Over the last month, Environmental Defence organized a series of bottle collection events around the GTA. For the events, people dropped off empty plastic beverage bottles, like water and pop bottles. In return, they got 10 cents for each bottle.
Our goal was to demonstrate how deposit return programs work, while generating some buzz in the community. We’re happy to report that the events were a huge success.
Over the course of just three weekends, we collected over 10,000 bottles, and more than a few stories.
Students fundraised for eco-project
The EcoClub at Don Valley Middle School in Toronto collected 600 bottles, raising $60 for a sustainability initiative. They told us they plan to use the money from the bottle-drive to purchase reusable water bottles they can sell at a reduced price to other students at their school.
All in the Family
A father-son duo scoured their neighbourhood and nearby construction sites, and collected more than 1,000 bottles. Word is they’re planning to spend the money they raised on a basketball hoop.
People want more opportunities to recycle for cash
Lots of folks emailed us to find out if we were planning to host more events, and if we would be coming to their community. It’s just further proof that putting a price on plastic pollution incentivizes recycling.
Deposit return programs are a known best practice when it comes to achieving high recycling rates for beverage containers. As a matter of fact, Ontario is one of only two provinces in Canada without a deposit system, and unsurprisingly it also has the lowest plastic bottle recycling rate in the country.
Every year about 3 billion plastic bottles are sold in Ontario, but less than half of them are recycled. The rest — 1.5 billion bottles — end up in landfills or littered in our streets, parks, rivers and lakes. Meanwhile, provinces with deposit return programs recycle up to 82 per cent of their bottles.
But the plastic tide is turning. Ontarians have shown they are eager to see a provincial deposit return program for plastic bottles.
It’s time to build on that momentum. Sign our petition asking Coca-Cola, Pepsi, and Nestlé to support a deposit return program in Ontario.