Tim Hortons coffee cups and lids were some of the most common pieces of plastic litter found across Canada after a trash audit by Greenpeace scoured more than 2,000 pieces of identifiable garbage.

The popular coffee company was second to Nestlé -- which owns brands like Nestlé Pure Life water, Kit Kat, Nestea and Coffee Crisp -- in the number of plastic products found in litter tossed out by Canadians. In third place was PepsiCo., followed by the Coca-Cola Company and McDonald’s Corporation.

Those five companies accounted for 46 per cent of the identifiable trash collected over five separate locations across the country. Food wrappers were the most common item, followed by plastic bottles, cups, bottle caps and plastic bags.

“We are hoping that these companies see the results of this report and … move toward more sustainable delivery methods for their products,” said Sarah King, head of Greenpeace Canada’s oceans and plastics campaign, in an interview on CTV News Channel Wednesday.

“Methods that are more focused on reuse, refill options, and not this throw-away plastic that we’re finding in our oceans and in our environment.”

While many companies, including those in the top five, have come out with statements of commitment to address plastic packaging, King noted that their focus has been on recyclability not reduction of plastic production. While some of the blame can be placed on consumers improperly disposing their trash, that’s not always the case, said King.

“We all think that we are putting our plastic recycling in a recycling bin and it’s all going off and being recycled,” she said. In Fact, only 10 to 12 per cent of plastic packaging in Canada gets recycled.

Globally, that number is closer to 9 per cent. “Most of the plastic packaging is ending up in landfills, is being burned or unfortunately is ending up in the environment.”


Top 5 corporations found in plastic litter

1. Nestlé (Nestea and Nestlé Pure Life bottles, Kit Kat and Coffee Crisp wrappers)

2. Tim Hortons (cups and lids)

3. PepsiCo. (Lay’s, Quaker, Ruffles, Doritos wrappers, Pepsi bottles)

4. The Coca-Cola Company (Dasani, Coca-Cola, Powerade, Minute Maid bottles)

5. McDonald’s Corporation (cups and lids)