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Toronto 1st major Canadian city to ban plastic bags

TORONTO, June 7 — Toronto City Council has passed a motion to ban the use of plastic shopping bags from all retail environments in Canada's biggest city.

The surprise vote on the citywide ban came Wednesday following Mayor Rob Ford's proposal to scrap the mandatory 5-cent environmental charge currently in place for every plastic bag use in retail purchases.

Ford has argued retailers earn 5 million Canadian dollars (4.85 million U.S. dollars) from the fee annually without contributing it to any particular environmental group or cause as it was originally intended for.

Although Ford succeeded in ridding the mandatory fee on Wednesday, the council later voted 24-20 in favor of a last-minute motion introduced by Councilor David Shiner to ban plastic bags altogether.

Toronto will now remove the 5-cent mandatory fee starting July 1, just six months before plastic bags are gone from all Toronto stores.

Ford expressed Thursday his frustration and disapproval of the council's decision, saying the ban won't be upheld in court, but it will also be difficult to rescind the ban.

Toronto will be the first major Canadian city to ban the use of plastic shopping bags, alongside other North American cities including Los Angeles and Seattle. (PNA/Xinhua) hbc/utb

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