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1 posts from August 2006

August 28, 2006

Plastic Bag Problem?

CANADA CONSIDERS BAG TAX: A movement to tax plastic bags has sprouted in British Columbia to try to reduce litter. Janice Harris, a North Vancouver Council member, is promoting a 25ยข tax on retail bags. Councils for North Vancouver and Recycle2_1 Coquitlam support the idea and will bring it up at a meeting of British Columbia municipalities in October. If the cities support the motion, they will present it to the provincial government, which has the power to levy the tax. "People feel overwhelmed by the amount of plastic packaging," Harris said in a telephone interview. "People are giving up on litter because there is too much to deal with." Harris said the proposed tax is high enough to discourage wanton use of bags, but not so high as to tax them out of existence. She compared the idea with Ireland's PlasTax. She conceded that the idea is not a panacea and that other plastics packaging, such as water bottles, are part of the problem. Taxing bags "is one of many ideas to reduce the amount of plastic we use." "Taxes don't solve anything," retorted Serge Lavoie, president of the Canadian Plastics Industry Association. Taxes typically end up in general government revenue streams not aimed at waste management, he said in a telephone interview from CPIA's head office in Mississauga, Ontario. "The real agenda [proposed by Harris] is to move against all plastic packaging," Lavoie said. Litter problems are best addressed by proper use of bags and recycling, according to Lavoie. CPIA is informing consumers on how to use bags wisely through a Web site, myplasticbags.ca. The site's features include an area where consumers type in their postal code and find out which local municipalities and retail outlets take bags back for recycling. Lavoie said there are already good bag take-back progams in Harris' region of British Columbia. Plastics News, 08/14/06, p. 26.


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