Industry, business, taxpayer groups form coalition to talk to Toronto Mayor on city in-store food packaging source reduction


    TORONTO, Nov. 3 /CNW/ - As a lead up to the city announcement tomorrow on
potentially punitive measures on at-store food packaging, industry, business
and taxpayer groups have joined together to request a meeting with Mayor David
Miller to discuss constructive ways to achieve the City's stated 1% - 10,000
tonnes - landfill diversion goal for food packaging.
    Businesses with expertise in food retailing and food distribution want to
ensure their voice and expert opinion is heard. Food packaging is a very
complex subject and decisions related to it cannot be solely dictated by waste
diversion concerns.
    For example, food packaging is regulated by several pieces of federal
legislation: the Consumer Packaging and Labelling Act, the Food and Drug Act,
the Canada Agricultural Products Act, and the Processed Products Regulations
and the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Regulations.
    Coalition members requesting a meeting include: the Canadian Restaurant
and Foodservices Association, the Canadian Federation of Independent Business,
the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, the Environment and Plastics Industry
Council, the Canadian Plastics Industry Association and the Toronto Chinese
Business Association.
    The coalition wants to work collaboratively with the City to help them
meet their waste diversion goals. It is important that business and government
work together particularly in these difficult economic times.
    Business and industry are calling on the City to use voluntary approaches
and to exercise caution. Heavy emphasis on taxes, environmental fees,
deposits, and licensing restrictions to force reduction could have a number of
unintended negative consequences that could end up hurting residents,
consumers, retailers and ultimately the City with a marginal environmental
win.
    "We agree completely with the goal to divert used food packaging from
landfill. If the goal is diversion from landfill, then let's have a serious
conversation and the best place to start is with the Mayor," said Stephanie
Jones, Vice President, Ontario, Canadian Restaurant and Foodservices
Association. "We have a number of questions that need to be answered."Some of the questions include:
    -   Has the City considered a 3 "R's" (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle) strategy
        to achieve their 1% diversion goal?
    -   Why a single-minded focus on reduction?
    -   Has the City undertaken an economic impact analysis of what is being
        proposed on jobs and the business tax base?
    -   Has the City calculated the inflationary impact on food prices?
    -   How did the City arrive at a 10,000 tonne target?
    -   Has the City undertaken an inventory of industry reduction
        initiatives to date?The coalition is an informal group of likeminded experts in food
retailing, food packaging and concerned business and taxpayer associations,
fully committed to the 3 "R's" and product stewardship. Collectively, the
business and industry groups represent the interests of 185,000 people
employed in food retailing and packaging.




For further information: Stephanie Jones, Vice President, Ontario
Canadian Restaurant and Foodservices Association, (416) 649-4243; Joe Hruska,
Environment and Plastics Industry Counsel, (416) 777-0368