In light of Minister McKenna’s announcement of a ‘Zero Waste Strategy’

September 20, 2018 (VANCOUVER) – In response to Minister McKenna’s announcement  of new actions through the federal government’s ‘Zero Plastic Waste Strategy’, Greenpeace Canada has released results of a national survey that shows that the majority (65%) of Canadians agree the government should act quickly to ban single-use plastics.

Today Minister McKenna committed to ‘collect, reuse and recycle at least 75%’ of plastic waste from government operations by 2030, and announced investments in waste management in developing countries and innovation of new packaging and other technologies to address plastic waste.

EcoAnalytics on behalf of Greenpeace Canada and other Canadian NGOs set out to measure Canadians’ environmental concern in 2018 with regards to several environmental issues including plastic pollution. Of the environmental issues examined as most worrisome for Canadians, plastics in the ocean is among the most frequently cited (by 32%) in their top three issues that worry them most. Notable findings related to respondents’ concerns and views include:

  • 65%, agree that governments should work quickly to ban single-use plastics such as plastic bags, straws, and bottles, even if neighboring jurisdictions fail to act.(31% of them strongly agree with this notion).
  • 75% of Canadians are worried about the accumulation of plastics in oceans.
  • 80% of respondents in Ontario agree that Ontario should do more to protect the Great Lakes from the threat of plastic pollution (39% strongly agree with this notion).

“Canadians are ready for bold action, with the majority of respondents surveyed wanting quick action to ban single-use plastics, said Sarah King, Head of Greenpeace Canada’s Oceans and Plastics campaign. “McKenna’s commitments are focused on government operations and largely end-of-pipe false solutions, begging the question of what about the 3.25 million tonnes of plastic waste generated nationwide? The federal government needs to stop the problem at the source by banning throwaway plastics and holding corporations accountable for the billions of plastic products they produce yearly that clog our waste streams and trash the environment.”

Tomorrow marks the closing of the federal government’s public consultation on the national plastic strategy entitled ‘Moving Canada Toward Zero Plastic Waste.’  Greenpeace Canada has previously called on the federal government to show leadership on this issue domestically, and will provide recommendations through the consultation process. Greenpeace Canada has encouraged members of the public to participate in the public consultation, with over 26,000 people contributing.

If Canada truly wants to lead the charge on championing solutions on plastic pollution, it needs to follow the lead of other progressive jurisdictions preventing polluting plastics from being created in the first place and focus its attention and investment on innovation that helps create truly more sustainable product delivery systems for communities that are centred on reuse and refilling, and not disposal,” added King.

Greenpeace Canada is calling on the Canadian government to legislate binding plastic reduction targets, ban single-use plastics, invest in new delivery models based on reuse and refill systems, and hold corporations accountable for the entire life of their products, including the resulting pollution, as they transition to a new delivery model.  

-END-

About the survey:  the survey was administered to an online panel of 3,000 Canadians over the period of May 25th to June 7th, 2018. The sample includes coverage of major Canadian regions including: British Columbia (n=500), Alberta (n=500),  Saskatchewan and Manitoba (n=500), Ontario (n=500), Québec (n=500) and the Atlantic provinces of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince-Edward Island and Newfoundland and Labrador (n=500). The Marketing Research Intelligence Association’s Code of Conduct limits statements about margin of error for online non-probability samples. EcoAnalytics (www.ecoanalyticscanada.org) is a non-profit research initiative of Canada’s environmental movement and researchers at l’Université de Montreal and University of New Brunswick.

*Save the date: reveal of Canadian Plastic Polluters on October 2nd.* Following last weekend’s of clean ups and Plastic Polluter Brand Audits across Canada and around the world in collaboration with the global #BreakFreeFromPlastic movement, Greenpeace will reveal the major plastic polluting companies in Canada and globally, in early October.

For media queries, to book interviews or request photos, please contact:

Loujain Kurdi, Communications Officer, Greenpeace Canada,  +1 (514) 577-6657, loujain.kurdi@greenpeace.org

About Brand Audits and Plastic Pollution: ahead of World Environment Day in June, the global Break Free From Plastic movement had called for G7 countries to pass binding reduction targets and bans on single-use plastics, invest in new product delivery models based on reuse, and hold polluting corporations accountable. Billions of single-use, throwaway plastic packaged products and disposable plastic items are produced, used and become trash every year in Canada. Only 10 to 12% of the plastic produced yearly is recycled. The rest goes to landfills, is burned or ends up in the environment. The Canadian government notes that in 2010, Canada released 8000 tonnes of plastic waste into the oceans from land, contributing to up to 12.7 million tonnes entering the oceans globally each year.