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Thursday, July 31, 2008

Fake 'green' campaign kills real jobs

The LCBO's anti-glass crusade is all about optics, not facts 

By David Menzies
More than 400 employees of the Owens-Illinois glass plant in Toronto received a shock on Tuesday when they discovered their factory is being tossed upon the scrap heap of obsolescence come September.
What killed the plant? A robust loonie? Skyrocketing energy costs? Nope. The silent assassin is none other than the Ontario government's liquor monopoly and its disingenuous pursuit of a bogus "green" strategy.
In a nutshell, the Liquor Control Board of Ontario (LCBO) now deems glass bottles to be environmentally-unfriendly. Waste is measured by weight in Ontario, and glass is heavy, so out with glass. As a result, the LCBO is actively strong-arming suppliers to opt for other forms of packaging. As Owen-Illinois CEO and chairman Albert Stroucken notes in a July 2, 2008 letter to Premier Dalton McGuinty, the LCBO has been "aggressively encouraging — and in some cases effectively forcing — our customers in Ontario and in other jurisdictions to switch from using glass packaging to so-called 'alternative' materials such as plastic and aseptic cartons."
Unfortunately for Owens-Illinois workers, the LCBO's anti-glass campaign is all about optics, not facts. The LCBO's recent self-congratulatory marketing push hailed its campaign as "Enviro Chic: The Evolution of Packaging." The liquor monopoly crowned itself a green champion thanks to a policy of "challenging" its suppliers to reduce packaging.

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