Disappointing results reported by the Plastic Reduction Team

by Theresa Peluso

Last April we, consisting of five members of the Plastic Reduction Team, advertised a campaign to encourage all residents to participate in our efforts to promote a deposit fee in Ontario for plastic drinking bottles, which would considerably improve our province’s recycling rate. Our reason for this initiative was to find a simple but effective way to start pushing back against the proliferation of plastic pollution in our environment.

We contacted local Adopt-a-Road groups and advertised our campaign in the local media throughout Lanark County and beyond, to Arnprior and Smiths Falls, as well as on the website of our municipality, Mississippi Mills, as part of our municipality’s Pitch-In initiative.  Since our team had no funding, all advertising had to be done at no cost.  Staff at Mississippi Mills and news editors were very helpful in posting the information promptly.

Our campaign required people to take a few extra steps after they had collected litter in the parks and ditches:  separate the plastic drinking bottles from the rest of the collected litter, then count and photograph them and send the information to our team.

It must certainly be admitted that April’s freezing rain and snow, followed by many days of rain, made it difficult to build on the momentum of the initial announcement, and difficult as well, for everyone to participate in the annual clean-up of roadsides and parks.  In addition, two of our team members became ill.  Over 6 weeks, one of our team members, Nancy Adams, collected 295 plastic drinking bottles on the paths and in the parks of Almonte.  Two other team members collected an additional 35 bottles. The end result is that public participation in our plastic reduction campaign was poor.

The Plastic Reduction Team will send the information collected as part of our campaign to promote a deposit fee on plastic bottles to Environmental Defence Canada, as we had arranged, and hope that somehow a way can be found to stop the continued increase in plastic pollution that is wreaking such havoc on our environment and on human health.