THUNDER BAY – “Give a Hoot, Don’t Pollute”. Ontario is a beautiful province. Yet at the same time Ontario is a mess. The litter from non-returnable plastic beverage containers mar our roadways, cities and towns.
Environmental Defense says, “Ontario is one of the only provinces without a deposit return program for plastic beverage containers, including plastic water bottles. But Ontarians know that deposit programs work – the deposit return program for beer bottles has a return rate of 98 per cent. We can build on this success to capture plastic bottles too!”
While Ontario has a deposit program for alcohol containers, the province leaves all of the juice boxes, pop cans, and plastic containers from other beverages outside of that legislation.
The voluntary blue box program, which sees up to 45% of those containers returned, is funded by taxpayers. This is a sharp contrast to the return rate on alcohol containers. The redemption rate for alcohol containers other than beer bottles is almost double the blue box rate.
This is a contrast to other Canadian provinces where beverage containers are all subject to a deposit, and are returned.
Ontario used to have a deposit system in place, but it has been left behind back in the late 1970s.
The problem with not having a deposit system in place for soft drink containers is the large number of plastic bottles that end up in our waterways, and eventually into the Great Lakes and as those bottles slowly break down, along the shores of the lakes, and even into the food chain.
Ontario has taken leadership on many areas of making our environment safer and cleaner.
Perhaps it is time for expanding that vision to reduce the amount of waste that litters our streets, highways and communities?
Ontario could initiate a deposit system on glass and plastic food containers, additionally a deposit on other plastic containers like haircare products, and other household containers would generate the impetus to inspire a cleaner Ontario.
A deposit on all plastic containers would be a good start.