30e législature, 3e session

L089 - Thu 17 Jun 1976 / Jeu 17 jun 1976

The House resumed at 8 p.m.


Hon. Mr. Kerr moved second reading of Bill 81, An Act to amend the Environmental Protection Act, 1971.

Hon. Mr. Kerr: I will take a few minutes on explanation by way of introducing second reading of this bill. As hon. members know, the whole subject of non-returnable or non-refillable carbonated soft drink containers has been under discussion, study and consideration for some time now. The first report was back in about 1971; it was called the liquor --

Mr. Nixon: That’s a Freudian slip.

Hon. Mr. Kerr: -- the Littering Control Council report. Next was the report of the Solid Waste Task Force and finally, last March, the Waste Management Advisory Board report was tabled in the House.

The last study and report had, of course, the advantage of previous reports and the knowledge that non-returnable containers were on the increase in Ontario, particularly in urban centres. The Waste Management Advisory Board report, in the light of this experience and information, went further than previous recommendations. Its basic recommendation is SIP -- systems improvement programme -- and it stresses the importance of the co-operation of the industry in changing the distribution system to meet our environmental objectives.

It indicated that it is essential the policy for the transition from the returnable and non-refillable to the refillable not exceed the capacity of the industry to implement it. In this time of government intervention in the economy, there is an opportunity to meet our objectives through the co-operation of the industry without excessive government control. Mainly through the work of the board, there has now been achieved a clear change in the attitude of the industry toward putting its own house in order.

Not until recently, in fact, since the Waste Management Advisory Board started its work and submitted an interim report, has there been tangible evidence of the ability and the willingness of the industry to change the distribution system to meet environmental objectives. For the first time since throwaway containers were introduced some 15 years ago, the trend to the use of non-refillables has been reversed and the use of refillables is on the increase. In other words, for the first time since the government has been studying the problem, the conditions for the development of a carefully thought out and flexible policy exist in Ontario.

The board has reported that in order to achieve the best environmental gains it is essential that refillable containers must be returned and reused as many times as possible. The distribution system must be changed to attain this goal. Industry is best able to achieve it within a flexible framework of government regulatory control. An orderly development of the necessary changes in the distribution system to handle refillable containers efficiently is unlikely to occur under rigid controls imposed by instant legislation. What is required here is control by regulation which can be readily adjusted to meet the complexities of the transition. The regulations can be detailed in design to ensure that the industry will meet a firm schedule of goals.

As the hon. members know, subsection 7 of section 94 of the Environmental Protection Act, as it presently reads, allows for certain regulations dealing with containers and packaging. At the time that bill was brought in and that particular section 94 was debated and approved, we were dealing and concerned more about litter; however, things have changed now. I think our problems are listed in an order of the problem of solid waste disposal and the use of energy as well as litter.

Bill 81 clarifies and enlarges on the existing provisions to enact regulations which may be necessary to develop, as I say, an efficient distribution system. That is why this bill is being brought forward at this time.

Mr. Godfrey: I am gratified to see that finally the government is doing something about the non-refillable and non-returnable container. This action is in response to literally thousands of letters and complaints from many people over the whole of the province for many years. It is surprising to realize just how long it has taken for the response such as we have tonight.

Non-refillable bottles were introduced in 1962 and by 1968 it was difficult to buy refillable bottles in some Metropolitan areas.

Mr. Breithaupt: You want to wait five years more.

Mr. Godfrey: I was interested in the minister’s comments, in his brief chronology and introduction, at how he glossed over some of the gory facts which are hidden in his chronology because at that time, in 1968, the Ontario government was asked to regulate the manufacture and sale of disposable bottles. We are now coming around to the decennial celebration of that request. It was pointed out at that time that consumer attitude was an important determinant on the use of non-refillable bottles. A couple of years later in 1970, the can began to replace the bottle as a larger share of the market.

You will recall, Mr. Speaker, the massive mail-a-can programme, when citizens throughout Ontario mailed cans to the Hon. John Robarts at that time in order to impress upon him the necessity of doing something about the throw-away can, but still nothing was done. At that time, Energy and Resources Management Minister George Kerr through his waste management branch announced that legislation would be introduced in the next session of the Legislature restricting or banning no-deposit, no-return soft drink containers. Indeed, at that time, he said: “We must in some way, stop this proliferation of non-returnable bottles and non-returnable containers.” This was on Dec. 7, 1970. But no legislation appeared.

In the same year, Pollution Probe pointed out that 35 per cent of the Canadian market consisted of no-return containers and urged the return to the returnable system by making it more advantageous to the manufacturers and the retailers. It also urged public education. They focused on an anti-litter campaign. By 1972, as the hon. minister has reported, a solid waste task force was formed.

In that same year, almost 70 per cent of all soft drink bottles sold in Ontario came in non-returnable containers. The newly appointed Minister of the Environment (Mr. Auld) reported at that time that he was “coming to feel that a standardized returnable bottle for soft drinks is inevitable.” Inevitable to the Tory government sometimes takes a very long time to appear upon the scene.

The average cost of solid waste disposal by burying or burning at that time averaged more than $20 per ton. That price has increased since that time. At that time, it was pointed out that recycling was expensive, requiring high energy usage. The system is even worse now. The hon. minister pointed out that it was his intention to discourage this whole throw-away philosophy into which we were slipping.

Part of this intention was to be based upon the recommendations of a beverage packaging working group, a section of the Solid Waste Task Force set up by the government. However, this group brought in a series of weak recommendations which seemed designed to preserve the non-returnable bottle and can, and indeed that has happened.

At that time the Minister of the Environment on Oct. 3, 1972, pointed out that the ministry did not want to be in the position of making arbitrary decisions. That was a faint echo of what we have heard from across the House tonight regarding beverage containers and forcing measures upon the packaging industry.

However, he pointed out: “Should it be obvious that the only way to bring about a reduction in the total amount of waste is by legislation and regulation, then this is the way we will be forced to move.”

That is from James Auld speaking on Oct. 3, 1972. These were brave words indeed, somewhat echoing the brave words we hear tonight. Exactly 15 months later the same person pointed out that:

“The province has a very definite commitment to hold the line on the increase in the amount of garbage we generate. Strong leadership will be taken in this field until we cut down as much as possible on one-way disposal containers. That will include tin cans, bottles, plastic containers.”

There was another change in the ministry and the environment minister, the Hon. William Newman, presided over the release of a three-volume report of the Solid Waste Task Force. This report recommended that retailers stock carbonated beverages packaged in refillable bottles in the same sizes and brand type as they offered in non-refillable containers. This recommendation was not accepted by the minister. In addition, he refused to establish a deterrent tax on non-refillables, with the result there was no incentive for retailers to stock refillables.

He announced yet another body to be set up, a Waste Management Advisory Board. By March of 1975, the advisory board was asked to report on ways to reduce the number of liquor and wine bottles in Ontario garbage.

All this time, citizens organizations such as the Federation of Ontario Naturalists and Pollution Probe were pressing that something be done about the non-refillables. The industry itself was responding and announced among other things an all-steel disposable can, but the government continued in its state of inaction. Thus after five years, three ministers and innumerable meetings, the non-refillable container was even more entrenched.

In answer to a further campaign by citizens organizations in March of 1975, the Environment minister announced that the soft drink industry had 12 months in which to start more refillable pop containers. However, he reiterated that the government policy to protect the consumers’ right to a choice between refillable and non-refillables must remain. By August of 1975 the Waste Management Advisory Board noted there had been little change in the non-returnable situation.

By February of 1976 the Soft Drink Association of Ontario increased deposits on bottles from five to 10 cents and 10 to 20 cents on the larger sizes and urged the continuation of voluntary action for a reasonable time. That is, after six years of warning, they did not feel they had had sufficient time. Indeed, the ministry indicated that it doubted if the industry felt the government was very serious when it advised that something had to be done about non-returnables. The question arises, then, as to whether the industry feels at this minute that the ministry is really being serious about the non-returnable problem.

However, the attitude of the ministry, I must agree, seems to be firming and about time. A report on carbonated soft drink containers in Ontario -- a report by the Solid Waste Task Force -- brought about recommendations which had several very desirable points. However, in this bill the minister is choosing to ignore them.

For example, the task force report recommended that as of April 1, 1975, no carbonated soft drinks in non-refillable containers could be sold; but what does this bill we have put up before us tonight offer?

I am not happy that so much is being left to regulation, which may or may not be enacted by a ministry which has a reputation for dragging its feet in this particular area.

The bill lays the groundwork for a series of regulations by which the soft drink container and packaging industry will be regulated. As far as they go, providing the regulations are known to the House in reasonable time, this party can support the bill. However, what it does not offer is a real effort at solving the container problem. Not even the task force recommendations on the carbonated soft drink containers are considered in the Act.


The minister will recall that that task force recommended:

“Regulations be prepared but not filed, pending further notice, prohibiting all retailers from selling or offering for sale carbonated soft drinks in non-refillable containers on or after April 1, 1979, and, further, prohibiting the sale of carbonated soft drinks in non-refillable containers through coin-operated vending machines on or after April 1, 1981, or, as an alternative;

“Regulations be filed prohibiting all retailers from selling or offering for sale carbonated soft drinks in non-refillable containers on or after April 1, 1975, and, further, prohibiting the sale of carbonated soft drinks in non-refillable containers through coin-operated vending machines on or after April 1, 1981.”

We cannot support the bill as it has been put up. It must be amended in order to come into line with some of the sturdy recommendations that have been made by this committee.

Why has the minister failed to take into consideration these recommendations? I suggest it is simply a matter of failure to control a growing problem in our society. He himself and his predecessors have been aware of this for many years. In spite of this awareness, they have failed to propose a programme which will work. Granted, he wishes to persuade industry and persuade the consumer to reduce the number of non-refillable and non-returnables by a combination of deposits on non-returnables and making returnable bottles equally available. While this may have some effect, it must be admitted even by himself and his ministry that in all honesty they know it will not solve the problem. The throw away will continue. The obstacle to returning bottles will continue.

Why has he failed to attack this problem? He is fully aware of the garbage; at the same time he is aware of the job problems associated with any recommendation such as we will make. This party on this side of the House, too, is keenly aware of the effect upon the manufacturing industry and jobs therein of some of the recommendations we will make. We know soft drink cans produced in Ontario have a gross market value of about $35 million and the livelihood of some 3,000 workers in Ontario and their families depend upon the industry and its annual payroll and fringe benefits of around $20 million.

We are aware of the work opportunities in the glass bottle manufacturing industry, but precisely because of that awareness, we are requesting a solution to the problem rather than a Band-Aid over the problem with a bill such as Bill 81. It fails to provide in any way a real solution. In this failure it negates the magnificent efforts that have been made during the past year by the workers of the industry who have been made aware of the situation. The United Steel Workers and their representative, Mr. Doug Hart, have been foremost in their campaigns to reduce litter, and to try to develop, in association with the manufacturing industry, a can which is of less threat to the environment. Nowhere in the bill is there a commitment by the government to retraining or reducing or replacing these workers. Nowhere have I heard the government commit itself to a real programme of retraining workers, once the non-returnable, non-refillable is phased out.

In its failure to solve the problem, the bill undermines the magnificent work which has been done by volunteers in municipalities who have for countless Saturday mornings given up their free time in order to take part in a recycling programme. These unpaid volunteers have no prospect to look forward to but ever-increasing mountains of glass bottles and cans. They have read the pronouncements through the years that something is going to be done about the problem. Now all they see is a weak bill which promises they will remain knee-deep in brown glass.

The bill denigrates the magnificent activities such as are carried on by the Federation of Ontario Naturalists and Pollution Probe, or 1S5, or Voices of Canadians in Oshawa, or the Pollution Probe group in Peterborough all of whom have spent many hours conducting surveys to show the marketplace is favourable to the non-refillable, non-returnable and actually offers a premium to the buyer who uses that route rather than encourages the returnable, refillable bottle. These organizations have generated many sound, valuable reports which point to the government how the situation can be handled. The Pollution Probe foundation studies in identifying the barriers clearly point out the economic advantages, the saving in energy and the general good sense of a programme which phases out the non-refillable, non-returnable container.

The industry itself has been aware of the criticism and has attempted to develop a container which is more acceptable to a conserver society. The Metal Containers Manufacturing Advisory Council has made many studies and submissions which have served to focus attention on the growing garbage disposal problem and the litter problem. Such awareness of the problem and a desire to do something about it can easily be seen in their reports and in other reports such as the M & T Products of Canada. Nowhere in this bill and nowhere in the intent behind the bill do I see a solid commitment with a named time for the standardization of bottles with a clear programme for an incentive return system which will work.

The minister is very much aware of the fact that the soft drink bottle programme is only part of a much larger programme. He cannot avoid it when he knows that in the year 1975 the Liquor Control Board of Ontario sold 149 million bottles of which there were some 2,000 different listings with 1,400 different sizes, all part of a garbage programme he cannot take.

Mr. Warner: Put everything in beer bottles.

Mr. Godfrey: Government has been aware of this growing problem for many years. The opposition parties have been aware of it as may be evident from the numerous resolutions and bills which have been introduced from this side of the House, including the many resolutions from the members for Windsor-Riverside (Mr. Burr) and Yorkview (Mr. Young); and from the Liberal benches the members for Wentworth North (Mr. Cunningham) and Huron-Bruce (Mr. Gaunt).

I pointed out that the industry, the workers in the industry, the volunteer groups, the municipal authorities, are all in favour of a proper solution to the problem. I need not remind the government that the city of London and the city of Windsor have both passed bylaws which will attempt to tackle the problem of disposables in local settings. I’m sure the minister is aware of the fact that unless he does something now which will be definitive this type of action will break out in other parts of the province leading to a fragmented approach to the problem.

Why are we not getting a proper solution? This bill, which we can support, must be amended in order to get a proper solution. I am forced sadly to one conclusion. The minister simply is not capable of leading. He himself admits that a 10 oz. refillable is difficult to buy anywhere in the province. The ministry is not competent to handle this problem in the same way as it’s not competent to handle the problems of landfill and sanitary sites; in the way it is not competent to solve the problem of recycling and recovery of energy in our society --

Mr. Warner: Resign.

Mr. Godfrey: -- in the way it is not competent to handle the increasing pollution of water supplies with the attendant terrible stories of mercury and PCBs.

I’m not trying to make this into a federal rap but I merely point out that the minister’s incompetence to handle the bottles -- a comparatively simple problem in our society -- and the non-refillable containers, is merely mirroring some of the incompetence throughout the rest of the Ministry of the Environment. I say this without rancour.

I can appreciate the government is old and tired and forced to perform perfunctory legislation in the hope the problem will go away. I can assure the minister that the problem of the soft drink container will not go away. It will get worse and certainly will get worse under Bill 81 as proposed, unless amended.

There is no doubt we are facing a crisis with regard to the handling of garbage in our province. Garbage is a problem in that when we speak to the government the only answer we get is more garbage. The proposed bill must be amended in such a way that it creatively attacks this problem.

In order to do so, it is pre-eminently necessary that there be a positive, determined programme by the government to make sure workers are not displaced. If given sufficient lead time, there’s no reason this cannot be accomplished. Included in the programme should be the setting of a date, a goal for the phase-out of non-refillable, non-returnable containers. Government, industry and the unions may then co-operate and work together to ensure that workers are retrained to take their place in another part of the industry at comparable levels of job sophistication. This can be done.

Associated with this programme must be a broader programme on the part of the Ministry of the Environment to roll up its sleeves and get into the garbage problem. Let us not talk of pilot projects and experiments, the technology is there, providing the government decides to recycle garbage and puts all the cost figures into the equation which will show that it is a profitable business.

The “watts from waste” programme is not an impressive start. While it does generate electricity it wastes heat. The SWARU plant in Hamilton is not efficient. It most likely was never designed to be so, rather it is a token piece set up by a ministry which was harried into doing something. It lacked the imagination and resources to develop a plant which would do something about garbage, rather than turning garbage into garbage.

But on the other hand when I say that I’m surely forgetting that in 1970 the then Energy and Resources Minister, the member for Burlington South (Mr. Kerr), said the provincial legislation was planned to cut down on the use of non-returnable soft drink containers. I hope that he realizes the paper it was written on at that time has long since been buried in a sanitary landfill site which is most likely now contributing to the pollution of wells in Stouffville where I live, Owen Sound or other places throughout the province.

Mr. Deans: We used to call them garbage dumps.

Mr. Godfrey: Unless the government will accept an amendment which will put a time dimension on its bill, which will ensure that we’re doing something positive about the non-refillable, non-returnable bottle, we can’t support it.

Mr. Cunningham: Mr. Speaker, this bill simply allows the minister to make regulations to do almost anything he wishes to do with respect to non-refillable or non-returnable containers. In that sense we are just debating a principle of whether or not we allow the minister the power to make those regulations or not. The problem with enabling legislation is that we have no idea of how it will be used. Does this Act enable progressive regulations which we hope will be written next?

It is disturbing to me to note that the explanatory note at the front of this legislation makes no further claim other than to encourage the use of refillables or returnables. This is nothing new or different. However, we have made a judgement that the minister intends to take some action in this respect and I believe he has indicated that he has six or seven regulations out of the 10 recommendations proposed by the Solid Waste Task Force in regard to this problem. This matter has been the subject of considerable debate over the years in this House and it’s time that some action was taken in this regard.

While we are somewhat unhappy about having to vote in favour of a bill whose impact in precise terms is unknown to us, we are nevertheless going to support this bill on the condition that the minister give us advance knowledge of the regulations he intends to implement under the terms of the bill --

Mr. Moffatt: That’s a funny motion.

Mr. Cunningham: -- and that we be allowed to make any representation to the regulations committee in regard to any regulation with which we disagree before the regulations are proclaimed. The minister has agreed to this and so on that basis we are going to support the bill.

The big question that remains is what the regulations will say. Needless to say, it would be unacceptable to us if non-returnable or non-refillable pop containers were not phased out as in recommendation 2(b) of the Waste Management Advisory Board’s report of March, 1976, which calls for a definite and unconditional ban on non-refillables with a three-year lead time.

At this juncture a history of this matter and a discussion of the impressive evidence compiled by the Solid Waste Task Force Waste Management Advisory Board in favour of a totally refillable system from the points of view of energy, resources, solid waste, tax and consumer savings, as well as net increase in employment, would in fact be in order.

On Dec. 19, 1974, the three-volume report of the Environment minister’s Solid Waste Task Force was tabled in the Legislature by the then Environment minister (Mr. W. Newman). The main subject of the detailed report centred on the problem of just how much waste is caused by throw-away bottles and cans and what can be done to encourage the use of returnable bottles. While the facts in the report made clear the need for a ban on non-refillable bottles and cans, no strong recommendations were made because of the greater number of industry representatives over consumer and environmental representatives on the task force.


The provincial task force was formed back in the fall of 1972 to look at the problems of solid waste, and the then Minister of Environment, the member for Leeds (Mr. Auld) asked that it concentrate on the packaging of milk, carbonated soft drinks and alcoholic and other beverages. These problems were seen as the most pressing solid waste problems in the province at that time. Two subgroups, the beverage packaging working group and the milk packaging working group, were formed to study these issues. However, half the members of the Solid Waste Task Force were representatives of the interested industry, and the industry representatives further outnumbered consumer and environmental group representatives on the two working groups by two to one.

The representation of these two groups did nothing more than polarize the industry and consumer interest. Since the business of the task force and the working groups was decided by majority vote, the composition of the groups was very significant. In fact, the beverage packaging group, which had seven representatives from related beverage industries and three consumer representatives, was unable to agree on anything except that the 16 recommendations it did offer would be inadequate in themselves to produce a substantial improvement in the availability of returnable bottles. However, an approach was made toward making returnable bottles more available to the public. What the findings of the report do show is that non-refillable containers are environmentally harmful and that any switch from the use of non-refillable soft drink bottles and cans to refillable bottles is beneficial to the environment.

The Solid Waste Task Force recommended adoption of the working group reports. The report of the milk packaging working group was tabled in the Legislature just a few months ago. The report of the beverage packing working group produced 16 recommendations, of which the government has accepted 14. The first recommendation of the group was that where soft drinks were being sold, they must be available in refillable containers as well as throw-away containers. This would make sure that the consumers had at least a fair choice in the marketplace. Since then it is extremely difficult today to find a retail outlet which stocks returnable bottles. This was the key recommendation when compared to the others, but one which was rejected by the then minister, the member for Durham-York (Mr. W. Newman). Also rejected was a recommendation that the deposit price for beer containers be increased from the present five cents to encourage an even greater return of the bottles.

The one recommendation adopted which required response from the beverage industry was that the pull-tab on cans be phased out over the next 12 months. The cans themselves, however, would not be banned. The fact that this was the only recommendation which required any action from the beverage industry is even more significant when one considers the fact that the industry was already working on this question.

On Dec. 22, only three days after the task force report was made public, Continental Can Co. of Canada announced a new type of flip-top can that is opened by a foil strip that remains attached to the can. I believe a number of other companies have variations of this style. Also recommended and adopted was that a waste management advisory board be established to provide a permanent group to look at the broader issues which had escaped the work of the Solid Waste Task Force, which had adopted recommendations dealing merely with the urging or encouraging of soft drink companies to promote the sale of refillable containers.

These recommendations certainly didn’t do very much, as we have experienced, to encourage the use of returnable bottles but merely forced the vendor who sold returnables to be more regulated than before. In effect, while the Conservative government themselves have defined non-returnable containers as a problem, they have not taken any action to deal with the problem in the last four or five years.

It was back in 1970 that the new Minister of the Environment, who was also the Minister of the Environment at that time, promised legislation to reduce the use of non-returnable pop containers. In March, 1973, the Minister of the Environment stated:

“The province has a very definite commitment to hold the line on the increase in the amount of garbage. Strong leadership will be taken in this field so that we can cut down as much as possible on one-way disposable cartons. That will include cans, bottles and plastic containers.”

That was in 1973. That so-called leadership sparked the minister’s successor, the member for Durham-York, to merely ban the flip-top on returnable cans, along with sitting down with industry to encourage them, yet again, to use refillable containers.

Throw-away containers not only create litter and generate solid waste but also consume energy and other non-renewable resources. Solid waste in Ontario now exceeds six million tons per year and garbage disposal costs the taxpayers of Ontario $100 million a year. In 1972 the composite beverage industry generated an estimated 241,846 tons of waste at a cost to the taxpayers of almost $4 million. The estimated waste amounted to 6.76 per cent of the estimated 3,000,000 tons of solid waste collected by municipalities in that year.

Further, different surveys show beverage containers to make up between nine per cent and 33 per cent, depending on whose statistics you were relying on, of total litter in Ontario; at an estimated cost for collection of anywhere from $843,000 to over $13 million a year.

In 1972 the total energy consumption connected with the manufacture and disposal of primary containers amounted to 3,233 billion hours. This energy is sufficient to heat 25,500 average-sized Ontario homes for one year; and this degree of energy consumption would be valued at $32 million.

Last year, carbonated soft drink containers and cartons contributed to 170,000 tons of Ontario’s waste load, or about four per cent of municipally-collected garbage.

The ideal environmental solution would be to eliminate waste at its source, that is, to get rid of things that we do not really use, such as excess packaging; and replace things that are discarded after one use with things that can be reused many times over. The switch from the throw-away container to the returnable container would provide an excellent example.

In its inability to act on the question of non-returnable containers for the last six years, the government has done nothing more than to intensify the problem. It has created a situation which would result in employment disruptions and make a ban even more difficult.

The Solid Waste Task Force also studied this question of employment disruption by a ban on non-returnable bottles. While the container industry has estimated that 1,749 jobs would be lost by a ban, the analysis of the task force show that a ban on the use of disposable containers, would in fact result in employment for 2,435 people, a net increase in employment of 645 jobs.

I think it’s fair to say at this point that many of these jobs would be lower paying jobs than the jobs presently available. We should recognize that, and that certainly causes all of us, I’m sure, some concern.

The return of the system of returnable containers would save the consumer over $7 million, produce over 600 new jobs and have significant environmental effect. Obviously the Minister of the Environment has failed in his programme to persuade the soft drink industry to voluntarily bring refillable containers back into use, because consumer convenience, industry sales promotion and unwillingness of retailers to handle returnables, are strong deterrents to industry co-operation, and they effectively eliminate consumer choice.

It was in March, 1975, that the former Minister of the Environment called on the soft drink industry, including manufacturers, distributors, bottlers and retailers, to voluntarily increase the availability of returnables within a one-year period. The industry’s progress was monitored by the Waste Management Advisory Board. In its final report, however, the board most emphatically stated that the soft drink industry’s attempt of increasing the availability of returnables during the course of that year was discouraging to say the least.

The harsh facts of the matter are that results were to be expected. The government has tried to use this method of persuasion since 1970 with no concrete results. After six years, four ministers and innumerable meetings and reports, the non-returnable or the non-refillable still prevails as strong as ever.

As far as the Liberal Party is concerned, we endorse entirely the Waste Management Advisory Board recommendations of standardized container sizes for soft drinks by July of this year. That makes a lot of sense and it can be done quickly. Now is the time to do it before our complete conversion to metric is effected in 1977.

I think there is no question about the fact that if the programme to reduce solid waste is to be successful, it will not be sufficient to merely have returnable soft drink containers available on a widespread basis to consumers. The rate of trippage must be increased significantly.

To increase trippage, the system has to be made easier for the consumer, the bottler and the retailer. This is not possible with the great variety of bottles on the market today. Therefore standardized containers would benefit all concerned, and most definitely the consumer. Standard generic soft drink bottles would simplify the returning of empties, mean less cost to manufacturers, and thus would likely result in less retail costs for the consumer. There is no question in my mind that because of the highly competitive nature of the soft drink industry, it will only be through legislation forcing this change to standard generic bottles that industry-wide changes will be brought about.

Further, we believe that a phased-in ban on the throw-away battle is necessary. The industry should be given a year to readjust and a year would allow the government to monitor the employment situation as well.

The can is in a somewhat different position. It can be recovered and recycled and subjected to a programme of resource recovery much more readily. The clean-community system, which is a kind of municipally-oriented kind of programme, has reduced litter by more than 60 per cent in some United States cities where the programme originated.

In summary, Mr. Minister, the problem with enabling legislation is how it will be used. The first question has to be does this Act enable the progressive regulations which we hope will be written? The minister has indicated he does intend to take some real action, despite the total inaction on this question in the past by a succession of environmental ministers.

At least the minister’s waste management advisory board has done its best to enable a strong stance to be taken on this question. It is long overdue from our point of view and I hope the action will come to grips with some of these problems. In general terms, Mr. Speaker, the Liberal Party supports the ban on unnecessary and environmentally harmful packaging and we have said so on a number of occasions.

Let us not lose sight of the fact that action on non-refillable pop containers is only the first step in a war against the production of unnecessary garbage. What about non-carbonated soft drinks; wine, liquor and a host of other products now sold in extravagant one-shot packages? Action in these other areas is desperately required before we have a province full of garbage.

Mr. Mackenzie: Mr. Speaker, I rise to speak on this bill with some very mixed feelings and very grave reservations. It is not that I don’t believe we need some standards and some real efforts to conserve and reuse our waste containers because certainly in this province we do. I think the government is under pressure and in my opinion, for the usual reasons, has taken years to zero in on a problem and to satisfy the critics, but I am afraid the bill is more cosmetic than real. I don’t think it’s really tackling the basic issues that are involved.

My reservations are basically twofold: We are tackling the problem from the wrong end and we’re zeroing in, as a start, on the lesser items. I’m not really sure we’ve sorted out in our own minds whether it is a solid waste or a conservation or a litter problem. I’m not sure why it is bottles and cans or containers we start out with, rather than paper and plastics or styrofoam. It seems to me the real approach to this problem is a recycling approach and that is an expensive proposition. It has also a lot to say for it in terms of preserving the resources we have in this country. That is my first concern, that we are not tackling, really, the right problem or that we’re going about it the wrong way.

The second is we don’t adequately consider the dislocation that may be involved. It is my opinion that a ban on cans and bottles -- the non-returnable kind -- is going to result in a fair amount of employment loss. I don’t think there will be a gain, I disagree with the previous speaker on that. I am certain the new jobs in the handling of returnables will be at a heck of a lot lower wages for the people who are involved -- he is correct on that.

I think what we should be planning, rather than the recycling approach, is the retraining programme -- what we’re going to do with the people involved, how we are going to take care of the people who are losing their work. We’re not doing that at all in this bill. It is enabling legislation that is filled with references to standard packaging and containers and returnables and non-returnables.


I ought to point out, for just a moment, the sorry record of this province and this government in the area of alternate jobs, where a company has had to cut back or shut down various departments or close down a mill completely. We don’t have to look very far. I am still today, in Hamilton, running into people who are the residue of the shutdown of Studebaker. We can certainly look at Dunlop here in Toronto. We can see very recently, in Hamilton, that there are a lot of people still looking for work as a result of the closing of, I think the Glendale Spinning Mills, just about a year ago. We certainly haven’t given first consideration to the effect of anything we do on the employees involved.

We move to rationalize a service, to eliminate products, without really assessing what’s involved in the work force and without providing alternative employment. We have to consider the effect on the livelihood of the workers involved and their families, and I don’t think we are doing it. This is a real concern for workers -- for glass workers, for canning workers, for workers involved in rolled sheet steel production, some of them fellows I have worked with for quite some time. They have observed what happens to the workers in these other plants when they are phased out. I think we should understand the scepticism that they feel, and that they show.

I want to quote, just briefly, three very short paragraphs from a brief piece that I am sure most of you have seen in “Steel Labour”; it says:

“Our vital concern in the controversy is employment, but not just in the can industry. Other jobs are also jeopardized, in transportation, maintenance, and clerical operations, in aluminum and related base metal industries, down the line. Laws to ban or restrict beverage containers are politically expedient but not proven with research to be sound. They are inconsistent, and certain types of solid waste and litter are singled out. They are unfairly directed at only one small portion of the work force and the economy.”

I think that is a valid statement. They ask, I suppose, what are we really trying to do? Is it a ban on litter? They point out that if it is litter -- and I don’t think most of it is considered a litter problem, but certainly some people seem to get confused on this issue -- then we are dealing with three per cent of the litter in terms of cans; we are dealing with one per cent in terms of waste material. I am not sure if the figures on paper are accurate; for example, the last figure I saw was 47 per cent of the waste that you see on the roadside is paper.

Take a look, also, at some of the plastics. Some of the plastics we are using, and some of the plastic bags and containers also, are derivatives of the petroleum industry. We could get into the energy costs and comparative costs; there is another whole field here.

I just want to speak briefly and generally. I am not going to get into some of the figures that are available. There are a lot of them, and I have looked at them, but I am really wondering if we are taking a look at the right problem.

In my opinion, the proper route is recycling. It’s proper, in terms of protecting our resources and retaining our resources -- and there might be some employment lost there as well -- but I am not sure you can make an anti-litter argument justify this kind of legislation.

There is a programme, a very simple one, listed in this same edition of “Steel Labour.” I think it probably makes more sense than the programme we have on the books here. There are six short points: “Legislation against overpackaging to conserve resources and energy.” I suppose that’s two parts of this bill, and that, at least, I can understand.

“Providing technical assistance and financing for municipal reclamation and recycling plants.” The initial costs and capital costs are high, but I think the long-term savings may very well be an important thing in the future of our country.

The other points include:

“Long-time commitments to landfill programmes and incineration of garbage, which jeopardize recycling, must be stopped.

“Make it pay to recycle. Establish economic incentives that make recycling resources more attractive than virgin resource extraction.

“Set freight rates so that recycling materials can be moved more cheaply than virgin materials, because currently the reverse is true.

“Greater use of recycled materials in new products. Set minimum content levels and raise these standards over a period of time.”

I know, for example, that in the glass industry, in at least two of the plants now, they are using between 16 and 18 per cent of the soda ash they derive from the manufacture of new glass, new bottles. They can effectively use and certainly in the glass plant in Hamilton would use 40 per cent if it was available. It is not available. It seems to me that is one of the routes we should be going. In terms of the work forces involved, there is another thing we haven’t clearly thought out when we talk about the workers. It applies in both the can and the bottle industries. We have, for example, a very young workforce at the glass plant in Bramalea. We have a very old workforce, comparatively speaking, at the glass plant in Hamilton.

We have no control over the companies and nothing in this legislation says where they are going to switch the production or whether men with 10, 15 and 20 years are going to feel the pinch or whether the young chaps who have just started are going to feel the pinch. There are an awful lot of unanswered questions in terms of what we do with the people involved and what we are going to achieve with this particular bill.

The best I can say for it is that it is probably designed to set some packaging standards and to increase the number of returnable containers used. I can’t really argue with that but it seems to me that we are really tackling the wrong problem. Recycling and the effort we put into recycling is what we have to do. Before we make other moves which mean a straight ban or a phasing out, there has to be some serious thought and consideration as to what we are doing to the workers involved and how many of them are going to feel the pinch. This is my concern with this particular bill.

Mr. Nixon: Mr. Speaker, many have spoken already -- at least two have spoken as well as the minister -- about how long this problem has occupied the attention of the Legislature. The hon. member for Huron-Bruce (Mr. Gaunt), my colleague who is in Quebec city representing our party at an important inter-party convention at this time, has introduced on probably four occasions a specific bill which would have banned the non-returnable containers in those days. One of the arguments put forward so forcefully by the hon. member was that unless action were taken at that time, the problem would grow in proportion until it would become almost insoluble. Certainly his predictions have come true because during all the --

Mr. Lewis: Unsolvable.

Mr. Nixon: Unsolvable?

Mr. Lewis: Yes.

Mr. Nixon: Sorry.

Mr. Lewis: I am sorry.

Mr. Nixon: It’s all right. I sometimes mutter during your speeches, too.

Certainly the hon. member was correct in that prediction. If the minister in his previous incarnation as the minister responsible for matters of this type had stuck to his guns with his original commitment to ban non-returnable containers, we would have been able to do it with much less dislocation than we foresee in the future.

It is interesting that hon. members of the NDP representing constituencies such as, say, Hamilton East -- we will no doubt hear from Hamilton Centre (Mr. Davison) if he comes in tonight -- and some of the other constituencies are very properly putting before us the concern they feel because at this stage it is bound to have a dislocating effect on the employment situation. The non-returnable container business is a huge business and it has been growing very rapidly.

I sometimes feel embarrassed when I think of the many hours I have spent, along with my colleagues, listening to the compositions put by those who had such a large and growing vested interest in the very profitable non-returnable bottle business. I am thankful that we did not, let’s say, come under their blandishments to the extent that we could support their position and we have been uniformly in favour of the kind of ban which was used in the State of Oregon and which certainly is an example for us all.

The governor and the Legislature there had the fortitude, at a time when it was still relatively simple to achieve, to pass a ban. And believe me the interests, as they would no doubt be called anywhere, came down in full force against them, saying that it would not work and that a state such as Oregon could not close its borders to the business of the rest of the states and so on, but they stuck to their guns and it has been successful. While they have had some problems in many respects it has been a model for what we should do here.

We have heard about the phasing-in of new regulations now for many, many years. I would regretfully come to the conclusion that it would not be responsible for this House to pass a banning bill without some procedure whereby at least the industry and the workforce involved and the capital involved would have a reasonable period of time to accommodate themselves. But I think probably our view of what that accommodation is is going to be somewhat different from that which may be put forward by others.

Certainly you can, with great fanfare, set a phasing-in period of a number of years which is going to be meaningless. But I think one of the most effective things which was done by this Legislature was the acceptance of the private legislation from the city of Windsor. They petitioned the House for the power to establish a ban at the municipal level and that power was granted to them by the private bills committee and supported by the Legislature. Now they have the power to ban non-returnable containers and I look forward to the day in the not too distant future when they will do so.

I said a moment ago that I felt there had to be some phasing, and I will tell you, Mr. Speaker, that if Windsor decides to ban them overnight I don’t see anything wrong with that, because it doesn’t mean that the whole industry in the province is dislocated. If the government through inability to act strongly in this regard has been unable to come in with some meaningful programme of phasing, I suppose we may see that phasing is going to be on some kind of a geographical approach and that Windsor, I hope, will move to accomplish such a ban. Maybe it will be a good lesson to the industry far and wide that this Legislature and the representatives of the people here do mean business in this respect. I can remember when the member for Huron-Bruce first presented his bill and this was -- what year, Harry?

Mr. Worton: In 1970.

Mr. Nixon: In 1970. It was debated and I can remember that it was supported on all sides, but rather half-heartedly by the government, who said think of the capital that is involved in this new and expanding technology. I’m sure the hon. minister will remember the speech. He may have made it himself. I should have looked it up so that I could quote whoever it was. But I can recall very distinctly that while the members of the government party were prepared to accept the principle of a ban they said think of the capital involved and certainly, recognizing the importance of the free-enterprise system, we cannot stamp out the initiative that has gone forward already.

This, mind you, was in 1970. A somewhat similar presentation came from the NDP. They said, we believe in principle that the containers should be banned, but look at the labour involvement. There is no way we can do this because of the lives of the individuals involved in a technology that is expanding so rapidly.

You can imagine how much more complex the ban is now than it was when it was first brought to debate in this House by the hon. member for Huron-Bruce six years ago. I regret very much that we did not, as a Legislature, take the strong action that we could have taken then. There was already an example in the jurisdiction that I have referred to. They were having problems, but if we joined with them it would have been my view that it would be something like the seatbelt legislation -- not too easy to begin with, but the advantages become relatively apparent and other jurisdictions will follow along.

I regret very much that we haven’t taken strong action in the past. I agree that this Bill 81 gives the kind of power that the minister feels he requires in order to bring about the regulations that will achieve the desire that I and my colleagues feel is so important.

I am very concerned with the conception of what a phasing-in of a ban might be. I’m quite sure we will be treated, during the debate tonight, to a number of views from the party to our right the NUP. They have a strong core of conservationists and, very properly, they have a strong core of members who must talk for their constituents who are concerned with their paycheque and their employment. I suppose, in this instance, they will be able to balance it in some way or another.


We’ll see when their amendment comes in, but I would think, while the amendment may be couched in terms very much dedicated to the abolition of the non-returnable container, it will not put any undue pressure on the industry to accomplish it. I am very much concerned on that basis we might not be able to support an amendment which in its concept would be good. It may be that we will have to consider an amendment giving it even more effect than they are contemplating.

This is a matter of judgement and from our various backgrounds and views of the problem our judgements perhaps would differ. But we are in a position to take a stand here which will follow up on the decision taken by the private bills committee, supported by all parties which gave the municipality of Windsor the power to ban these without any phasing in at all and which apparently the city of Windsor will be moving on without too much delay. We are prepared, as our critic in this matter said in his effective speech a few moments ago, to support the bill but we really are serious about moving towards a ban on non-returnable containers. We want some sort of a statement from this House so that the industry will know we are not kidding and that it is not just necessary for them to phone up the minister the next day and make an appointment and come down with all of their statistics and the rest of that information they carry around with them to have it postponed still further.

I would think that this is the time when this House must more than go on record; it must make a decision that we are going to ban the non-returnable container, that it is not going to be flaccid in any way, that it is going to be specific and that we are going to set our hand very firmly to the accomplishment of what has got to be an important goal for the good of the province.

Mr. Speaker: The member for Timiskaming.

Mr. Nixon: This guy looks like a conservationist to me.

An hon. member: He is a farmer.

Mr. Davidson: I hope Hansard got that.

Mr. Bain: This evening, as I rise to participate in the debate on Bill 81, I feel we have to put the bill into proper context. We are faced in this modern society of ours with an increasing number of throw-away items that have become, I feel, one of the dilemmas of our modern age. Even the automobile is designed to rust out; it is certainly not built to last. We are encouraged to consume things we don’t really need; more and more chemicals are dumped onto the land and into the water. Aerosol spray cans are used. They are not needed. No one bans them, despite the fact they are destroying the ozone layer and are contributing and will continue to contribute to an ever-increasing amount of skin cancer.

We are using up much of our vital non-renewable resources in this kind of useless production and consumption. The pile of garbage continues to grow. Really, we know what is going to happen. Dr. Forrester of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology did a study at the beginning of this decade which indicated rather clearly that if the trends of production, consumption, pollution and utilization of natural resources continued, shortly after the turn of the century our society will collapse on itself simply because it will no longer be able to sustain this kind of consumption.

When we look at any product I feel we should look at it from the point of view of a utility, its usefulness. If it is not really a product that we need, we should limit it, discourage it or ban it. Plastic bags certainly serve no useful purpose. You go to a supermarket today and buy fruit and vegetables and you can’t get a paper bag in many of the supermarkets, they put it in a plastic bag. These plastic bags don’t decompose. They remain in garbage dumps forever in many cases or at least for a considerable length of time. The most useless of modern inventions has recently come on the market, the disposable cigarette lighter. Whoever invented that I think will go down in history as the saviour of mankind. With all these disposable, non-returnable items that we are producing the pile of garbage grows ever greater. We look at non-refillable pop containers and we see that this again is part of the problem of solid waste. But in this particular case there doesn’t need to be a problem. There is a refillable container that can be used. We don’t need to use non-refillable containers and I feel we should get away from them as soon as possible.

The non-refillable container has experienced a remarkable growth since it was first introduced in 1962. By 1971 cans had captured 50.7 per cent of the soft-drink container market and the non-refillable glass bottles had another 10 per cent. By 1975 the non-refillables were up to 69.2 per cent of the province’s soft drink container market.

It’s not surprising that with the advent of a non-refillable container you have many conservation groups concerned about this problem. The Federation of Ontario Naturalists in November, 1970, launched a very successful campaign, a mail-in of non-refillable cans campaign, involving the then Premier of the province, John Robarts. In fact it was so successful that he was literally inundated with them and within a week his office refused to accept them through the mail. Upon the heels of this protest, the then Minister of Energy and Resources Management -- the present Minister of the Environment (Mr. Kerr) -- announced there would be legislation the next session of the Legislature restricting or banning no-deposit, no-return soft drink containers. That was in 1970. Finally, this evening, we are debating a bill that potentially could do that. It would seem the wheels of government turn very slowly in this province.

In 1972, a new Minister of the Environment (Mr. Auld) -- by that time that ministry had been set up -- announced the formation of a Solid Waste Task Force. One of the subcommittees of that task force, the beverage packaging working group, did a study which addressed itself to some of these problems. It’s rather remarkable, considering the composition of the beverage packaging working group, that they came up with some of the conclusions that they did. Suffice to say that most of the people on this working group were representatives of the industry itself and there was very poor representation from consumers and environmentalists. But despite this, the working group did conclude that the returnable container was far superior to the non-returnable in terms of energy consumption and waste generation and that this should be the direction in which we were going.

Then, in 1974, we had a new Minister of the Environment (Mr. W. Newman), the present Minister of Agriculture and Food. I don’t know whether it’s a hazard of this particular ministry or just a hazard of the government in general, but the ministers tend to shift around a lot. He was a little less forthcoming in his commitment to returnable containers. He didn’t accept the working group’s belief that we should be going toward returnable containers. He pretty well shelved it, didn’t do anything about it. Then we had the September, 1975, provincial election which brought the Ministry of the Environment cabinet ministers full circle. We ended up again with the present minister (Mr. Kerr) who in this House this spring tabled the report that dealt with carbonated soft drink containers in Ontario emanating from the Waste Management Advisory Board.

One of its recommendations which has already been referred to by my colleague the member for Durham West (Mr. Godfrey) was that by April 1, 1979, no carbonated soft drinks were to be sold in non-refillable containers. But the minister still hasn’t really acted on this, and tonight we are debating a bill that is not clear as to whether the government is going to actually ban non-refillable pop containers. Certainly the bill is so open-ended that you could ban non-refillable pop containers by using the bill, but it would appear from statements by the minister that he doesn’t intend to do this, rather he intends to make the non-refillable and refillable containers available to the consumer in the supermarkets and corner stores, and he plans to encourage the consumers to buy more returnable bottles and cans. Cans would become returnable, perhaps, in the sense that you would place a deposit on them as well, and therefore there would be some incentive to return them.

This, of course, is better than nothing. This kind of approach has worked reasonably well in the beer industry, where a deposit on cans has meant that presently only 1.2 per cent of the containers sold in the beer industry are cans, so that is certainly a step in the right direction.

I think it is an incomplete step. The whole area of recycling has been one that has been neglected by the government. I was more than a little bit disturbed to notice in the weekend of June 12 issue of the Toronto Star there was an article that dealt with this matter of reclaiming and recycling and that many people who have religiously bundled up the newspapers and separated their bottles and put them out for garbage with the thought they were going into recycling, they actually have found out now that they are going to be disposed of in the normal manner of all other garbage; they’re not even being recycled. Even the average person who wants to become involved in recycling doesn’t have the opportunity to them to be able to do that.

We have countless groups, the Federation of Ontario Naturalists, United Steelworkers, Pollution Probe, which have all been pushing the government to get into a comprehensive policy of waste management. As I’ve indicated tonight, the non-returnable pop container is only one area to which we have to address ourselves.

I feel it is absolutely essential that we ban non-returnable pop containers, but I also feel it is essential we protect the jobs of the workers involved, that we not do it in a fashion that is going to put people out of work. This past weekend, at our convention, we passed a resolution which supported the elimination of non-returnable beverage containers over a five-year period. We also strongly endorsed another part of this resolution which said that an NDP government would develop an overall labour policy which would protect workers in industries affected by environmental policies.

Mr. S. Smith: How, pray tell?

Mr. Davidson: You wouldn’t understand that.

Mr. Bain: This I find myself to be the key --

Mr. S. Smith: Sure, sure; you talk out of two sides of your mouth.

Mr. Bain: You should know; I can take lessons from you if you’d like me to sit down.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please.

Mr. S. Smith: I thought I was good at it, but I have a lot to learn listening to you people.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please. The hon. member for Timiskaming.

Mr. Bain: This is the key to our consideration of the banning of non-returnable pop containers, you can’t do things in isolation.

As I mentioned in the beginning of my speech, the non-returnable pop container is part of an overall waste problem, it’s also part of a larger utilization of our non-renewable natural resources, it’s a part of the overall environment in which we live; and you can’t isolate one aspect. It’s important that as we embark upon what I hope in the next few years will be sound environmental policies, sound utilization of our non-renewable natural resources, that we will provide protection for the people who are presently working in the areas of industry which will experience dislocation.


This is why I feel it is incumbent upon the government to set up programmes which would retrain people; to set up programmes which would provide for early retirement, on full pension, of people who were dislocated; and to provide a series of ways whereby people who are presently employed in the can and non-returnable bottle industry would not lose their jobs. I don’t feel this kind of a programme would place undue stress on the province’s financial assets because if we were to phase in this ban on non-returnable soft drink containers over five years there would be attrition through natural retirement. It would mean that many people in the industry would have retired and therefore we wouldn’t have the problem of having to pension them off for early retirement.

The can and soft drink bottle sections of the industries also produce other glass containers as well as other cans. As the use of cans for other foods increases with the natural increase in population we would have some of these people transferred from the production of soft drink cans to the production of other food cans.

I don’t think we can leave job security to the open market. We have to make a commitment -- the minister has to make a commitment as the government -- to make sure that no one suffers dislocation because of environmental policies. They are environmental policies which I feel are very essential -- in particular this evening, an environmental policy which would ban the non-refillable pop container.

As we consider the situation of the non-refillable pop container I think it’s important for us to remember this part of the pollution problem is fairly severe. For example, if the non-refillable containers had been banned in 1972 the volume of solid waste from soft drink containers would have been reduced by 67.9 per cent. This would have represented a reduction in solid waste collection and disposal costs of $1,753,000. There would have been a saving in energy of $3,921,000 and there would have been a reduction -- by 50 per cent -- in the number of soft drink containers we find in our litter. There would also have been a reduction of 59,000 tons in the amount of non-renewable resources used. There is a considerable saving to be made if we do embark upon a ban on non-returnable pop containers.

There has been a lot of discussion about trippage for these bottles if they are reusable. I won’t get into the argument of all these statistics but I think it’s important to realize that if we had only refillable containers, we would probably end up with enough trips for each bottle to make it more than economical and more than a wise move in terms of energy and conservation of non-renewable resources. It would probably be similar to the situation with the beer bottle, which has a trippage or rate of return of 20 trips per bottle and that certainly is economical.

An hon. member: Put everything in a beer bottle.

Mr. Bain: The banning of the non-refillable pop container is a first step in a wise conservation policy. It’s essential that the workers be safeguarded in this and all other moves to protect the environment. Most important, it’s essential that we make that commitment to ban these non-refillable pop containers now. If we do that we are starting on the road to wise management and the wise use of our environment and the wise use of our natural resources.

Mr. B. Newman: I wanted to make a few comments concerning Bill 81. I rise at the same time to support the bill, even though I would have preferred to have seen the minister take what action the city of Windsor did approximately one month ago; that was to actually ban the bottle.

I am just as concerned as any member in the House about the loss of jobs as a result of a shift back to a returnable container from the non-returnable and from the metal can. I have sympathy for the workers who may be displaced as a result of that, and for their families. But, Mr. Speaker, remember the reverse took place not too long ago when we went into the non-returnable bottle. We had bottling plants in almost every sizeable municipality in Ontario. There were pop bottling plants, and breweries also.

With the advent of non-returnable containers the jobs became concentrated in the bigger municipalities -- Hamilton, Toronto and other centres that I don’t know about. So you can see a lot of the jobs were lost when they phased out the small bottlers in each one of the communities. In my own city at one time there were five soft drink bottling plants. Today there is only one, and it is as a result of that. Think of the number of jobs that were lost in that transition period.

I think if we get to banning the non-returnable container there might be a swing once again to the smaller communities, you would have the industry settling back in the areas which they left earlier. In fact, I hope during the course of my comments to point out that banning the non-returnable bottles, according to studies conducted in one of the states, will result in a gain in jobs. The gain may not have been in the higher paying jobs, but the overall number of jobs actually increased substantially, according to the statistics I have in one of the reports that I will read later on.

It was back in 1970, as has been mentioned earlier, that my colleague, the member for Huron-Bruce (Mr. Gaunt), introduced a private member’s bill. That bill was supported by all parties in the House. They saw the problems we were going to be confronted with in waste management, in discarding of the non-returnable bottle in every place in the community one could possibly think of and the hazard as a result of broken bottles throughout the countryside.

Government has failed to act since then. Community after community has asked this government to take some action. I don’t have all the various resolutions passed by communities that were endorsed by the city of Windsor, but I will bring several of them to the attention of the House.

On Oct. 15, 1974, the township of Gloucester passed a resolution about what we are debating here this evening, and that was likewise presented to the ministry. On June 16, 1975, the city of Peterborough presented a resolution concerning the topic under discussion. On June 23, 1975, the township of March did exactly the same thing. My own community endorsed all of these resolutions. They were as interested as other communities in the province to see that the problem of the non-returnable bottle be met, after a fashion, so that at least that litter problem would have been diminished or minimized. The city of Windsor was so frustrated by the lack of action on the part of the government that they actually introduced the private member’s bill on April 12 hoping that the ministry, seeing it, would expedite its legislation and copy what they were suggesting be done.

The city delayed following up on the legislation because the minister had intended to introduce his own legislation, but the legislation that the minister introduced, that we are debating this evening, didn’t quite meet the needs of the community or what the community foresaw that the minister should have introduced. As a result they proceeded with the bill and the private bills committee in their wisdom accepted the bill and so did the Legislature, which passed it unanimously.

Mr. Speaker, there isn’t one of us in this House who hasn’t been confronted by residents in the community asking for action against the non-returnable container, or some way of controlling it. I can recall attending meetings back in the sixties at the University of Windsor in which the environmentalists were extremely concerned and pressed their point for the need of some type of control over the non-returnable container.

Some jurisdictions have resolved the problem. The State of Oregon under the leadership of the then Governor Tom McCall, did pass legislation that banned non-returnable and soft drink cans. There was a bit of trepidation when it was first introduced; there was the concern that, yes, there would be a substantial loss of lobs, and that people would not accept such legislation. However, let me tell you, Mr. Speaker, that the words of the former governor, Tom McCall -- and they have an unusual elective system where a governor cannot succeed himself; after one term of office he leaves and someone else takes over. In a comment at a meeting in East Lansing he said, concerning the soft drink can and throw-away bottle:

“It is the most strongly symbolic issue we have in Oregon and it serves as a bridge from a wasteful society to a husbanding society. It fosters the cleanup ethic.”

Continuing with his comments:

“It is the most lied-about piece of legislation in history. The country’s big breweries [he said] are sanctimonious as hell about all the jobs that stand to be lost, but the facts are that through consolidation into big regional breweries, they have killed off 12,000 of their own jobs.”

So you can see those who resisted this in the first instance were responsible for a very substantial loss of employment by centralizing and concentrating their manufacturing process in one community, rather than having smaller plants throughout the state.

I am quoting again from the former Governor Tom McCall:

“In Oregon the bottle bill has created employment. The price of beer and soft drinks is not higher. Our roadsides are cleaner and Oregonians are in landslide approval of the law.”

This is Tom McCall speaking, not a governor but as a private citizen after this legislation had passed and after it had been in effect for approximately two years.


Mr. Lewis: When was that statement made?

Mr. B. Newman: This statement? March 27, 1976.

An hon. member: Right up to date.

Mr. Cunningham: Was he defeated?

Mr. B. Newman: I don’t know whether I said only one term. Did I say one term? In Oregon you are allowed to be in office for two terms -- eight years in all -- and then you cannot run for that same public office again. So he has had eight years in which to prepare this legislation.

Mr. Lewis: Just eight years as governor?

Mr. B. Newman: If I said one term, I stand corrected and would like it known that it was eight years.

Hon. Mr. Kerr: Terms are only two years.

Mr. B. Newman: Gov. McCall also makes this comment: “We have to reduce our standard of living somewhat -- not to the extent that it is a spartan existence, but from the opulent to merely the affluent society.” So one can see that the man who pioneered this kind of legislation in the United States speaks with some authority. In fact, when asked what he would do in the State of Michigan to clean up, he said, it would begin with a ban on beer and soft drink cans and throw-away bottles, and then he commented: “Why in the hell don’t you have it?”

Mr. Lewis: He used “why in the hell” often.

Mr. B. Newman: The Oregon Highway Department found that as a result of the state’s bottle law, after it had been in effect only one year, beverage containers and roadside litter dropped by 92 per cent. The legislation was so effective that Vermont and South Dakota followed Oregon, and I understand the State of Maine is to vote on similar legislation some time this fall.

Michigan itself is considering such legislation. They must first have a petition with 300,000 signatures, I believe, so that legislation can be put on the ballot. The Michigan Public Service Commission conducted a study in 1975, and that study concluded that “although some job displacement would occur when the transition was being made to a returnable system, nearly five times as many jobs would be created overall. The anticipated 4,000 new jobs would generate $28 million in taxable income.” Those are the comments of a Mr. Tom Washington concerning a Michigan Public Service Commission study conducted only last year, 1975.

The commission’s majority reservations about energy saving and litter prevention are even less justifiable. The throw-away container manufacturing industry is one of the most energy-intensive industries, and this year alone will use an estimated one gallon of oil for every 10 lb of aluminum processed in the can industry.

The State of Michigan itself, by the way, spends approximately $2 million on cleaning up litter, which is essentially bottles and cans.

Market Opinion Research conducted a survey for the governor of the State of Michigan, Governor Milliken. They asked people if they favoured or opposed a state law banning non-returnables. The percentage of those who favoured such a law went like this for the areas of that state: In Wayne county, which is just across the river from Windsor and essentially the city of Detroit, 69.8 per cent favoured it; in Lansing, the capital city, 75.9 per cent favoured it; in Macomb county, which is north of the city of Detroit, 78.7. Then when they went to the western part of the state, the percentage went up to 81. In Grand Rapids and Kalamazoo, 81.8 per cent of those who were surveyed by Market Opinion Research favoured the banning of the non-returnables.

In all, in the whole state, 73.3 per cent of those questioned favoured a ban on no-deposit, no-return bottles and cans. You can see, Mr. Speaker, in public opinion surveys the public does want the elimination of the non-returnable. As I said earlier, there is the concern for the loss of jobs. However, statistics in both Oregon and in the State of Michigan don’t indicate there will be loss of employment at all.

Mr. Davidson: Non-productive states.

Mr. B. Newman: As I said, I don’t know the type of employment that would be lost. As one of the previous speakers said, it may be the higher-paid employment that may suffer and the lower-paid employment that will increase. I don’t know. I want to be fair with that and I am concerned. I certainly don’t want to see people losing their jobs, especially at this period when there is a substantial percentage of unemployed in the Province of Ontario.

The city of Windsor does not intend to come along and simply ride roughshod over the bottling industry and the employees in these industries just like that simply because they have the right to pass the legislation. They are going through what I think is a proper procedure. They are going to pass a bylaw but, first, they have set up a committee that is going to see how this bylaw should read, what the bylaw should contain and exactly how it should be implemented. They are going to get public input into their bylaw so that it would have the least harmful effect possible, if there is going to be a harmful effect.

Mr. Acting Speaker: Order, please. I think the hon. member is wandering from the principle of this bill. Would you kindly return to it?

Mr. Haggerty: He is right on it.

Mr. B. Newman: Mr. Speaker, those were almost my concluding remarks and that’s why I did wander to show you that, because of the lack of action on the part of your government, the city has had to ask for private legislation to do what really should have been done by the government. We hope that any regulations that eventually end up from this are phased in so that there is a minimum amount of loss to anyone involved.

Mr. Kennedy: I just want to speak briefly on the bill.

Mr. Lewis: Don’t make it brief.

Mr. Kennedy: I will say what I have to say and let others take over. I am sure the subject will be exhausted by the time the second reading is completed. As the member who introduced the first private member’s bill to ban the returnable bottle some years ago, I have a considerable interest in the solid waste programme problem, and that’s what this is really about. Subsequently, there was a much greater interest in cans. The initial outcry, if that’s the proper word, was against the bottles and broken glass and that is the thing that bothers me far more than the cans, because though we don’t like to see them littering the landscape either, there isn’t the menace with cans that there is with broken glass.

Following the introduction and debate of the private bill, I got a great deal of flak from the industry and from employees, and understandably so. But there was also commendation from those who saw only the undesirable results of indiscriminate use of bottles and scattering them around. I recall bringing in a bottle that was razor sharp and had been taken from about two feet of water at a very fine beach where a child had suffered a severe laceration of the foot by stepping on it. So it was in this respect that my concern was mostly centred.

However, quite properly, the whole matter of solid waste came into focus and it’s been an ongoing subject. I do think that this bill -- and I commend the minister for it, it’s a step forward -- will go a long way to moving towards public awareness with the final result that there will be a lessening of the problem which we know exists and are striving to do something about, without dislocating industry and the spinoff from that industry, the whole distribution system of a multi-million-dollar industry and its many thousands of employees. We don’t want to do this. I think that the bill is a move in this direction.

The move towards standardization of bottles, I think, is an excellent one. This should make more efficient the recovery and return of bottles -- and I suppose you could use the brewing industry as an example. The competitive spirit isn’t harmed. They can use different labelling materials.

I know the industry will find a way and yet, through standardization I think there’d be a more efficient distribution of soft drinks and other allied products that are the worry with which we’re confronted here.

With those few remarks, Mr. Speaker, I commend the minister and I certainly support him in this bill.

Mr. Davidson: I too must rise to speak to this bill and, as my colleague from Hamilton East, I do so with varied thoughts and varied consideration as to what this bill in fact means. When we discuss this kind of bill we are talking not only about the environmental aspect and what that means to the people within the Province of Ontario. We must also take into consideration the people who work at the industries that produce and provide these containers and what in fact is going to happen to them if we move too swiftly to implement an outright ban in this area.

I’m a little bit taken with awe and, I suspect, inward laughability at the manner in which the Liberal Party is reaching out to embrace the environmentalists in the Province of Ontario.

Mr. Breithaupt: We’re not putting them off for five years at least.

Mr. Davidson: I may very well say this, Mr. Speaker, because --

Hon. Mr. Kerr: They need all the friends they can get.

Mr. S. Smith: Not at the expense of environmental principles.

Mr. Davidson: -- it was only a few days ago that they reached out desperately to embrace the labour movement in this province and introduced, I believe, a series of six or seven bills to amend the Labour Relations Act.

Mr. Breithaupt: Eight.

Mr. S. Smith: Nine.

Mr. Davidson: Whatever it may be. The number doesn’t really matter.

Mr. S. Smith: Do I hear 11?

Mr. Grossman: Do I hear 10?


Mr. Davidson: Most of which had been introduced by the party either through private members’ bills before or had certainly had been discussed and talked about by members in the New Democratic Party many years ago and have been consistently followed up, up to this day.

Mr. S. Smith: We have really got you worried.

Mr. Davidson: You need have no concern about my worry with regard to the labour movement, I can assure you of that.

Mr. Breithaupt: You haven’t got the monopoly on the labour movement.

Mr. S. Smith: Not our brother’s keeper.

Mr. Davidson: And yet today their lead-off speaker who, I suspected, in his remarks was going to discuss the overall job potential loss in regard to this bill, simply casually mentioned there was the possibility of a loss of 1,794 jobs that would occur because of this. I would suspect that he took that figure out of one of the environmental task force reports because he certainly did not research it with the labour movement in this province. He did not contact the people that were involved and he did not discuss with them what would happen to people with jobs in the industries we are talking about. Had he done that, had he found these so-called people that he or his party suddenly became so concerned about --

Mr. Cunningham: Since 1970 is suddenly?

Mr. Davidson: -- he would have found that in the can industry alone there are approximately 3,000 jobs at stake and in the glass and bottle industry there are between 600 and 1,000 jobs at stake for a total of anywhere between 3,600 and 4,000 jobs and not the 1,794 that he mentioned during his remarks.

Mr. Cunningham: What are you going to do about it?

Mr. Moffatt: Just listen.

Mr. Lewis: You are supporting the bill, aren’t you; on an amendment to make it work?

An hon. member: So are you.

Mr. Cunningham: When, in 1981?

Mr. Breithaupt: In 1984.

Mr. Davidson: I would suggest to you that the concern of this party is twofold.

Mr. S. Smith: The socialist party and the labour party, and there isn’t room for both.

Mr. Cunningham: There will be no dumps left.


Mr. Davidson: We are concerned with the effect of the non-returnable, non-refillable bottle and can in the Province of Ontario.

Mr. S. Smith: Yes, but.

Mr. Davidson: We are as much concerned as the party which is geographically on our left, but philosophically further to the right than the Conservatives. I can assure you we are as concerned as anyone who sits in this Legislature.

Mr. S. Smith: Yes, but.

Mr. Davidson: No buts. We are also concerned with the effect that this is going to have on the people that work in the industry, and not only them but the families they represent in this province. I think there is one thing that the Liberal Party in this province is failing to recognize and that is that the consumers are also the working people in this province.

Mr. S. Smith: And the unions run the NDP.

Mr. Davidson: The working people are also concerned about what in fact is going to happen at both levels and not just one.

Mr. S. Smith: You’ll never be able to decide anything.

Mr. Moffatt: Oh, listen!

Mr. Cunningham: This is the time for strength here.

Mr. Acting Speaker: Order, please.

Mr. Davidson: I find it is not necessary to respond to the leader of the Liberal Party because whatever he has said in his term here has been irrevelant.

Mr. Breithaupt: Did he say irreverent?

Mr. Davidson: Yes.

Mr. S. Smith: Irreverent maybe, but irrevelant no.

An hon. member: Where’s Pat Lawlor?

Mr. Acting Speaker: Order, please.

Mr. Davidson: However you say it, it means the same.

Mr. S. Smith: There is the proof of the educational standard today.

Mr. Cunningham: Tomorrow back to school.

An hon. member: Send them all back to school.

Mr. Davidson: The member for Brant-Oxford-Norfolk indicated that this party had supported in the private member’s bill the resolution from the city of Windsor. I would like to say with the greatest of respect that the member for Brant-Oxford-Norfolk misread what in fact happened. Had he checked the number of members in the New Democratic Party that were sitting on that committee he would have recognized the fact that two out of the three people present at that time did vote against the Windsor bill.

Mr. S. Smith: And the third one, pray tell? Can we assume all your decisions will not be two to one but two against one?

Mr. Davidson: Support comes in not one person against two but two against one.

Mr. Cunningham: A split decision.

Mr. Davidson: And I am not ashamed to say that.

No, I am ashamed to say that there are within our party at the present time probably a few little differences of opinion relating to this bill. At least, in saying that I can say this, that when it comes to the crux we will stand united and we will stand in the manner that we as a party have agreed to stand and we will not flip-flop across the country as other parties in this Legislature appear to be doing.


Mr. Davidson: Now, getting back, when my colleague from Hamilton East (Mr. Mackenzie) stood up one of the comments I originally heard was, “Now we are going to hear a trade unionist.” You know, “Here comes the trade unions’ party.” Let me assure you, Mr. Minister, I am a trade unionist. I have come out of the labour movement; I am not ashamed of that. Nor am I ashamed to sit here as a New Democrat and put forward the policies and the programme of the party as it relates to the people who work in the union industry.

Mr. Breithaupt: As you see it.

Mr. S. Smith: You shouldn’t be afraid of being a trade unionist. Being a New Democrat is a different question.

Mr. Cunningham: Are people going to stop drink beverages, is that what you are saying?

Mr. Acting Speaker: Order, please.

Mr. Davidson: We have heard from several speakers of the Liberal Party about the so-called Oregon situation and how they seem to take that to their bosom and claim that to be the overall project that everyone should accept and use as a model.

Mr. Breithaupt: Like the member for Durham West (Mr. Godfrey).

Mr. Cunningham: Just because it didn’t come from NDP research doesn’t mean it’s not a good idea.

Mr. Davidson: I think, first of all, the minister has to understand one thing. I am quite sure he is aware of it; I am sure he has seen the studies; I am sure he understands the Oregon situation.

Oregon is a non-productive state in the terms of which we are talking. Most of what they have is imported. Their business in this line is trucking. Most of the bottles and cans come from outside the State of Oregon and it cannot in any possible way relate to Ontario, where the production of the product we are referring to is a part of the economic situation under which we have to live and under which the government has to put forward its policy with regard to moneys raised and moneys spent.

Mr. B. Newman: Do you deny the Oregon experiment is a valid one?

Mr. Davidson: I am not saying it is not valid. I am saying it doesn’t make any difference. It can’t be applicable.

Mr. Lewis: Don’t quote Tom McCall. He is frankly a dubious authority on the Oregon situation, and I will give you chapter and verse.

Mr. Acting Speaker: Order please. The hon. member will continue.

Mr. Davidson: I do not intend to speak any longer on this subject -- you can applaud all you like. I would simply like to say that I feel that this bill is heading in the right direction providing that the bill is applied in the proper manner. I feel there has to be consideration given to the people who are working in the industry that produce the products that we are considering putting out of existence. If we are going to talk about an outright ban on this, surely we must also talk about suitable retraining programmes for the people who are involved. We must give consideration that those who are not able to be retrained should be put in a position that perhaps they can take early retirement with full benefits.

These are things that are of concern to us. These are matters which I am sure that the minister has taken into consideration, for I have long felt that he perhaps is one of those who understands far better than any other on that side --

Mr. Breithaupt: What it is like to be redundant.

Mr. Davidson: -- the value of putting programmes into effect and making sure that there are compensable programmes to balance them out. And to the minister I say this: We in this party are on his side in the putting forward of this bill, providing, of course, that he does consider the things that we have been discussing with regard to jobs, the phasing-out of the programme, and what it means to the economic situation in the Province of Ontario in terms of dollars.

Mr. Cunningham: We agree.

Mr. R. S. Smith: I just have a few comments to make, Mr. Speaker --

Mr. Moffatt: Hurray.

Mr. R. S. Smith: I will try not to be as provocative as some of the previous speakers on my philosophical and otherwise right.

Mr. Angus: Geographic right.

Mr. R. S. Smith: Geographic. Thank you very much.

Mr. Angus: You’re welcome -- any time.

Mr. R. S. Smith: I will accept your assistance any time.

I would think that there are perhaps three areas where this ministry has really proved to be unsuccessful over the years; this is one of them, one of the other two being the question of the pollution by the pulp and paper industry in northern Ontario, which has created such great problems. In 1965, I think, the then minister indicated there was a five-year programme that would clear up the whole situation by 1970. Eleven years later, just a few months ago, we had the same pronouncement from this minister, that indicates his success, and the success of this government, in that area.

The other thing that perhaps bothers a lot of us is the inability of this minister to deal with the Dow situation, which has now gone on for four or five years; between his efforts and those of the Attorney General, it is rather a farce.

The third situation, which we are now speaking of tonight, further indicates the inability of this ministry and the government to deal properly with the situations as they arise. There is no question that for a period of seven or eight years now, the no-return, no-deposit bottle should have been banned -- perhaps in a phased way, as was indicated by a number of speakers, both here and on my right -- in order to protect those people who would suffer directly. But it is odd that those people on my right didn’t think that way about the jobs in northeastern Ontario when we talked about assistance to Texasgulf Sulphur -- I am sure the member for Cochrane South (Mr. Ferrier) would certainly agree with me on that, as he voted in opposition to his party at that time -- to protect certain jobs in northern Ontario. I suppose it doesn’t really matter to them in northern Ontario, because they feel they are in a very good position there, but they have got to protect those jobs in southern Ontario. They have the same concept as the government insofar as that’s concerned: What’s good for southern Ontario is not necessarily good for the north. One can draw that conclusion --

Mr. Moffatt: That is really sanctimonious.

Mr. R. S. Smith: Well, that’s the hon. member’s opinion and his opinion is not too highly regarded either.

Because it is factual. If the hon. member will look back in the record, he will see that it’s factual.

Ms. Gigantes: What is your position?

Mr. Acting Speaker: Order, please. Would the hon. member continue his remarks on the principle of the bill on second reading?

Mr. R. S. Smith: Our position is very clear, and has been since 1970 when the member who sits to my exact right put forward a private member’s bill in this Legislature which would have banned non-returnable and no-deposit bottles.

Beyond that, I would like to say to the minister himself that his attempts to deal with the industry have been singularly unsuccessful, and the fact that almost 70 per cent of the pop sold in this province now is in non-returnable containers indicates that over the past years they have not listened to him, nor have they listened to this government.

Mr. Warner: He is embarrassed about it.

Mr. Davidson: Give him the figures I read out.

Mr. R. S. Smith: I repeat: 69.7 per cent of the pop now sold in this province is in non-returnable or no-deposit containers. I believe, of course, that recycling is the eventual answer, but we can’t get to that in time to solve the environmental problems that exist right across this province.

I also believe that a part of the problem is the fact that the government, through its police agencies, has not had the ability, the wish or the desire to enforce the anti-littering laws that are on the books. If they were enforced, there might not be the outcry for the banning of non-returnable and non-refillable bottles. They haven’t been enforced and they are a part of the total situation that can’t be ignored.


Most of the environmental problems we have are along the roadsides and in the parks and in the areas outside the municipalities, where the non-disposable containers are left at will by people who are breaking the laws that govern littering within the province. So, it is twofold. It is the fact that they are allowed to be used in the first place, and the fact that the legislation that is now on the books that govern their disposal is not enforced.

I would say it is very difficult for us to support a bill that indicates we are giving to a minister and a ministry, which has proved in the past that it is not really serious in regard to the many areas of environmental protection that exists in this province, the right to govern by regulation. That’s in effect what we are doing with this bill.

Mr. Lewis: Would you put in a time?

Mr. R. S. Smith: No, I never indicated a time at this point. I am saying we are giving him the right to govern by regulation. I personally don’t agree with the right to govern by regulation, and that is what we are doing with this bill, as you must recognize.

Mr. Lewis: Can we not amend it?

Mr. R. S. Smith: Oh, yes, certainly we can. But, on the other hand, I think that the bill could have been brought in in the first place stipulating what the regulations should be; in fact they could have tabled the regulations at the same time as they tabled the bill -- that’s not impossible either. But now we are faced with second reading of a bill without regulation, and which provides only for the minister to issue regulations to put into effect what the bill purports to do and which it really doesn’t do.

But, on the other hand, we must support the legislation as a first step -- only a first step -- and hope that the minister and his government will follow through with the regulations that are necessary, if it is to be meaningful at all.

With these few words, Mr. Speaker, I will conclude. I should hope that the minister has taken heed of what has been said to him tonight in regard to his responsibility insofar as the regulations are concerned.

Mr. Grossman: Mr. Speaker, in order not to take up too much time I will abbreviate my remarks as much as possible.

Mr. Bounsall: Go ahead, Larry.

Mr. Grossman: As the Tory member of the private bills committee who first spoke in support of the city of Windsor bill and caused the chairman of that committee -- I think it was the member for Lakeshore (Mr. Lawlor) -- to almost choke on his aristocratic pipe at the time, I might say I am pleased to rise in support of this bill as well.

The position taken at that time by myself and some members of the Liberal Party and the very honourable member for Peterborough in supporting that bill, is not at all a position that is inconsistent with the concerns expressed a little earlier by the member for Cambridge. In fact, the concerns of the member for Cambridge and the concerns of the private bills committee as well, in attempting to accomplish something that I don’t think very many people, including or excluding former Governor McCall, should still, at this time, be disputing. That is that the non-refillable problem has got to be solved.

As evidence of the way the ministry is going, I do want to read part of a letter written by the Minister of the Environment just a couple of months ago to one of those industries. Indeed it was an industry that was lobbying very strongly in favour of part of the position put forward by the member for Cambridge. The minister’s reply, in part, reads as follows:

“Firstly, and running as a thread throughout all your points [I should add these are points raised in an earlier letter], is the contention that the soft drink market has reached its present position vis-à-vis the use of refillable and non-refillable containers through consumer preference. I share the opinion of the board [that is the Waste Management Advisory Board] that the market situation in Ontario has developed not through consumer preference but through industry and retailer pressures which have effectively placed refillables in a non-competitive position. It is obvious that if there is not a wide selection of products in a wide variety of sizes available to the public in refillable containers and if there is not a corresponding and extensive system of bottle collection and reception, then the battle to retain refillables is lost.”

The minister goes on to comment that the reaction of the industry until the present time, as he has said on other occasions, has been frankly disappointing. What the private bills committee was doing that day -- that very remarkable and important day -- was saying essentially the same thing.

We are saying now the time has come and it is well on its way. I as one member of that committee, explicitly said at that time that there are serious problems with employment and there are serious problems with the environment. In order to solve both of those problems over a period of time, rather than jumping in with both feet immediately as the NDP often does -- but this time, for once, with some sensitivity is not -- rather than do that, we are going to say, at the private bills committee level in any event, “This is what the future holds. That is a ban.”

Mr. Conway: You tell them, coach!

Mr. Grossman: We said at that time that we were not prepared -- at least I said I was not prepared -- to ensure support of every private bill that came before that committee in a similar context. But it was important at that particular time to say the handwriting is on the wall and industry had better buckle down and get to it.

That’s what the minister has been saying but industry has not been buckling down to it. Now is the time, from the date of royal assent of this bill which I hope will be forthcoming, when industry will surely have to do that. The fact that the legislation is permissive in a sense, as was, of course, the private bill, is in order that in the interim the ministry may permit the industry -- if not the government, I suppose, in the long run -- hopefully, the industry to solve the very serious employment problems which certainly would be faced by an immediate ban.

I have to comment that the member for Cambridge came pretty close but drew back at the final moment to saying, “We are in favour of environmental projects and we are against pollution but let’s take it easy. We are also in favour of employment, particularly in a heavily unionized industry. We don’t want a make-work project but on the other hand and on the other hand and on the other hand.”

Mr. Breithaupt: He sounds almost like a Tory.

Mr. Grossman: Let’s not go on that ground. They didn’t say these things on other issues. They supported my position of total opposition to the completion of the Spadina Expressway. They were not speaking to their trade unions who were saying, “Wait a minute. Environmental concerns and downtown traffic and the inner city are important but the building and construction industry is more important.”

For once, they stood up and said, “Environment is important and the inner city is important and therefore we will have to stop it.”


Mr. Grossman: I guess it has something to do with the areas their caucus represents from time to time. It affects their balance of priorities. In any event, our party voted unanimously at the private bills committee. We said to industry, “Get about cleaning up your act. Get about solving the environmental problem and the employment problem. We know you can.”

We sit here a lot of days and hear the NDP say, “The Tories are too easy on industry. They can do it. You just won’t push them. You just won’t force them. You are too easy on them.” I will tell them what: We are quite prepared in the next few years to be tough with them. Suddenly the NDP members have lost all the faith they had that industry can solve some of these problems if we are tough with them. They want us to solve all those employment problems. They don’t believe that over the next few years industry can do these things -- retool, retrain --

Mr. Conway: Have you checked Yakabuski?

Mr. Grossman: -- retrain, re-equip, can you do these things. Well let’s just see.

I think this time we’ll be consistent, as we usually are. You can balance environment and employment, whichever way you need on whichever bill you want at a later time, we’ll go the environment route this time. Mr. Speaker, I’ll be supporting the legislation.

Mr. Bounsall: I must admit, Mr. Speaker, that I found the remarks of the previous speaker, the member for St. Andrew-St. Patrick rather interesting --

Mr. S. Smith: Which NDP are you representing today?

Mr. Bounsall: -- in this regard; he seems to put so much faith in what this bill is going to accomplish and the effect it’s going to have upon the companies in Ontario when we have received absolutely nothing -- I agree with the member for Nipissing (Mr. R. S. Smith) in this regard -- absolutely nothing from this minister in the way of the regulations under which he’s going to operate this particular bill.

Mr. Grossman: When Monty Davidson becomes the minister we will be in trouble.

Mr. Warner: Rule by regulations.

Mr. Bounsall: I am very uneasy with the vagueness of the minister’s remarks on this Act to amend the Environmental Protection Act. This is enabling legislation which gives the minister power to set regulations relating to solid waste management, particularly the whole problem of the beverage section of the bottle and can industry.

There is the suggestion there be a ban on non-refillable bottles and cans, yet we haven’t any idea at all about the minister’s time scale on this. We don’t know whether the minister is in fact going to ban all non-returnable. non-refillable beverage containers -- how total that ban will be -- or the length of the phase-in period, if any.

Therefore I find the remarks of the member for St. Andrew-St. Patrick and his trust in this particular minister rather unusual, in that we have nothing before us in detail about what the government is going to do in the near future, let alone its long-range plan with respect to providing an environmental policy with respect to containers and solid waste management for this province.

We’re going to have to take this Act to amend the Environmental Protection Act on trust, hoping that the minister is going to do something about it. The minister can either act tomorrow or continue to act as he has in the past, which is to do virtually nothing. This is what makes me very uneasy about this bill. It makes it difficult for me to come to grips with this bill in terms of anything I would like to say on this bill because of the very vagueness of it. Now having said that, let me say that of all the Ministers of the Environment we have had here in Ontario, or could have in the very near future, I feel the member for Burlington South --

Mr. Warner: The recycled minister.

Mr. S. Smith: He is certainly one of them.

Mr. Makarchuk: We’ve got a recycled minister --

Mr. Bounsall: -- I would trust this member for Burlington South the most in taking some positive, rational stand toward solid waste management I feel this minister is sincere in wanting to grapple with the problems of solid waste management, but we would like to hear from the minister tonight, or at the conclusion of the debate on this bill, exactly what the minister intends to do in the very near future and what his long-term goals are for the container industry -- not just limiting it to the beverage container industry, but the entire field of containers, in particular, those which contain foods and which we have around our homes and offices.

What plans does the minister have to reduce the amount of waste material at our sanitary landfill sites or dumps? What plans has he to see that glass, other than beverage container glass, doesn’t end up there? What plans has he to see that cans do not continue to build up at the same rate, other than just beverage cans, at our solid waste landfill sites? And is the minister going to do anything at all about the entire area of plastics, since most of this material which is dumped at landfill sites is non-degradable?


What steps is the minister going to take to see that this entire field is regulated because plastics, particularly polyethylene, are very easily and simply melted and very simply and easily re-extrudable? Does the minister have any near future plans for that because this is one area which does concern me very greatly?

As a chemist I know how easily these things are treated. I worked for a couple of years in the plastics industry, basically in the extrusion of polyethylene-type products and they are easily melted. The type of container our vinegar now comes in is easily melted and extrudable. Is anything being done about that? If not, why not?

I see this as all part of the package. What sort of solid waste management are we going to have so that we have virtually no plastics turning up in our landfill sites? We can have regulations saying that plastic which cannot be re-extrudable are not used for containers in the Province of Ontario.

What are we going to do to see that no can -- or very few of them of any kind -- ends up in our landfill sites? And that they are all reusable and remeltable? And that all the glass is reused in our gas industry in Ontario? All glass can be reused. It’s a waste of natural and raw resources to have these things sitting around in our landfill sites which take up great amounts of space in this Province of Ontario. Quite a lot of this would be unnecessary if in these three product areas we had a system whereby all of them were collectible and all of them were reused.

I would like to see and hear tonight at the conclusion of this debate the minister’s long-term plans for this. I want the minister to come clean and tell us, otherwise this bill really is meaningless. It allows the minister either to take action tomorrow or keep putting it off. I trust this particular minister’s interest in this is such that he will not be putting it off but now is the time to tell us exactly what the time schedule is and how he sees the future for Ontario.

I have been looking at this whole problem of solid waste handling and what should be done with respect to all containers, not just beverage containers. I would like to see an Ontario in which every beverage container -- let’s talk first of all, at this point, about beverage containers -- is either refillable and returnable with a substantial deposit --

Mr. Warner: Including liquor bottles.

Mr. Bounsall: -- or is completely recyclable, with the systems set up for their collection.

The people of Ontario, therefore, with this type of system in place, would either return those beverage containers which are refillable with a deposit large enough to encourage and ensure this or -- and at the same time -- have available to them centres to which they could return all non-refillable containers. This means what’s still left on the market of non-refillable glass; all renewable and re-extrudable plastic material and all cans. There would need to be a system of garbage and trash separation so that these products could be kept separate upon pick up and, in that sense, easily sortable upon pick up for their redistribution to the various centres at which they would be recycled.

Taking a look at the glass portion of it separately, all glass containers, not just beverage containers, can be collected and fed back into the system instead of cluttering up our dumps.

This is what should be done. You either return it, with a large deposit, or for those beverage containers and all other glass containers a system should be set up whereby they are returned and fed back into the system.

The same is true of cans. I am told that many states in the United States now require beverage cans to be uni-metal aluminum cans and these uni-metal aluminum cans can be easily collected. If this is being done in the states and if the energy needed to melt and reform one of these cans is less than what it takes to recycle a non-returnable glass container then I would like to hear the minister’s remarks about moving into a uni-metal aluminum can in the canned beverage field with encouragement to all people in Ontario to return these either to a return site or, perhaps, to a combination of all three: A site to which they would get used to returning cans; separate them for their garbage collection; or, the garbage having been collected, those cans are separated from the garbage. Those cans would all be recycled.

I quite understand that in moving the cans around the country you don’t want to have them in an unflattened form. In terms of the weight per volume it wouldn’t be feasible to truck them. You would need, therefore, a device which flattens them so it would be worth trucking them around the country.

This is a feasible thing and a good and wise use of our natural resources. You produce an aluminum can which, after use, is collected, flattened and trucked to a site and reformed again. What are your plans for that? To me, as a conservationist -- and I am indeed very interested in all aspects of conservation -- this is what should be done.

It therefore occurs to me, if that is what Ontario is going to do in terms of the beverage industry, the uni-metal aluminum can can be applied to many of the other can uses. Perhaps soup cans as well can be handled in the same way and the extension of a uni-metal can to many, many products, apart from the beverage industry, would be the proper thing for this government to be doing in terms of the reuse, the melting and the reforming of cans.

Lastly, I’m very concerned about plastics -- those which are completely non-degradable when they are dumped into a land-fill site. I would suggest to the minister that he investigate fully which plastics can be re-melted and re-extruded. Certainly, the polyethylene containers are easily recycled. If there are some which cannot be easily re-melted and re-extruded, then --

Hon. Mr. Kerr: Most of them are.

Mr. Bounsall: Most of them are. All right. Then perhaps there could be some standardization in that field, so you’re only dealing with one or two different types of plastics for container use. Perhaps that could go into effect so we don’t have all that non-degradable material cluttering up our land-fill sites, but it is in fact being reused.

Secondly, this makes good sense and will make even greater sense as time goes on and as our petroleum prices increase, because these are all petroleum products. The price is escalating sharply on petroleum products and we should be reusing this petroleum by-product as often as we can, not letting it simply pile up in its non-degradable form in our land-fill sites.

The city of Windsor bill interested me and I gave it my support. It would have been an interesting experiment, if the city of Windsor passes its bylaw rather shortly, to see exactly what would happen in this city, the fifth largest city in Ontario, if all the beverage containers on the shelves in Windsor had to be the returnable kind. This could have been the pilot project for the province in terms of complaints from the consumer, or of what percentage of these bottles are being returned at the present deposit rate and so I would not like the minister to hold off on any of his other plans, which we’d like to hear about, to see how the Windsor experiment is going to work, even if they put it into practice right new. But I review this as an interesting possibility. Windsor, getting into this, is an opportunity, for the people of Ontario, to have a look at what complaints and what difficulties, if any, arise when a large city moves completely to beverage containers, all of which must be returned, and the non-sale of any that are not returnable, as a pilot project.

This does not mean that I think this is an overall solution to the whole question. I personally, and our NDP policy is such on this, would like to see standard container sizes for beverages in Ontario, so that one can shop around and price-compare readily, with, maybe, as few as two or three sizes only allowed. I can’t say that I’m that enthusiastic that the shape be uniform. This is also part of our party policy. It doesn’t distress me that this is part of our party policy. I just question, from time to time, whether we want beer-bottle type bottles for our entire beverage industry. It doesn’t really matter to me. I can drink my Coke out of a beer-bottle-shaped bottle, and my orange crush. I just wonder if that is absolutely necessary. I’d like to know what the minister’s views are on not only standard sizes but standard shapes and types. I kind of like the Coke bottle. I would regret its disappearance, slightly, but not enough to make me fight party policy in this matter.

Mr. Lewis: I sure as hell hope not!

Mr. Bounsall: Unlike the bottle, I don’t like the product. We never have Coke around, anyway, in our place, but I’ve got used to the appearance of the bottle. I could get used to drinking it, the odd time that I do drink it, out of what I consider to be a beer bottle.

Mr. Breithaupt: With two straws.

Mr. Bounsall: And it doesn’t cause me much concern, one way or another. I just would like to know, is that the type of standardization into which we’re heading?

Mr. Grossman: Tories drink it out of a bottle too.

Mr. Lewis: Not without a straw you don’t. Not if you are a Tory.

Mr. Cunningham: We’ve all got to be good at something.

Mr. Foulds: Bob Johnston uses it too.

Mr. Bounsall: I think, Mr. Speaker, that we need a rational, long-term policy, for solid waste management, that takes into account all of the three materials over which we’re concerned -- plastics, glass and metal -- and that we must reconcile the environmental needs against the needs of workers in this case. What we want is the most rational policy. I think that, if you don’t have it within your ministry, you should have a group or a board -- let’s call it a products review board -- which would look closely at all products and packaging being done now.

We’re very much against unnecessary packaging. Have a look at all that packaging on the market and judge them according to their environmental criteria, their durability, their reusability, their repairability, their refillability, their recyclability and their re-extrudability, to see which of those products we should be thinking of taking off the market. In terms of new ones, they must fit into those criteria set up by this products review board.

Mr. Speaker: Does the hon. member have further remarks to make? I notice the hour is now 10:30.

Mr. Bounsall: I do have one small area left, Mr. Speaker, but it might take me more than one or two minutes.

Mr. Speaker: Would you care to adjourn the debate?

Mr. Bounsall moved the adjournment of the debate.

Motion agreed to.

Hon. Mr. Handleman: Mr. Speaker, I move third reading of Bill 98.

Mr. Renwick: Mr. Speaker, on a point of order, it is 10:30 of the clock.

Mr. Speaker: Almost.

Hon. Mr. Welch: Mr. Speaker, before moving the adjournment of the House, may I indicate that tomorrow it is my understanding that the select committee on Hydro is going to table its report and there will be some discussion on that, following which we will continue with legislation, starting with this particular bill, and any other work that we can do in committee. If there were time we might even go to budget debate.


Mr. Renwick: Mr. Speaker, on a point of order about the business tomorrow. I wonder if it would be possible, in the light of the developments today and the slowdown in the work of the House, whether or not we might now specifically consider, from the point of view of the members who will be speaking on the budget debate, scheduling the budget debate at a specific time, either tomorrow or on Monday, so that they know when they will be expected to speak?

Hon. Mr. Welch: Actually, Mr. Speaker, there is a timetable which the House leaders have discussed. Monday and Tuesday is, of course, filled now and a lot will depend on how much progress we make tomorrow in legislation. It would look as if, now, we’re looking to Wednesday, and it may be that we’ll have to go over to Wednesday to provide for the budget debate time and the finish-up of legislation at that time. But I’ll be glad to talk to my colleagues about that and report to the House on Monday.

Mr. Renwick: Mr. Speaker, again on the same point -- and I know my colleague the member for Wentworth is here -- my concern is there are three members, one from each of the parties, expected to speak on the budget debate; I can’t conceive, in any way, that we are going to deal with the legislation on the order paper and reach the budget debate tomorrow, so presumably we must make that adjustment.

Hon. Mr. Welch moved the adjournment of the House.

Motion agreed to.

The House adjourned at 10:33 p.m.