When it comes to dealing with plastic pollution, big bottling companies are falling flat.

We’re seeing this right now in Ontario. Earlier this year, Environmental Defence wrote letters to Coca-Cola, Pepsi, Nestlé, Red Bull, Canada Dry Mott’s, and Cott. We invited them to join our efforts to tackle plastic pollution by supporting a deposit return program in Ontario.

While the individual companies didn’t write us back, their industry association did. The Canadian Beverage Association told us it “is not supportive of the deposit return program model” we are proposing, and went on regurgitate the same old talking points we’ve heard before. (Check out our blog series debunking industry’s deposit return claims.)

The fact is deposit return programs achieve higher recycling rates than Blue Box programs. Eight out of ten provinces in Canada have a deposit return program for plastic bottles. As a result, they recycle more of them. Ontario’s recycling rate for plastic bottles is about 50 per cent, while the average in provinces with deposit programs is 77 per cent.

We’re seeing more and more stories about plastic pollution in our oceans, but a lot of people don’t realize the situation isn’t all that different in the lakes. In fact, concentrations of plastic pollution in the Great Lakes and the Great Pacific Garbage Patch are pretty much the same! One study estimates that more than 10,000 metric tonnes of plastic end up in the lakes every year.

It’s time to turn this plastic tide, and industry needs to step up and be part of the solution.The bottling companies’ unwillingness to support a deposit return program in Ontario is an unwillingness to do what it takes to deal with their packaging waste.

You know what would be refreshing? If big beverage companies demonstrated environmental leadership and supported this proven best practice.

If you agree, sign our petition asking Coca-Cola, Pepsi, and Nestlé to support a deposit return program in Ontario.

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