The goal of this public education campaign is to get the public, in their capacity as consumers and citizens, to better understand plastic waste – from what we put into the bin, to where it ends up.
The problem isn’t that consumers/ citizens are unpersuaded that action to protect the environment is important. On the contrary, it is the solutions that consumers/ citizens are taught and ultimately advocate for that are unsustainable. For example, environmentally conscious consumers will support companies that replace plastic straws with biodegradable straws. The problem is that biodegradable straws, like most biodegradable alternatives, don’t decompose naturally and in most municipalities end up in a landfill. Similarly, paper bag replacements in grocery stores cause four times more greenhouse gas emissions than their plastic equivalent. Perhaps the most egregious example of this is the promise of recycling – the public has been convinced that sorting different colours of different plastics in different municipalities can and will make a difference – when only 9% of the plastic we put in the blue bin actually gets recycled.