Plastic bottles collected during the cleanup and brand audit at Kits Beach on Coast Salish Territory, Vancouver, B.C., on Sept. 21, 2019. (Greenpeace)

Nestle, Tim Hortons top list of Canada’s worst plastic polluters

Starbucks, McDonald’s, Coca Cola not far behind

Nestle and Tim Hortons continue to top the list of top plastic polluters in Canada, according to Greenpeace.

The data comes after the 400 volunteers for the environmental organization gathered plastic trash from nine locations nationwide between April and September.

Greenpeace said this was Nestle’s second year in the top spot as the company uses two million tonnes of plastic annually.

Starbucks crept in just behind Tim Hortons in third place, with McDonald’s and The Coca-Cola Company rounding out the top five.

Greenpeace said the five companies accounted for 39 per cent of the plastic trash they found. The clean-up spots included the Broken Islands, Vancouver and Victoria in B.C., as well as Toronto, Grimsby, Montreal, Halifax, Fredericton and Covehead across Canada.

The most commonly found items were cigarette butts, with bottles and bottles caps in second place, followed by food wrappers, straws and stir sticks, cups and lids, tampon applications, foam pieces, bags, cutlery, and packaging.

More than 8,000 cigarettes and 2,000 plastic bottles were collected overall, Greenpeace said.

Cigarette butts and plastic bottles topped the list of plastic pollution found in Canada. (Greenpeace)

The data highlighted the need to use less plastic, instead of just cleaning it up, the organization said.

“We cleaned an estimated sixkilometres of coastline during our eight-day remote shoreline cleanup in the Broken Group Islands this past August, which is astonishing considering the mountain of plastic we retrieved,” said Lilly Woodbury, the chapter manager of Surfrider Pacific Rim, who partnered with Greenpeace for the cleanups.

“The B.C. coastline is 25,725 km, and the Canadian coastline is 243,042 km. This makes it clear that we cannot clean our way out of the plastic pollution crisis, we need to collect data and conduct audits so that we can gain information that will assist us in addressing the roots of this persistent global problem.”

READ MORE: Mysterious plastic pellets washing up on Vancouver Island

READ MORE: Victoria to seek leave to appeal B.C. court’s decision to quash plastic bag bylaw


@katslepian

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