By: Sara Mueller and Helia Sehat, Greenpeace Toronto volunteers
In the spirit of the 2018 holiday season, Greenpeace Toronto Local Group re-gifted baskets of plastic trash back to the top 5 Single-Use Plastic Polluters in Canada!
The use of plastic has gotten out of control. Everywhere you look, you see plastic - a material mostly made out of hydrocarbons derived from natural gas, oil and coal. The production of plastics is responsible for emitting greenhouse gases and contributing to climate change. In addition, only 9% of plastics get recycled worldwide; the rest end up in landfills and in the oceans. Plastic does not entirely decompose; rather, it breaks into tiny micro-plastics that can harm living organisms.
Earlier this year, our Greenpeace Toronto local volunteer group and many other environmental groups cleaned up beaches and waterways all over Canada and were able to identify the following top 5 Single-Use Plastic Polluters in Canada. The unlucky winners were:
These five corporations are among the most popular go-to brands for food and drinks. However, most of their products are packaged in single-use plastics. Therefore, they contribute greatly to the plastic pollution here in Canada and around the world Single-use plastics are used for a few minutes and discarded quickly; yet they are almost impossible to get rid of. Sadly, in the current system, consumers aren't left with many reusable or non-throwaway packaging options.
We want these corporations to do their part to fix the plastic pollution problem. We think they should stop churning out so much single-use plastic in the first place! . When we found out that the headquarters of Canada’s top 5 single use plastics polluters are located in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), we decided to hand-deliver a special holiday gift to each of them: a gift basket made out of their own plastic trash! After all - re-gifting is great way to reduce consumption:)
The waste we used to create our gift baskets included single use plastics such as plastic bottles, food wrappers, coffee cups, lids, and straws. Most of the plastic waste we used was collected during a beach clean-up of the Don Valley River in September 2018, and the rest were found on the streets of Toronto.
On our gift delivery day, we dressed as Santa and Elves and visited all five headquarters. Most of the reception staff we met at each headquarter accepted our gift-baskets along with the letters we drafted for their CEO, and assured us they would deliver them. The only company who rejected our delivery and was unwilling to talk to us was Coca Cola.
Overall, we are satisfied about delivering our holiday message. Our accompanying social media posts got quite some clicks and shares. While we were on the streets, many people applauded our action. It was also interesting to observe how some employees or looked uneasy when they saw our Greenpeace vests. Perhaps they are aware of their environmentally harmful products and fear public awareness about their company practices.
That is why we urge the top 5 Single-Use Plastic polluters in Canada to think about our future and start utilizing reusable and more sustainable packaging options. If the top 5 polluters change their ways, other companies will follow suit. It is obvious that recycling does not work. We need to fight for reusable options!
The flight against single use plastic won't be won in one day.
Various actions and steps have to be taken to increase awareness and make corporations change their plastic production and consumption. We feel that our holiday gift delivery was definitely one action that contributes to this movement by holding corporations responsible to their contribution to the plastic pollution in Canada and worldwide, and encouraging them to adopt environmentally friendly solutions in the new year.
You can take action too.
Help us spread the word!
Watch and share our video here >>>>> https://vimeo.com/307310639
Tell the top polluters to do their part. Add your name to the petition to demand these companies’ CEOs take responsibility for the plastic pollution crisis they’ve helped create. >>>>> https://act.gp/2QygmTB