Consumers shopping for water bottles, glasses, plates and even containers of windshield washer fluid at Prévost stores in the Laurentians have to put their hands in their pockets. They will be asked to pay a fee at the checkout for these single-use plastic products, a first in the country, according to local Mayor Paul Germain.
Posted at 5:00 am
But the initiative is at odds with local retailers who fear losing customers to stores in nearby towns. A little less than twenty merchants are affected by this municipal statute.
A sum of 10 cents for a bottle of water, 50 cents for a pack of disposable tableware, 25 cents for a disposable tablecloth, 10 cents for a disposable coffee cup, these are examples of charges – so-called eco-contributions – that customers make who at Prévost -dealers must buy from 1ah July 2022. Money raised goes directly to the Responsible Consumption Fund and is used to fund other green initiatives.
“We are the first and we are very proud of that,” introduced Mr. Germain during a video conference interview The press, Tuesday. But he’s not ready to “go into prohibition” by, for example, banning the sale of bottled water outright, he added.
This is the third phase of a municipal regulation to reduce plastic consumption. The idea also aims to encourage traders to find alternatives by selling specific products in bulk that are not subject to a royalty.
Already since 1ah From September 2021, retailers will no longer be able to sell plastic straws, coffee stirrers or cotton swabs. And from 1ah May, if you want to continue putting plastic water bottles or containers with windshield washer fluid on the shelves, you also have to offer your customers a greener alternative solution, such as a drinking fountain or refilling.
The idea is to create a virtuous circle, says Mr. Germain. The more people use the mass, the better it goes [réduire] City waste disposal.
Paul Germain, Mayor of Prévost
According to the town hall, around a million bottles of water are thrown away every year in Prévost, a municipality with 13,300 inhabitants. With this initiative, Paul Germain estimates that each inhabitant will generate around 10 kg less waste per year.
Will the eco-tax really act as a deterrent to consumers who are used to buying their can of windshield washer fluid or their disposable picnic crockery, for example? “It’s important for me to be able to choose,” replies the mayor. We didn’t want to make our customers migrate to other cities. We tried to be very reasonable. You have to try to reduce yourself to places where it doesn’t hurt too much. »
Growls at some traders
However, this is precisely the fear expressed by Prévost traders on condition of anonymity. They declined a subpoena for fear of reprisals. Unfortunately, they claim to be “disadvantaged” compared to retailers in surrounding cities who don’t charge.
The Quebec Food Retailers Association (ADA) also opposes these new measures, says Stéphane Lacasse, director of public affairs. He wants to assure that his association supports the implementation of greener initiatives, but what the mayor is proposing is not desirable for retailers.
We are already paying a tax for the reclaim and soon the bail set up by the Quebec government will be posted.
According to him, the citizens are only overwhelmed by this regulation. “It also becomes complicated to manage the processes once the customers have reached the checkout,” he fears.
Michel Fortier, Editor-in-Chief of citizen newspaper, covering in particular the territory of Prévost, also confirms that “some merchants find it difficult” this regulation. Mr Fortier adds that the past two years have been difficult for retailers. This initiative, in his opinion, adds a heaviness.
For his part, Paul Germain acknowledges that his city is “managing change”. “But there is a majority of retailers who agree with that,” he says.
Hélène Alain, director of the Patrick Morin hardware store, present during the interview, is one of the retailers supporting the initiative. “It’s not a problem for us,” she said.
In February, his company installed a charging station for windshield washer fluid. A fountain has been made available to customers as an alternative to bottled water, which is always available in hardware stores.
Meanwhile, the mayor says two other communes should soon announce that they are following Prévost’s example. “Our goal is not to be the only ones, but to be copied. »