Greenpeace Canada Names Worst Plastic Polluters

Environmentalists Greenpeace Canada have named the worst plastic polluters and they are Nestlé, Tim Hortons, PepsiCo, Coca-Cola and McDonald's.

Greenpeace made the announcement after conducting an audit as part of its international campaign “Break Free from Plastic.” The audit looked for branding on 10,000 litres of food wrappers, plastic bottles, plastic-lined coffee cups and other trash collected in Vancouver, Toronto, Montreal and Halifax during World Clean-up Day on September 15.

According to Greenpeace, over 75% of the 10,000 litres of trash collected during the Canadian cleanups was plastic; of that, 2,231 pieces had identifiable branding, and 700 other pieces had branding that couldn't be identified; food wrappers were the most common item found, followed by bottles, cups, bottle caps and shopping bags; the top five companies accounted for 46% of the identifiable branded trash.

Many of the companies named by Greenpeace as top plastic polluters have multiple brands. Nestlé, for example, sells treats ranging from Drumstick ice cream cones to Chips Ahoy cookies to Aero and Coffee Crisp chocolate bars, along with bottled water under brands such as Montclair. PespiCo makes Quaker granola bars and Frito-Lay chips in addition to soft drinks.

When brands were counted instead of the companies themselves, the top offenders, accounting for 40% of identifiable plastic trash were Nestlé Pure Life, Tim Hortons, McDonald's, Starbucks and Coca-Cola.

Worldwide, "Break Free from Plastic" found that Coca-Cola Company, PepsiCo, Nestlé, Danone, Mondelez International, Procter & Gamble, Unilever, Perfetti van Melle, Mars Inc. and Colgate-Palmolive were the most frequent multinational brands collected during cleanups.

Greenpeace said in a statement that it hopes the findings of the audit will have an impact on companies and get them to recognize that making single-use plastics recyclable isn't the solution.