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February 9, 2017The Ontario Federation of Agriculture says a fee on bottled water could be used to fund farmer programs designed to reduce phosphorous runoff to the Great Lakes.
There is a goal to reduce current phosphorous runoff levels reaching Lake Erie by 40 per cent.
The OFA partnered with Environmental Defence and enlisted support from 23 other environmental and agricultural groups for a letter asking the Ontario government to protect freshwater by putting a deposit on single-use beverage containers, such as plastic water bottles.
“Every year in Ontario, one billion plastic bottles end up in landfills or our environment,” said Ashley Wallis, Water Program Manager with Environmental Defence. “We need to turn this plastic tide. The Blue Box program isn’t working well enough,” she says.
“Deposit return programs such as the province already applies for wine and beer bottles are a proven way to increase recycling rates, Wallis says.
Currently, about 80 per cent of litter in the lakes is plastic. Ontario also has the lowest collection rate for plastic beverage containers in Canada, at 47 per cent.
In comparison, Canadian jurisdictions with deposit return programs collect up to 95 per cent of their bottles.
They estimate deposit-and-return could generate $100 million a year that could be used to clean up the Great Lakes.