Greenpeace unveils branded plastic trash installation at Yonge-Dundas Square
A stark reminder of corporate responsibility in plastic pollution
October 30, 2018
Today, Greenpeace Canada unveiled a large art installation in Toronto’s Yonge-Dundas Square depicting the role of corporations in the plastic pollution crisis facing ocean life and our planet. The installation incorporates branded single-use plastic trash from corporate plastic polluters collected at cleanups and brand audits in September.
Greenpeace erected an eight-foot high sculpture of a mother albatross bird feeding her baby branded plastic trash, standing in a nest on a beach covered with plastic pollution. The art piece, created by Toronto-based artist and activist Dave Fujii and commissioned by Greenpeace, shows how everyday consumer brands are fueling plastic pollution through the mass production of single-use plastic packaging.
The branded plastic being fed to the baby represents trash of the top five plastic polluters identified through brand audits conducted by Greenpeace Canada in collaboration with six partner organizations. These top polluters were found to be Nestlé, Tim Hortons, PepsiCo., The Coca-Cola Company and McDonald’s.
“The art installation serves as a visceral reminder of who is fueling plastic pollution and what that means for marine life,” said Wanjiro Ndungu, spokesperson for the Oceans and Plastics campaign. “The sculpture specifically reflects the reality that 9 out of 10 seabirds have ingested plastic. Since the branded trash used in this sculpture was collected during cleanups, we hope the top polluters we have identified through our brand audits will start focusing on cutting their plastic footprint and realize that we’re well beyond recycling as a solution.”
“In my effort to make a change in this world alongside Greenpeace, I have become more conscious of the choices that I make,” said Rommel Bellosillo, Greenpeace local group organizer and one of the volunteers who had participated in the Toronto cleanup and brand audit activity. “It has become more important to me that my choices don’t have a negative impact on the environment, on the people around me or don’t compromise the future of this planet. We need corporations to operate the same way and stop saying plastic pollution is just a consumer problem. Corporations have greatly contributed to this global epidemic but they can also play a huge role in creating the solution.”
A recent Greenpeace International report, ‘A Crisis of Convenience’, demonstrates that none of the 11 surveyed Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) companies including the largest identified polluters in the international Brand Audit report Nestlé, PepsiCo., The Coca-Cola Company, Danone, P&G and others, have comprehensive strategies that include commitments to reduce their production of single-use plastic or offer more sustainable alternatives. Tim Hortons, not included in this report, has also not announced any steps to reduce its production and distribution of single-use plastics.
Greenpeace recently commissioned a survey that found 65 per cent of respondents want the government to act quickly to ban single-use plastics. European Parliament took an historic stand last week against single-use plastic pollution voting to ban some of the most problematic throwaway products, such as expanded polystyrene food containers, and to ensure producers are held accountable for the costs of single-use plastic pollution. The Canadian government has yet to take strong action towards reducing single-use plastics.
Greenpeace is calling for plastic-producing corporations to commit to reductions and a phase out of single-use plastics and for the federal government to hold companies accountable for their role in the plastic pollution pandemic and follow other progressive jurisdictions’ lead by banning single-use plastics nationwide as they have done with microbeads.