News

April 25, 2019

B.C.’s Unrecycled Plastics Contributing to Ocean Pollution, Conservation Group Says

News Source: CTV News

Author(s): Breanna Karstens-Smith

At the current pace, scientists predict that in 30 years there will be more plastic in the oceans than fish, and a conservation group says its research shows British Columbia isn't helping the problem.

The Oceans Legacy Foundation believes that one million beverage containers and 2.3 million bottle caps go missing in B.C. each day from the province's recycling system.

"That number was staggering to our research team when we put all the numbers together," executive director and co-founder Chloe Dubois told CTV News Vancouver.

The group obtained the data by taking the number of containers purchased each day and subtracting the number that are returned to recycling depots.

The numbers are just estimates, but concerning ones nonetheless.

That's why OLF wants to see the amount money people are paid to return a container go up.

"The rates right now are set at five cents, so we would like a minimum of at least 10 cents," Dubois said. "But you have other jurisdictions raising it in Europe beyond 37 cents."

As far as the number of caps going missing, the company responsible for collecting containers says the OLF's numbers are likely inaccurate.

Encorp Pacific CEO Allen Langdon said his company does not really enforce a no-cap policy, adding that steps are being taken to encourage more recycling.

"We've launched and are launching an express format that allows people to come down, bring their containers in bags so they don't have to spend time in the depot waiting and waiting in line sorting their containers," Langdon said.

OLF said that's a step in the right direction, but still is not enough.

"If Canada is serious about being a leader in terms of ocean plastics and shoreline litter, they need to start putting their money where their mouth is and helping countless individuals keep our planet clean," Dubois said.