TORONTO – Nestlé and Tim Hortons bottles, food containers, straws and lids were some of the most common pieces of branded trash found in a Greenpeace Canada-wide trash audit for the second year in a row.
Starbucks, McDonald's and Coca-Cola complete the list of the top five polluting companies released Wednesday by the environmental group, which surveyed nine shorelines across the country.
"Canada's top plastic polluters are once again the usual suspects," said Sarah King, head of Greenpeace Canada's oceans and plastics campaign, in a press release. The group says the results show that companies are shifting responsibility to consumers rather than addressing their own "broken business models" to move away from single-use plastic.
Supermarket brands Sobeys, Costco, Walmart and Loblaw were found among the junk of 240 companies, but 39% of branded plastic pollution belonged to the top five companies: Nestlé, Tim Hortons, Starbucks, McDonald's and Coca-Cola. . Tim Hortons ranked first in six of nine locations.
In an e-mail response to the report, a Tim Hortons spokesman said in an e-mail that the company had requested a meeting with Greenpeace "through multiple emails and phone calls" and is awaiting a response. "At Tim Hortons, we believe we have a responsibility to contribute to a clean environment," the email said. The company, which offers discounts to customers who use reusable mugs or cups, recently announced a "sustainability commitmentThat includes a new 100% recyclable lid and a reusable cup for purchase.
Nestlé Canada said in an email that it is "speeding up" actions to ensure all its packaging is recyclable or reusable by 2025. The company has brands such as Nestlé Pure Life water, Kit Kat, Nestea and Coffee Crisp "We are working hard to ensure that none of our product packaging, including plastics, ends up in landfill or waste, including in our oceans, lakes and watercourses," said Catherine O'Brien, Senior Vice President, Affairs Corporate
“We continue to work with our partners and industry associations to explore different packaging solutions to reduce plastic use and our newly launched Nestlé. Packaging Science Institute is developing new approaches to eliminate plastic waste. "
While cigarette butts and bottles were the most found items in Greenpeace's research, glasses, lids, straws and shakers were among the top five items of plastic waste. Starbucks coffee chain, the third largest polluter on the list, introduced a recyclable strawless lid earlier this year and plans to eliminate plastic straws by 2020. In an e-mailed statement, the coffee chain said it is making "investments and commitments" to become "the world's largest green retail business." "Starbucks continues to focus on researching and developing leading programs to eliminate waste and increase recycling," the company said.
McDonald & # 39; s Canada, the fourth largest polluter, according to Greenpeace, announced last year a commitment to obtain 100% of packaging from "renewable, recyclable or certified sources" by 2025. "Worldwide , and here in Canada, McDonald's is committed to continually improving the sustainability of our packaging, ”the company said in an e-mailed statement on Thursday. "We understand that recycling infrastructure, regulations and consumer behavior vary from city to city and country to country, but we plan to be part of the solution and help influence powerful change."
The fifth largest polluter, Coca-Cola, said in a statement that by 2030 they plan to collect a can or bottle for each sold. "But we cannot do this alone and we are actively working with our partners, stakeholders and customers to educate consumers to properly recycle their beverage packaging," he said. "We recognize that plastic pollution is a problem and that our beverage containers should not end up in landfills, nor as water or nature waste."
Many companies and governments have expressed a commitment to abandon single-use plastics in recent years. Sobeys, Holiday Inn, Uniqlo and San Francisco Airport were among a number of entities to announce new plastic policies, including bans on shampoo bottles and plastic bags. In June, the liberal government announced that it would use a "science-based approach" to determine which plastics to ban from 2021.
Greenpeace said many companies invest in what the group calls "fake solutions, ”Leaving a lot of work to be done.
"Corporate responsibility does not end at the point of sale," King said in the statement. "The time has come for these polluters to be honest with their customers about the scale of their plastics problem and have really committed to solving it by eliminating disposables and adopting reuse."