An audit led by Greenpeace Canada has revealed something most of us already know; our waters are totally trashed with plastic and pollution. What the audit also revealed was that five well-known companies are responsible for a massive chunk of the litter making its way into our lakes, rivers, and oceans.
Volunteers took to Canadian shores in Vancouver, Toronto, Montreal and Halifax during World Cleanup Day on September 15th. They collected approximately 10,000 litres of food wrappers, plastic bottles, plastic-lined coffee cups, and other various trash items. After inspecting the items, the group discovered most of them had identifiable branding on them.
The top five companies whos branded items were found were Nestle, Tim Hortons, PepsiCo, Coca-Cola and McDonald's. Greenpeace ranked 10 of the most common items found. Food wrappers were at the top of the list while containers were at the bottom.
CBC reached out to the five companies in the Canadian audit. Every single one of them noted their commitments to making their packaging more recyclable by 2025.
However, this raises the questions: is more recyclable items even the answer? And, who's really to blame here? Nestle suggested to CBC that the real issue is customers not disposing of products properly.
Canadians commenting on the audit's finding seem to agree with this theory. "It’s actually people behaving like pigs that are doing the polluting not those popular companies," said one individual.
"Nestlé, Tim Hortons are not Canada's top plastic polluters. They are simply the enablers. The top plastic polluters are people who buy their products and then do not either recycle or use a trash can," said another.
In response, Tim Hortons released the following statement - "As one of Canada’s most popular restaurant chains, we recognize we all have a responsibility to limit the environmental impact we have on our planet. That’s why Tim Hortons is actively working on a packaging strategy that includes the function, design and environmental footprint."
However, Sarah King with Greenpeace thinks the companies are directly to blame due to consumer's lack of options when it comes to plastic-free packaging.
READ MORE: Here Are All Of The Restaurants In Canada Where Plastic Straws Are Now Banned
She believes customers will have the biggest impact on the issue by pushing companies for reusable and refillable alternatives to single-use items. I don't know about you, but that sounds to me like an amazing excuse to buy some fancy Starbucks tumblers.