any retailer who charges me for a bag after this law is reversed is going to lose my business.
And why doesn’t anyone support the small grocers who NEVER charge for a bag? I do…screw the big corps!
Hats off to Sharon. Never thought about that but you are right – if this law is repealed and they still charge me, lets all go somewhere else. I am certain Loblaws will still charge, one of the biggest culprits!
The small shops on Eglinton West & Kensington dont charge..now I am reved up and thinking!
Meanwhile…Whole Foods is happy to give YOU 10 cents when you bring in your own bag or you can donate the cash to their Charity o’ the Month…plus their bags are sturdy paper!
I am also disturbed to hear that the retailers are pocketing the funds; however, I think many of my fellow contributors are missing the benefits the tax has had for the City of Toronto.
Back to the days of free bags: If your grocery order was $150.00, the general rule of thumb was approximately $10 per bag – 15 bags for the average weekly grocery order. This does not include double bagging…which almost always happened whether or not I asked…or the separate bags for meat, fish, eggs, bounce etc. Basically we are talking upwards of 30 bags per grocery order. Even if you are only spending $150 every two weeks that is 780 bags a year, just for groceries alone (I haven’t even begun to calculate the trips to the pharmacy, convenience store or other retail outlets).
I am all for recycling but there was no way I was able to keep up to a rate of more than 30 bags a week. I ended up throwing the bags out or when it became available putting them in the recycling bin.
Today, most people bring their own bags, transport the items to the car in a box or by carrying them and as a last resort purchase the retail bags. The purchased bags are larger and almost never doubled. This has grossly reduced the number of bags being used by the typical consumer. So much so that many people I know don’t even have plastic bags in their house anymore.
Think about the environmental impact this reduction is having on Toronto. The carbon foot print is not just on the landfills, it is all aspects of the life cycle of the plastic bag. Fewer bags are being manufactured, shipped to the stores, purchased by the consumer and then subsequently taken by a garbage truck, ending up in our landfills, or being processed for recycling.
I for one am firmly against abolishing the tax, but would like instead to see the money put to good use instead of lining the pockets of the retail chains who already charge to much as it is.
This is what we should be doing (see article below), not creating new landfill sites like David Miller did and putting poison in the ground. And imagine the emissions and pollution spewed as we trucked our garbage to Michigan.
BTW, in the last election between Miller and Jane Pitfield, the ONLY candidate pitching clean energy zero emissions garbage incineration was Pitfield. When companies from Europe who designed these incinerators came to Toronto to hold a conference on how these incinerators work, Pitfield was the ONLY councillor who showed up to listen and take notes.
Environmental groups don’t want incineration because, alas, they would be out of a job….just follow the money folks
Europe Finds Clean Energy in Trash, but U.S. Lags
By ELISABETH ROSENTHAL
Published: April 12, 2010 NY Times
HORSHOLM, Denmark — The lawyers and engineers who dwell in an elegant enclave here are at peace with the hulking neighbor just over the back fence: a vast energy plant that burns thousands of tons of household garbage and industrial waste, round the clock.Far cleaner than conventional incinerators, this new type of plant converts local trash into heat and electricity. Dozens of filters catch pollutants, from mercury to dioxin, that would have emerged from its smokestack only a decade ago.
In that time, such plants have become both the mainstay of garbage disposal and a crucial fuel source across Denmark, from wealthy exurbs like Horsholm to Copenhagen’s downtown area. Their use has not only reduced the country’s energy costs and reliance on oil and gas, but also benefited the environment, diminishing the use of landfills and cutting carbon dioxide emissions. The plants run so cleanly that many times more dioxin is now released from home fireplaces and backyard barbecues than from incineration.
With all these innovations, Denmark now regards garbage as a clean alternative fuel rather than a smelly, unsightly problem. And the incinerators, known as waste-to-energy plants, have acquired considerable cachet as communities like Horsholm vie to have them built.Denmark now has 29 such plants, serving 98 municipalities in a country of 5.5 million people, and 10 more are planned or under construction. Across Europe, there are about 400 plants, with Denmark, Germany and the Netherlands leading the pack in expanding them and building new ones.
By contrast, no new waste-to-energy plants are being planned or built in the United States, the Environmental Protection Agency says — even though the federal government and 24 states now classify waste that is burned this way for energy as a renewable fuel, in many cases eligible for subsidies. There are only 87 trash-burning power plants in the United States, a country of more than 300 million people, and almost all were built at least 15 years ago.
Instead, distant landfills remain the end point for most of the nation’s trash. New York City alone sends 10,500 tons of residential waste each day to landfills in places like Ohio and South Carolina.
“Europe has gotten out ahead with this newest technology,” said Ian A. Bowles, a former Clinton administration official who is now the Massachusetts state secretary of energy.
Still, Mr. Bowles said that as America’s current landfills topped out and pressure to reduce heat-trapping gases grew, Massachusetts and some other states were “actively considering” new waste-to-energy proposals; several existing plants are being expanded. He said he expected resistance all the same in a place where even a wind turbine sets off protests.
Why Americans Are Reluctant
Matt Hale, director of the Office of Resource Conservation and Recovery of the United States Environmental Protection Agency, said the reasons that waste-to-energy plants had not caught on nationally were the relative abundance of cheap landfills in a large country, opposition from state officials who feared the plants could undercut recycling programs and a “negative public perception.” In the United States, individual states and municipalities generally decide what method to use to get rid of their waste.
Still, a 2009 study by the E.P.A. and North Carolina State University scientists came down strongly in favor of waste-to-energy plants over landfills as the most environmentally friendly destination for urban waste that cannot be recycled. Embracing the technology would not only reduce greenhouse gas emissions and local pollution, but also yield copious electricity, it said.
Yet powerful environmental groups have fought the concept passionately. “Incinerators are really the devil,” said Laura Haight, a senior environmental associate with the New York Public Interest Research Group.
Investing in garbage as a green resource is simply perverse when governments should be mandating recycling, she said. “Once you build a waste-to-energy plant, you then have to feed it. Our priority is pushing for zero waste.”
The group has vigorously opposed building a plant in New York City.
Even Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, who has championed green initiatives and ranked Copenhagen’s waste-fueled heating on his list of environmental “best practices,” has shied away from proposing to get one built.
“It is not currently being pursued — not because of the technology, which has advanced, but because of the issue in selecting sites to build incinerators,” said Jason Post, the mayor’s deputy press secretary on environmental issues. “It’s a Nimby issue. It would take years of hearings and reviews.”
Nickolas J. Themelis, a professor of engineering at Columbia University and a waste-to-energy proponent, said America’s resistance to constructing the new plants was economically and environmentally “irresponsible.”
“It’s so irrational; I’ve almost given up with New York,” he said. “It’s like you’re in a village of Hottentots who look up and see an airplane — when everybody else is using airplanes — and they say, ‘No, we won’t do it, it’s too scary.’ ”
Acceptance in Denmark
Attitudes could hardly be more different in Denmark, where plants are placed in the communities they serve, no matter how affluent, so that the heat of burning garbage can be efficiently piped into homes.
Planners take pains to separate residential traffic from trucks delivering garbage, and some of the newest plants are encased in elaborate outer shells that resemble sculptures.
“New buyers are usually O.K. with the plant,” said Hans Rast, president of the homeowners’ association in Horsholm, who cut a distinguished figure in corduroy slacks and a V-neck sweater as he poured coffee in a living room of white couches and Oriental rugs.
“What they like is that they look out and see the forest,” he said. (The living rooms in this enclave of town houses face fields and trees, while the plant is roughly some 400 yards over a back fence that borders the homes’ carports). The lower heating costs don’t hurt, either. Eighty percent of Horsholm’s heat and 20 percent of its electricity come from burning trash.
Many countries that are expanding waste-to-energy capacity, like Denmark and Germany, typically also have the highest recycling rates; only the material that cannot be recycled is burned.
Waste-to-energy plants do involve large upfront expenditures, and tight credit can be a big deterrent. Harrisburg, Pa., has been flirting with bankruptcy because of a $300 million loan it took to reopen and refit an old public incinerator with the new technology.
But hauling trash is expensive, too. New York City paid $307 million last year to export more than four million tons of waste, mostly to landfills in distant states, Mr. Post said. Although the city is trying to move more of its trash by train or barge, much of it travels by truck, with heavy fuel emissions.
In 2009, a small portion of the city’s trash was processed at two 1990-vintage waste-to-energy plants in Newark and Hempstead, N.Y., owned by a publicly traded company, Covanta. The city pays $65 a ton for the service — the cheapest available way for New York City to get rid of its trash. Sending garbage to landfills is more expensive: the city’s costliest current method is to haul waste by rail to a landfill in Virginia.
While new, state-of-the-art landfills do collect the methane that emanates from rotting garbage to make electricity, they churn out roughly twice as much climate-warming gas as waste-to-energy plants do for the units of power they produce, the 2009 E.P.A. study found. Methane, the primary warming gas emitted by landfills, is about 20 times more potent than carbon dioxide, the gas released by burning garbage.
The study also concluded that waste-to-energy plants produced lower levels of pollutants than the best landfills did, but nine times the energy. Although new landfills are lined to prevent leaks of toxic substances and often capture methane, the process is highly inefficient, it noted.
Laws Spur New Technology
In Europe, environmental laws have hastened the development of waste-to-energy programs. The European Union severely restricts the creation of new landfill sites, and its nations already have binding commitments to reduce their carbon dioxide emissions by 2012 under the international pact known as the Kyoto Protocol, which was never ratified by the United States.
Garbage cannot easily be placed out of sight, out of mind in Europe’s smaller, densely populated countries, as it so often is in the United States. Many of the 87 waste-to-energy plants in the United States are in densely populated areas like Long Island and Cape Cod.
While these plants are generally two decades old, many have been progressively retrofitted with new pollution filters, though few produce both heat and power like the newest Danish versions.
In Horsholm only 4 percent of waste now goes to landfills, and 1 percent (chemicals, paints and some electronic equipment) is consigned to “special disposal” in places like secure storage vaults in an abandoned salt mine in Germany. Sixty-one percent of the town’s waste is recycled and 34 percent is incinerated at waste-to-energy plants.
From a pollution perspective, today’s energy-generating incinerators have little in common with the smoke-belching models of the past. They have arrays of newly developed filters and scrubbers to capture the offending chemicals — hydrochloric acid, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, dioxins, furans and heavy metals — as well as small particulates.Emissions from the plants in all categories have been reduced to just 10 to 20 percent of levels allowed under the European Union’s strict environmental standards for air and water discharges.
At the end of the incineration process, the extracted acids, heavy metals and gypsum are sold for use in manufacturing or construction. Small amounts of highly concentrated toxic substances, forming a paste, are shipped to one of two warehouses for highly hazardous materials, in the Norwegian fjords and in a used salt mine in Germany.
“The hazardous elements are concentrated and handled with care rather than dispersed as they would be in a landfill,” said Ivar Green-Paulsen, general manager of the Vestforbraending plant in Copenhagen, the country’s largest.
In Denmark, local governments run trash collection as well as the incinerators and recycling centers, and laws and financial incentives ensure that recyclable materials are not burned. (In the United States most waste-to-energy plants are private ventures.) Communities may drop recyclable waste at recycling centers free of charge, but must pay to have garbage incinerated.
At Vestforbraending, trucks stop on scales for weighing and payment before dumping their contents. The trash is randomly searched for recyclable material, with heavy fines for offenders.
The homeowners’ association in Horsholm has raised what its president, Mr. Rast, called “minor issues” with the plant, like a bright light on the chimney that shone into some bedrooms, and occasional truck noise. But mostly, he said, it is a respected silent neighbor, producing no noticeable odors.
The plant, owned by five adjacent communities, has even proved popular in a conservative region with Denmark’s highest per-capita income. Morten Slotved, 40, Horsholm’s mayor, is trying to expand it. “Constituents like it because it decreases heating costs and raises home values,” he said with a smile. “I’d like another furnace.”
I need to make a response to the second commenter. Loblaws bags are WAY thicker and bigger now that we pay for them than before, when they were free.
There are ways to reduce waste, but charging $0.05 per bag is not the way. By principle, it is wrong.
You want to encourage people to bring their own bags? Why not give a discount for bringing your own bags instead of charging people for needing one? That’s called positive reinforcement. And, it is a cost neutral solution for both the retailer and customer. Customer doesn’t need a bag, retailer doesn’t give out a bag and the discount is the carrot on the stick.
I certainly won’t fault a retailer if they were to switch to a biodegradable solution either. I don’t insist on plastic, but problem is that these greedy bastards don’t even offer a non-plastic alternative in most cases…forcing the consumer to pay for plastic…even though it is explicit in the by-law that retailers are supposed to offer an alternative like paper for those who don’t wish to purchase plastic.
I’m being charged essentially twice for each plastic bag…once for the cost of the bag already incorporated in the cost of the items I’m purchasing and again for $0.05 bag fee…and both go to the retailer in most cases.
If this bag fee goes away…if anyone dares to charge me $0.05 for a bag aside from No Frills or Food Basics…I’m leaving my purchase at the cash register and walking away.
I have always been against the plastic bag fee. The public in general are very good about using reusable bags. However, as a consumer, I do RESENT paying top price for my goods and then being asked “would I like a bag?”. If plastic bags are so bad for the environment then why are they not banned all together and the stores forced to use paper bags (free of charge). What this bag charge is telling us is that it’s alright to destroy the environment if you are willing to pay for it, how dumb is that? Meanwhile, at Loblaws, they charge you for a plastic bag (cheapest quality that barely stays intact), however they provide you with rolls of clear plastic bags to put your fresh produce into (grapes, bananas etc….) yet they don’t seem overly concerned with the environment in that case….. hmmmm…… and neither do the “environmentally friendly” customers who have no problem packing their produce into the clear plastic bags then putting their groceries into their reusable bags!!! Bit of a conflict of interest. The whole thing is a huge political SCAM.
signed the petition.
and here’s another solution–a company in Japan [of course] has developed a machine that reclaims oil from plastic. it takes plastic bags, packaging, even styrofoam.
what could be better? keep plastic out of the landfills, lakes, oceans, beaches, parks and parking lots. use the oil to make gasoline, motor oil or more plastic.
I’ve called a few recycling places to see if someone would take the resultant oil off my hands if I decide to invest in the contraption.
Hello, I am a bit biased being in the plastic industry but I want to point ou a few things:
– the 5 cent tax helps many store owners’s pocket, some is used for the rising cost of buying plastic bags, some is donated to environment.
– when i lived in an apartment and now at my house, I re-use all my grocery bags for my garbage. I do not buy any garbage bags. I think this should count for something. For some people who give me dirty looks when i buy bags at the checkout line, yet they are buyign boxes of garbage bags a year. It’s actually cheaper for me to pay my 5 cents for the bag at the grocery store than garbage bags so I keep buying them when I need. I am much more conservative over the years to reduce though. I often stuff my $80 groceries into 2-3 bags instead of putting 2-3 items in each bag, I stuff it to the max. Sometimes I use my cloth bags, but when I run low at home, I buy them from grocery store.
– Don’t get swept in the green marketing craze. Just because a bag degrades, it means that it breaks into smaller pieces. While it may not clog a sewer drain, it is still plastic, in smaller forms, I don’t thing that is any better. Having marine life choke on a plastic bag or have their stomachs filled with water with tiny plastic particles. Compostable means it is biodegradeable and compostable usually, where it needs to breakdown and back into its earth components such as bags going into compost stream usually made out of say corn starch. For biodegradeable usually there are additives added that breakdown the plastic into smaller forms but it’s still made out of oil/plastic. While I encourage biodegradeable and compostable bags, I want people to be aware that biodegradeable/compostable bags are not recycleable and not the answer to everything. There is no easy way to separate it in the recyling stream and people buying the recycled plastic can’t have it if it breaksdown on them so it means recycling can no longer be done.
– There is much recycling content put in bags. The problem for bag manufacturers is they cannot get enough recycled plastic material sometimes! There are also products made with recycled plastic. It really is hard to get as most recycled plastic is being bought by China.
– Some municipalities don’t recycle/collect plastic film because they do not have the infrastructure to collect it. It costs money. Maybe portions of the 5 cent bag tax should go to support these so they can be recycled.
– Plastic bags, paper bags, nothing is good for the environment. Yes paper is made out of a reneweable resource, but you also hear that we cannot keep up with replacing the trees we have killed. If you look at the carbon footprint, apparently paper is more a culprint than plastic concerning carbon footprint as it takes lots of chemcials and energy to make a paper bag from a tree vs. making plastic from oil/resin pellets. Usually paper bags are only used once and not reused. Not saying one is better than the other but I dont’ think plastic should be banned or only plastic bags should get taxed. Paper bags should too if plastic is. Or neither. In the US I found that some grocery stores gave you a paper bag then closed it with a plastic one too! Now that’s a waste!
– All I am saying is you have to look from all angles before making an informed decision or opinion.
I just ran across this site and thought it made some random good points
The 5 cent charge was what helped me to remember to bring my own bags. I like not having to deal with a bunch of plastic bags, most of which are so thin they can’t be reused. I don’t understand all of this resentment when it is geared to reducing waste. If you want to complain, complain about where the nickel goes. As for paper, it comes from trees people! Quit whining and put your efforts towards being part of the solution not part of the problem.
Well, just another cost for the consumer to deal with I suppose, and those nickels add up to be sure.
But once a cash COW has been installed , try getting rid of it.
The HST is picking peoples pockets big time and to add another cent to the bag fee is just another boot up peoples asses, I guess we need a tax revolt to put a stop to this thievery, and start to make governments more accountable to just what is being spent were so people know that their taxes are being spent wisely.
BTW Loblaws does not charge for plastic bags all over the country. They stopped charging this fee in the Maritimes because of the consumer backlash. It’s not their corporate policy to charge for bags. They are charging us because we are suckers in Ontario and believe every fee corporations will charge us helps the environment.
I just wrote on this topic due to a discussion with friends. Many people don’t realize what plastic bags do to the environment. Checkout my blog at http://www.rabblerant.ca
It’s five cents!!! Really people?!! It makes me think twice before using a plastic bag, and truthfully have stopped using a new bag(plastic or paper) by 75%.
It drives me nuts when I see some cheepo argue with a part time associate in a retail store about 5 cents. How cheap can you make yourself look?!! Take it up with the corporate office, not some student who works 15 hours a week and could most likely care less about your viewpoint! that said aside, get over it! A company has the right to charge for what they want… You’re the consumer, it’s not new news… So if you don’t like it, dont shop there, or bring your own bag!
You know its funny… If you go to the City of Toronto website for this bylaw:
You’ll notice some very interesting points.
1) Prominent signs must be posted at the checkout to let customers know about the City’s requirement to charge customers at the point-of-sale for each plastic retail shopping bag requested.
2) What bags will be banned by the City of Toronto as of June 1, 2010?
Plastic retail shopping bags made of biodegradable or compostable plastic, or plastic retail shopping bags that have metal fittings (e.g., eyelets, grommets) or other non-plastic components (e.g., string, cord, cardboard) will be banned for sale or distribution by retailers as of June 1, 2010.
So in other words, they banned compostable and biodegradable bags, forcing the use of pure plastic. Secondly, if a sign is not up showing the 5 cent charge, it is against the law for the fee to be charged to you.
In regards to the taxation of plastic bags, if they (the government) are going to impose a tax it should be definitely be higher than 5 cents per bag. Empirically it has been shown that the responsiveness (elasticity) to that level of taxation has been a generator of revenue, rather than a policy tool attempting to curb consumer behavior and stymie environmental degradation. The effectiveness of the tax in my opinion is only one of a cognitive recognition that their indeed a cost associated with plastic bag use. The cost to the environment is essentially monetized into the choice of the consumer, which is a sexy concept for environmentalist and economist…
oops those last two nouns should have been plural…
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