Rules needed to define what is recyclable and compostable to avoid greenwashing

Toronto | Traditional territories of the Huron-Wendat, the Anishnaabeg, Haudenosaunee, Chippewas and the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation – Environmental Defence welcomes the agreement that will see Keurig Canada pay $3 million in penalties after Canada’s Competition Bureau found that the company’s claims about the recyclability of its plastic coffee pods amount to greenwashing.

This result follows years of concern expressed by Environmental Defence and other organizations about how the false claims that companies make about their packaging are contributing to the plastic pollution crisis.

The finding sends a warning to all other companies who make dubious claims about the recyclability of their products and packaging. However, it’s still too easy to make these claims in Canada due to the lack of a standard definition of recyclability. Very little plastic packaging in Canada should carry the claim it is recyclable. But at the moment, the only option for the public is to make a complaint with the Competition Bureau on individual products and hope an investigation will result in change.

Overall, only 12 per cent of plastic packaging is recycled in Canada. Clear PET bottles, like those used for water, and non-coloured HDPE bottles, such as those used for milk, are the most likely to be recycled, particularly if they are subject to a deposit-return system. Flexible packaging, including film bags and wrap, are almost never recycled.

We know Canadians want products that don’t contribute to the growing crisis of plastic pollution. The federal government must:

  • Ban difficult or impossible to recycle products, and ensure the six single-use items slated for elimination can no longer be sold in Canada by the end of this year.
  • Develop a Canada-wide standard that makes it clear what recyclable or compostable products and packaging means.
  • Provide support to help Canadian businesses and consumers shift to reusable packaging and products.

ABOUT ENVIRONMENTAL DEFENCE ( Environmental Defence is a leading Canadian environmental advocacy organization that works with government, industry and individuals to defend clean water, a safe climate and healthy communities.

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

Lauren Thomas, Environmental Defence,