McGuinty, Michelle Obama urged to impose Tax-Deposit System on Soft Drinks to Fight Obesity


Toronto, July 19, 2012

Ontario-based environmental lawyer David McRobert is urging the McGuinty government to impose a combination of a tax and deposit system on soft drinks and other non-refillable containers to fight obesity, create local jobs and improve the environmental and energy performance of the systems.

McRobert commends the McGuinty government for appointing the panel to study the obesity problem but says there is no need to wait for the results of the work of the panel before moving forward on a new approach to managing soft drink containers.

McRobert has outlined the virtues of deposit systems in a new book, My Municipal Recycling Program made me fat and sick: How well intentioned environmentalists teamed up with the soft drink industry to promote obesity and injure workers, published earlier this week

McRobert also is recommending the idea and his book toU.S.First Lady Michelle Obama and New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and urges them to look at the effectiveness ofOntario’s beer container system in balancing environmental, economic and social factors.

McRobert applauds the work of the U.S. Surgeon General and the First Lady on the obesity crisis and “notes that we are raising a generation of children who may end up physically smaller, weaker and less healthy than their parents because of their inactivity, excessive consumption of fast foods, including astonishingly cheap soft drinks.

McRobert says that “the time has come to revisit the policy choice made in the 1970s to allow the soft drink industry to have packaging freedom and market their products at prices that are absurdly low relative to healthier alternatives such as milk and unsweetened juice.”  “In the 1960s when I was a kid, soft drinks were a treat,” he says.  “Now some folks have four or five sugar-laden soft drinks a day.”

McRobert says that the taxes and unredeemed deposits could be used to fund provision of clean tap water toOntario’s aboriginal peoples and educate consumers about healthier diets and lifestyles.

He has emailed an e-version of his new book to theU.S.First Lady and Mayor Bloomberg and has forwarded two hard copies of the book by express post to the Honourable Deb Matthews, the Ontario Minister of the Health.

Link to Book web site:

Information about David McRobert:

McRobert has been working on waste issues for more than 30 years and helped to develop law and policy for Ontario’s waste reduction and recycling regulations in the early 1990s.  He also represented the Ontario Ministry of the Environment in discussions with industry and environmental groups on the “beer can tax” in 1992, one of the most effective economic instruments ever developed in Canada to conserve energy, reduce greenhouse gases, safeguard jobs and protect jobs by encouraging consumers to use refillable beer bottles.  In 1991, he authored a brief for Pollution Probe called Doing More for Less which outlined why a deposit-refund system should be imposed on all containers used in Ontario (including liquor bottles).  He argued then this would make Ontario’s recycling system more efficient and ensure improved container capture rates and better source separation of materials.

McRobert also worked on deposit return systems and monitored their wildly successful implementation by the McGuinty government for used liquor containers in 2006 following research work he and other staff undertook at the office of the Environmental Commissioner of Ontario between 1995 and 2006.

WHO: David McRobert, Lawyer and Legal Consultant

Former In-house Counsel (1994-2010), Environmental Commissioner ofOntario

David’s new book is available to the media by e mail.  It also is available as a Kindle on

He can be reached at:

T. 416 487 4677; Cell: 647 234 4677

Background on McGuinty Healthy Kids Panel:

Background on Initiative by the U.S.First Lady Michelle Obama, January 2010


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