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Don’t capitulate to plastics industry

In Orillia
Jun 13th, 2010

By TEVIAH MORO Orillia Packet and Times March 30 2010
The plastics industry is pressuring Orillia city councillors to reconsider a bylaw that charges shoppers five cents per plastic bag.
The policy, even in its preliminary stages, provoked howls of disapproval from those in the business of manufacturing plastic bags.
It’s no surprise that those in the industry would make an effort to fight off a bylaw that could potentially take a bite out of their revenue.
It is predictable, but that’s not to say Orillia should capitulate to the naysayers.
On Monday night, representatives from the Canadian Plastics Industry Association (CPIA), Brampton Engineering and Pliant/Berry Plastics were scheduled to make a deputation before city politicians.
For some reason, the plug was pulled, and the contingent didn’t make a presentation. But their message is clear. Before council passed the contested bylaw, CPIA argued, in a letter, that it didn’t believe it was legal.
Moreover, others in the industry have characterized the bylaw as just another expense for consumers.
There might have been some griping in lineups at Orillia retail outlets in January when the new bylaw was rolled out.
But the new five-cent rule had an immediate effect on the number of plastic bags being dispensed to shoppers.
That’s exactly what makes the plastics industry nervous, if not downright panicky. And that’s why CPIA’s populist antics should ring hollow for those consumers who view council’s proactive approach to reducing waste as a step in the right direction.
Before the five-cent bylaw, not unlike greening policy in other jurisdictions, Orillia councillors were debating the merits of banning plastic bags altogether. They backed off and chose a reasonable middle road.
Many Orillians have changed their ways, using reuseable shopping bags instead of plastic. Consumers are adapting for the better.
Though it might be a tough row to hoe, industry should follow the same path.

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