It’s Brand Audit time again and alongside our allies in the global Break Free From Plastic movement, we’re inviting folks to help gather data from across Canada and around the world through quick and dirty (or sandy) cleanups and audits. They don’t need to take a tonne of time or person power but can help us build a good database on the companies that are trashing our communities and planet. 

Plastic pollution is all around us. It’s in our waterways, parks, streets, and homes, harming wildlife and human health. Microplastics and toxins from making plastic are often in the air we breathe and the water we drink. An unsettling thought! As our understanding of the devastating effects of plastic on communities and the environment grows—so does the understanding that the only way to stop this is to cut production, transform our collective ways of consumption, and hold corporations accountable for their role in the plastic problem and new way forward toward a reuse revolution. With global plastic production and packaging industries set to expand production of new plastic by nearly 40% in the next few years, we need to remind them of what the overflowing plastic is doing to our planet and ourselves.

There’s an easy way that you can help do that, and get a little fresh air while you’re at it! From now until World Cleanup Day, September 21st, do a quick cleanup and brand audit somewhere near you!

Aren’t familiar with a Brand Audit? Well, much of plastic polluting our communities comes clearly branded with a company name, which means we can record not just the types of pollution we find but the companies that made it. On World Cleanup Day in 2018, thousands of volunteers in hundreds of cities reported the brands found in their local parks, streets, and shorelines. We used the data to highlight exactly how some of the world’s biggest and best-known companies are wrecking the planet. Based on the audit results, globally we identified the 2018 top polluters: Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, and Nestle. In Canada, our results revealed the top 5 plastic polluters to be: Nestlè, Tim Hortons, PepsiCo, Coca-Cola and McDonald’s. 

Companies like Nestle are starting to respond. They see that their packaging practices are quickly becoming outdated and unpopular. They have started to make promises to reduce their plastic pollution impact, but the short-sighted options big companies are putting forward are a long way from the complete change in packaging methods that we urgently need. So we need to keep the pressure on now more than ever and send a strong signal that we can clean forever—or reduce once.

So this year we plan to go even bigger—that’s where you come in. 

There are three ways to do a Brand Audit. 1. Host a cleanup and audit with your friends, family, community. 2. Add a brand audit to an existing community/shoreline cleanup. 3. Conduct a mini audit by yourself or with a couple/few people.  Visit any beach, river shore, or stream, the streets around your neighbourhood, a local park, or other community areas.

To learn more about how to do an audit, visit the Break Free From Plastic brand audit toolkit. For the mini brand audit version, we’ve created a shortened how-to process. Check that out here. 

Join thousands of people from around the world this September and join and audit with us!  Please be sure to submit your results by Sept 30th and to register your event beforehand. Excited to have you join the growing global movement to #BreakFreeFromPlastic!