Proposed bottled-water tax a bad idea for Toronto residents and business

    TORONTO, Nov. 21 /CNW/ - The City of Toronto should reject a proposed new
tax on bottled water for the same reasons it dismissed a proposed new tax on
alcoholic beverage sales: it's costly, hard to enforce, and would drive
customers out of Toronto negatively affecting local retailers and family
businesses, Anthony van Heyningen, the Executive Director of Refreshments
Canada said today.
    "As the City's own staff report suggests, the consequences of a proposed
sales tax on Toronto businesses cannot be overlooked," said van Heyningen. "It
would drive customers out of Toronto as consumers purchased their bottled
water and other items in neighbouring municipalities."
    "It would be absurd to not tax alcoholic beverages, but then turn around
and tax water," said van Heyningen. "Smaller retailers and family stores -
businesses that have contributed to the growth of this city - would be forced
to compete with these additional costs imposed upon them while their
competitors, in many cases just across the street, would not."
    The bottled water industry already contributes significantly to the cost
of recycling in Toronto, as part of the industry stewardship program that
financially supports the province's highly successful Blue Box system. In the
City of Toronto alone, industry's contribution to the City's curbside
recycling Blue Box program was more than $20 million through 2006.
    Toronto has a very successful recycling program, while Chicago only
started to pilot a curbside recycling program in February 2007. A recent City
of Toronto staff report noted that this City's curbside Blue Box recycling
program recovers 88% of plastic beverage containers from single-family homes.
    On top of that, producers pay a significant share of the costs of
Ontario's (and hence Toronto's) Blue Box program. Since 2003, companies that
use designated packaging materials, including bottles used by the beverage
industry, have contributed more than $150 million towards municipal Blue Box
costs in Ontario, and will contribute another $55 million in 2007.
    It is also important to note that beverage containers make up only 1/5th
of 1 per cent (or just 0.2%) of all waste produced in Ontario.

For further information:

For further information: Danna O'Brien, (416) 500-0699

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