For the second yr in a row, Nestlé and Tim Hortons have been the highest corporations behind branded plastic bottles, espresso cups and lids and different plastic waste collected in shoreline cleanups throughout the nation, Greenpeace Canada reported Tuesday.
Starbucks, McDonald’s and the Coca-Cola Firm rounded out the highest 5 of the environmental advocacy group’s listing of plastic polluters.
“Year to year the general order can shift a bit, but overall it’s those top usual suspects that we will keep seeing pop up,” stated Sarah King, head of Greenpeace Canada’s oceans and plastics marketing campaign.
“We know that all of the top five companies to date haven’t made significant efforts to reduce [plastic] production. Their products are going to be in the environment until that happens.”
The businesses have been named from 1,426 items of identifiably branded plastic out of 13,822 items of plastic waste collected and audited by 400 volunteers throughout shoreline cleanups between April and Sept. 21. The cleanups have been organized by neighborhood teams collaborating within the international Break Free from Plastic motion in Halifax; Covehead, P.E.I.; Fredericton; Montreal; Toronto; Grimsby, Ont.; Damaged Group Islands, B.C.; Vancouver and Victoria.
King stated the first objective of the model audit was to “hold companies accountable for the plastic pollution problem that they continue to create.”
Nevertheless it’s additionally meant to indicate Canadian governments how huge an issue single-use plastics proceed to be, in addition to which gadgets are problematic.
The highest plastic gadgets discovered this yr have been, so as:
- Cigarette butts (not included in final yr’s audit)
- Bottles and caps
- Meals wrappers
- Cups and lids
- Straws and stir sticks
- Tampon applicators
- Foam items
- Meals packaging
Meals wrappers have been considerable in Vancouver, which accounted for half the wrappers collected throughout Canada. Halifax was the highest website for tampon applicators, the place 235 have been collected.
In response to the Greenpeace report, Nestlé stated in an electronic mail that it’s working laborious to make sure none of its packaging results in landfill or as litter. “We are accelerating our action to eliminate unnecessary plastics and ensuring that all our packaging is recyclable or reusable by 2025.,” it stated.
It added that in Canada, the corporate is “taking an active role in developing a well-functioning collection, sorting and recycling system so that all of our packaging gets recycled.”
Tim Hortons famous that it has provided a reduction, at the moment 10 cents, to encourage friends to convey a reusable mug, since 1978. (It has additionally been criticized for encouraging the usage of single-use cups by its annual Roll Up the Rim contest).
The corporate introduced in Could that it could launch a advertising and marketing and promoting marketing campaign to “help to educate a new generation of guests who could never imagine using a cup just once” and began promoting reusable cups for $1.99.
Tim Hortons advised CBC Information in an electronic mail that it’s shifting to extra recyclable and compostable gadgets, together with strawless lids, picket stir sticks and compostable cutlery, and incorporating post-consumer recycled content material into is cups and paper baggage.
CBC Information has reached out to the opposite corporations within the prime 5 Greenpeace listing, however as of Wednesday afternoon, had not heard from them.
King known as the businesses’ current strikes to extra sustainable packaging “baby steps” that are not sufficient, given the size of the plastic air pollution downside.
Whereas many corporations have promised to make their packaging extra recyclable, King famous that plastic bottles are “always a top polluter,” even at distant websites just like the Damaged Group Islands, have been greater than 1,000 have been collected.
“What’s interesting about that is they’re also theoretically one of the most recyclable,” King added. “Just because a plastic is theoretically recyclable doesn’t mean it’s being collected and being recycled.”
This yr’s audit additionally famous that many compostable supplies, together with paper straws, compostable canine waste baggage, paper cups, compostable takeout containers and bioplastic and picket cutlery have been discovered, most of them intact apart from some paper merchandise that have been beginning to break aside. King famous that most of the different gadgets are designed to interrupt down solely in industrial composting services, not within the atmosphere.
“In the short term, at least, they’re still polluting,” she stated. “Again, it reinforces this need to move away from disposables altogether.”
Will a plastic ban assist?
Up to now, it isn’t clear whether or not plastic bans which are beginning to come into drive or corporations voluntarily phasing out gadgets like plastic straws have helped, King stated, noting that lots of these plastic gadgets will persist within the atmosphere for years.
The federal authorities has proposed a ban on single-use plastics, however hasn’t stated what gadgets it is going to cowl or when it is going to go into impact.
King thinks that may assist, however says the ban must be complete, masking all of the gadgets which are repeatedly discovered within the atmosphere with reusable alternate options.
She hopes that may drive corporations to cut back their manufacturing of single-use plastic.
“It’s not fair that the onus is totally on people not only to dispose of things properly … but then literally clean up the mess that’s being made by large plastic polluters.”