Fight plastic pollution: Tell Ontario to put a deposit on plastic bottles

  • by: Environmental Defence
  • recipient: Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne, Ontario Minister of Environment and Climate Change Glen Murray
Ontario has a plastic bottle problem. Every year, less than half of the single-use plastic bottles purchased in the province get recycled. The rest—an estimated one billion bottles—end up in landfills or polluting the environment, including our waterways.

Deposit return programs are a proven solution to plastic pollution. Canadian provinces and territories with such programs recycle more than three quarters of their bottles. And some provinces, like New Brunswick, put the revenues generated from their deposit programs into an environmental fund.

Ontario is one of only two provinces without a deposit return for plastic bottles. But Ontarians know that deposit return systems work. The province already has a successful deposit return program for wine and beer bottles. It’s time for it to catch up and do the same for plastic.

Take action to help protect the environment and reduce plastic waste. Tell Ontario to “Cash it! Don’t trash it” and put a deposit on plastic bottles.
SUBJECT: Please help protect the Great Lakes by putting a deposit on plastic bottles

To: Honourable Kathleen Wynne, Premier of Ontario; The Honourable Glen Murray, Ontario Minister of Environment and Climate Change

Plastic pollution in the Great Lakes rivals concentrations found in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. Studies show that 80 per cent of litter in the Great Lakes region is plastic, and the problem is only getting worse. The plastic water bottles and caps that litter our shorelines don’t go away. They just break down into smaller pieces, which can make their way up the food chain if they are consumed by fish or wildlife.

Our Blue Box recycling program is falling behind. We have the lowest PET bottle recycling rate of any province—capturing just half of the plastic bottles used, and leaving behind an estimated one billion bottles each year. It is no coincidence that Ontario is one of only two Canadian provinces without a deposit-return program for plastic bottles; other provinces recycle 72 to 95 per cent of their bottles.

Ontario needs to put a price on plastic, as almost every other province has done with a deposit return system. With a deposit return system, Ontario could recover recyclable materials, and keep plastic out of landfills and the environment. Moreover funds from the program could go towards environmental efforts that protect waterways, as they do in New Brunswick and Michigan.

I urge you to put a price on plastic pollution, by putting a deposit on plastic bottles, to turn this tide of pollution and clean up the lakes. 

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