For immediate release: January 23, 2019

Statement from Environmental Defence’s Plastics Program Manager Vito Buonsante on Walmart Canada’s commitment to plastic waste reduction

Toronto, Ont., – We welcome Walmart Canada’s commitment this morning to reduce plastic waste across its operations. Walmart Canada’s Charter on Plastics builds on Walmart Inc.’s 2016 commitment to achieve zero waste in its operations by 2025. The strategy contains three approaches: using less plastic, recycling more plastic, and supporting improvements to the plastic waste reduction system.

This is a positive step towards reducing plastic pollution, and we applaud Walmart’s target of 100 per cent recyclable, reusable or compostable packaging by 2025. We look forward to having more details about how these targets will be achieved. At a time when plastic production is continuing to rise, and more and more is ending up in our oceans and Great Lakes, it’s great to see major retailers and producers like Walmart and Nestlé taking the vital step of actually removing non-recyclable plastics from their products.

However, it’s unfortunate that Walmart’s commitment is limited to its own operations and to its own brands, and doesn’t address the massive amount of unnecessary waste that is generated by the brands they carry in store.

Following on the recent commitments from Walmart and Nestlé, we need to see similar bans and similar timelines from the Canadian Government in order to see a real change across the country. The federal government has committed to producing an “action plan” to beat plastic pollution by the summer of 2019. They could do with taking a leaf out of Walmart’s book, and commit to achieving zero plastic waste by 2025.  Canada’s plan must include:

  • Banning plastics and additives that are harmful, or challenging to recycle.
  • Incenting the reduction of waste and reusability of products and packaging, and investing in alternative delivery systems and reuse models.
  • Requiring enforceable Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) legislation that makes companies financially and operationally responsible for collecting and recycling the materials they put on the market, and reducing resource consumption.
  • Harmonizing provincial recycling targets to ensure 100 per cent of single-use plastics are captured and at least 85 per cent are recycled by 2025.
  • Include zero plastic waste requirements in procurement policies.

In June of 2018 over 40 environmental organisations across Canada signed on to the Plastics Declaration “Towards a Zero Plastic Waste Canada.” The declaration challenges Canada to achieve zero plastic-waste by 2025.

About ENVIRONMENTAL DEFENCE (www.environmentaldefence.ca) Environmental Defence is Canada’s most effective environmental action organization. We challenge, and inspire change in government, business and people to ensure a greener, healthier and prosperous life for all.

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For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact:

Rachel Kitchin, Environmental Defence, rkitchin@environmentaldefence.ca, 416-323-9521 ext. 246