For Earth Day
Greenpeace is known for driving hard-hitting campaigns that expose environmental problems and hold corporations and governments accountable. Through the launch of a how-to guide entitled A Million Acts of Blue: A Toolkit for a Plastic-Free Future, Greenpeace is breaking with its traditional campaign approach and providing people with tips and tools to start campaigns in their own communities and beyond, and is seeking to support positive change and build momentum that mirrors the scale of the plastic problem.
“Single-use plastic has invaded our daily lives and is polluting all corners of our blue planet with dire consequences for ocean life. To solve the plastic pollution crisis, we need a global movement of people driving their own campaigns for a plastic-free future. Greenpeace is keen to support this movement, which we’re doing by equipping Canadians with effective tools, and by building a community of plastic-free change agents across the country and around the world,” said Sarah King, Greenpeace Canada’s Head of oceans & plastics campaign.
The toolkit contains seven actions that people can take which go beyond reducing personal plastic consumption. The escalating actions are geared towards pushing local businesses, restaurants, retailers and large corporations to reduce their reliance on single-use plastics for reusable alternatives, and growing support for larger governmental action. Greenpeace is hopeful that the project will shift conversations to address the real source of the plastics problem and spark community-led actions that cannot be ignored.
Canada generates about 3.25 million tonnes of plastic waste each year – the equivalent weight of over 140,000 full garbage trucks. Recent investigations and events like the China ban on waste imports have further exposed the inability of the country’s recycling and waste management systems to process the volume and composition of plastic waste.
Over the last few years, single-use plastic-free initiatives like restaurants removing straws, cities banning plastic bags, grocery stores exploring zero waste approaches and restaurants seeking alternatives to throwaway take-out containers have grown in popularity.
“We cannot recycle our way out of the plastic epidemic, but together we can push corporations to cut their plastic addiction and urge governments to hold them accountable. We know this issue ranks as one of the biggest environmental concerns for Canadians and we are excited to join an existing movement of groups and individuals championing solutions,” added King.
On Earth Day, Greenpeace Canada’s Executive Director will be speaking about the project at the Gen-Earth Earth Day event at Nathan Phillips Square in Toronto and Greenpeace will have a plastic-themed booth at the event. In Montreal, Greenpeace campaigner Patrick Bonin will join Mylène Paquette, Édith Cochrane, Thomas Mulcair and Jérôme Normand at the Phi Centre for a panel discussion entitled Pollution plastique: tout petit la planète. In Vancouver, Greenpeace will engage with people at The Soap Dispensary and Kitchen Staples – a local establishment that champions a reuse and refill model.
Around the globe, over one million individuals have signed petitions, taken to stores and restaurants, and posted photos of ridiculous packaging on social media as part of the #RidiculousPackaging online campaign to call out corporations like Coca-Cola, Pepsi, Nestlé, McDonald’s, Starbucks, Tim Hortons and major retailers for their massive single-use plastic footprints. Many have also been linked directly to ocean pollution through beach clean-up brands audits in various countries.
Greenpeace, as part of the #BreakFreeFromPlastic movement, is campaigning globally to shift the narrative around single-use plastics from one of individual responsibility to one focused on the need for corporations to reduce their production of throwaway plastic packaging.
Plastic-Free Future Toolkit (public link for media usage; no registration required)
For more information, please contact: :
Loujain Kurdi, Greenpeace Canada, Communications Officer, 514-577-6657, [email protected]
Spokespeople are available in Montreal, Toronto and in Vancouver.
Greenpeace International Press Desk, +31 20 718 2470, [email protected] (available 24 hours)
Photo and video:
For photos of actions against single-use plastics around the globe, click here.
For photos and video of ocean plastic pollution, click here.
Notes to Editors:
- A recent study revealed that 91 percent of the world’s plastics have not been recycled. It is estimated that about 10-12% of plastic waste is recycled in Canada.
- Plastic pollution can choke or entangle marine life, including seabirds, turtles, and whales. The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) estimates that ocean plastics are responsible for the deaths of hundreds of thousands of sea creatures each year.
- Ahead of Earth Day, artists have created massive works of beach art throughout Europe calling attention to the issue of ocean plastic pollution, while artists in the Philippines staged the ECOlta Fair and a Plastic-Free party.
- Results of various brand audits can be found at plasticpolluters.org
- The international #BreakFreeFromPlastic movement is comprised of more than 1,100 groups, including Greenpeace.