Toronto Stores Disregard Abolished Bag Fee, Continue to Charge for Plastic Bags

Recently, Toronto Mayor Tom Ford has abolished the previous government's fee on plastic bags at supermarket checkouts, insisting that it was a tax on consumers that was unnecesary. While no longer required by law to charge a fee for plastic bags, many Toronto stores have continued to do so -- a gesture which has frustrated the Mayor. Retailers such as Loblaws and Metro are upholding their 5 cent bag fee, and say that they are planning to donate the money collected from the fee to charities. According to the article by Vidya Kauri in the National Post:

“The impetus to do it is to help divert plastic bags from landfill,” said Tammy Smitham, spokeswoman for Shoppers Drug Mart. “Several years ago, this was the main concern of customers. It was the main concern in municipalities. So, that’s why we are continuing to proceed with it.”

Shoppers Drug Mart donates some of its proceeds from plastic bag sales to women’s health charities. The rest is used for in-house environmental management programs like the insulation of energy management systems, lighting retrofits and waste reduction programs, she said.

While many of the funds collected from the bag fees to to supporting charities, not all of them do. This has been a source of contention for many who claim that the stores are using the laws for their own profit rather than for any greater, environmentally conscious motivation. Mayor Ford has voiced his discontent over the fact that the fee continues to be levied in some stores, but beyond his verbal dissent, there is little more he can do to keep the stores from running their business as they see fit. For more information on Toronto's bag fee, as well as consumer responses to the debate, see the full article on the National Post here.

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