Plastic Free July: Oceana Canada Urges Government Action on Refillable and Reusable Packaging Choices for Canadians - Oceana Canada

Plastic Free July: Oceana Canada Urges Government Action on Refillable and Reusable Packaging Choices for Canadians

Canadians asked to stand up to the growing plastic pollution crisis by signing government petition for #ZeroPlasticWaste

Press Release Date: July 5, 2022

Media contacts: Angela Pinzon, Pilot PMR,, 647-295-0517;
Lesley Wilmot, Oceana Canada,, 647-535-6326. Media assets are available here.

TORONTO, July 5, 2022 – Oceana Canada is calling on the Canadian government to continue efforts to reduce the amount of harmful single-use plastics flooding our oceans and devastating marine life. The call urges the government to introduce stringent recycled content laws that increase the availability of refillable and reusable consumer packaging choices and stop the burning of plastic waste, which releases harmful cancer-causing emissions into the air, water and soil.

Investing in recycling will not end the plastic disaster. Only eight per cent of the three million tonnes of plastic produced in Canada is recycled. More than 90 per cent is burned or ends up in landfills and the environment. This low rate of recycling is attributed to challenges with the composition of single-use plastics that impede proper waste management, such as mixed materials, chemical additives or dyes and colour additives. Canada is also projected to burn 22 per cent of its plastic waste per year by 2030, up from four per cent in 2019, through a highly toxic process called “advanced recycling.”

“We cannot recycle and burn our way out of this disaster,” said Anthony Merante, Plastics Campaigner at Oceana Canada. “We need Canadians to join us in standing up to the plastic pollution crisis and insist that our government move us away from unnecessary single-use plastics that harm our planet and toward the most viable long-term solutions to achieve zero plastic waste: refillable and reusable packaging choices.”

Since 2019, Oceana Canada has been advocating to reduce plastic pollution, meeting with decision makers, publishing reports on the state of plastic, putting forward science-based recommendations to achieve zero plastic waste and encouraging Canadians to call on the federal government to enact strong bans on single-use plastics.

According to Oceana Canada’s latest market research conducted by Abacus Data, 91 per cent of Canadians support a plastic waste reduction strategy that works to eliminate single-use products as much as possible, and 92 per cent feel it is important for a plastic reduction strategy to include methods other than recycling, such as reusable alternatives.

Oceana’s report, Just one Word: Refillables, demonstrates that increasing the refillable and reusable market has a high return on reducing plastic pollution. Increasing the market for refillable and reusable products by 50 per cent could result in a reduction of plastic pollution in the ocean by up to 83 per cent.

Recently, the federal government banned six categories of the most commonly found single-use plastics polluting Canada’s shorelines and oceans. The ban will gradually eliminate the Canadian production and export of plastic bags, cutlery, stir sticks, six-pack rings, straws and some takeout container, an estimated to five per cent of Canada’s total plastic waste per year.

Despite significant progress to reduce plastic waste, public support is needed to push the federal government to take further action. Canadians can view a video and sign Oceana Canada’s petition to get involved.

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Oceana Canada was established as an independent charity in 2015 and is part of the largest international advocacy group dedicated solely to ocean conservation. Oceana Canada has successfully campaigned to end the shark fin trade, make rebuilding depleted fish populations the law, improve the way fisheries are managed and protect marine habitat. We work with civil society, academics, fishers, Indigenous Peoples and the federal government to return Canada’s formerly vibrant oceans to health and abundance. By restoring Canada’s oceans, we can strengthen our communities, reap greater economic and nutritional benefits and protect our future. Find out more at