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 expect the government to act quickly to ban single-use plastics.
September 20th, 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.
Greenpeace' survey was administered to an online panel of 3,000 Canadians over the period of May 25th to June 7th, 2018, through EcoAnalytics (www.ecoanalyticscanada.org), a non-profit research initiative of Canada's environmental movement and researchers at l'Université de Montreal and University of New Brunswick.