New Report Details How Giants Like Coca-Cola Are Trashing the Planet With Plastics While Pushing 'False Solutions'
A new report out Wednesday from a global environmental coalition named the corporate giants responsible for the most global plastic pollution in a recent tally—with Coca Cola and Nestlé topping the list—even as those same companies engage in greenwash efforts to continue “the plastic pollution crisis.”
“This report provides more evidence that corporations urgently need to do more to address the plastic pollution crisis they’ve created,” said Von Hernandez, global coordinator of the Break Free From Plastic movement, in statement.
For its analysis, the coalition engaged in a “brand audit.” That means “identifying, counting, and documenting the brands found on plastic and other collected packaging waste to help identify the corporations responsible for pollution,” in other words, finding “the companies polluting the most places with the most plastics.”
The tally took place last month on World Cleanup Day, and involved over 70,000 volunteers in 51 countries across six continents. They gathered and assessed “476,423 pieces of plastic waste, 43 percent of which was marked with a clear consumer brand,” the report said.
The top 10 most frequently identified companies were Coca Cola, Nestle, PepsiCo, Mondelez International, Unilever, Mars, P&G, Colgate-Palmolive, Phillip Morris, and Perfetti Van Mille.
What did it take for Coca Cola to take top spot—a dubious honor it takes for the second year in a row?
“A total of 11,732 branded Coca Cola plastics were recorded in 37 countries across four continents,” the report said, “more than the next three top global polluters combined.”
Nestlé and PepsiCo, meanwhile, still claim spots two and three respectively, swapping the positions they held in the coalition’s 2018 audit.
“We must continue to expose these real culprits of our plastic and recycling crisis.”
—Denise Patel, Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives (GAIA)Break Free From Plastic’s name-and-shame effort has a clear goal: “Only by highlighting the real culprits can we push them to change their packaging and destructive throwaway business model.” In addition, said the group, it’s “a powerful tool to challenge the corporate narrative that plastic pollution is a waste management issue caused by individual consumers.”
Companies may tout that their plastic products are recyclable, but that’s an incomplete description, said the report. Labeling a product recyclable provides no guarantee that it will actually get recycled. The report noted that “since the 1950’s, only 9 percent has actually been recycled globally.”
Even if the product is recycled, that’s no “magic solution.”
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