On Tuesday, December 18, Toronto Public Health hosted a press conference to announce a sweeping new policy to curb consumption of single-use plastic water bottles.
The policy required all establishments that served non-alcoholic beverages — 99 percent of them restaurants — to move their customers to refillable bottles sold at vending machines or refill stations. Filling containers that could not be refilled would be subject to the same fee.
Of the roughly 8 million single-use plastic water bottles used in the City of Toronto, 3.5 million end up being discarded because the retailers who sell them often dump plastic on the street. The ban also supported city officials’ goal of reducing drinking water use by 3 percent in 2019.
In the recent past, I have been a leading voice against such such plastic bans. I also do not use my car for transport at most of the time, but buy coffee in kiosks I have installed in most of my coffee shops. I recognize that educating people how to use coffee and water in new ways will be more difficult than banning the sale of water bottles. However, there is an unacknowledged alternative.
On International Women’s Day (March 8), I endorsed and shared a platform with a woman who made a point that innovation does not have to be about government regulation. Stephanie Foxer, co-founder of the Independent Women’s Coffee Roasters and Instructor of Entrepreneurship at the University of Toronto, spoke with profound clarity: