MARINE LITTER
Greenpeace's global plastics pollution audit identifies top brands / Coca-Cola world's worst offender / PS and PET most common plastic waste
A marine cleanup by environmental advocacy group Greenpeace (Amsterdam / The Netherlands; www.greenpeace.org) and its allies from global movement Break Free From Plastic (www.breakfreefromplastic.org) have named and shamed ten leading multinational brands as the world’s worst polluters. In recent months, 10,000 volunteers have taken part in 239 cleanup missions in 42 countries on six continents, collecting more than 187,000 pieces of plastic and identifying thousands of brands.

The brand audits have identified Coca-Cola, PepsiCo and Nestlé as the top three plastics polluting companies, followed (in order) by Danone, Mondelez International, Procter & Gamble, Unilever, Perfetti van Melle, Mars and Colgate-Palmolive. Waste packaging was also found from several other leading brands including fast food chain McDonald’s, convenience retailer 7-Eleven and coffee group Starbucks.

“These brand audits offer undeniable proof of the role that corporations play in perpetuating the global plastic pollution crisis,” said Von Hernandez, global coordinator of Break Free From Plastic.

Coca-Cola was the worst offender with its "Coke"-branded packaging found in 40 of the 42 participating countries. It was also the only brand to rank in the top three on all six continents.

In Europe, North America and South America, Coca-Cola, PepsiCo and Nestlé brands were the top polluters, accounting for 45%, 64% and 70% respectively of all the branded waste collected in the audits. In Asia, branded plastic from Coca-Cola, Perfetti van Melle and Mondelez made up 30% of all the pollution counted by the volunteers.
PS was most common waste plastic found
The results of the audit showed that sweets and food wrappers were the most common item found, followed by drink bottles and bottle caps, single-use cups and plastic bags. Overall, PS, which is not recyclable in the majority of locations, was the most common type of plastic found, followed closely by PET. Break Free From Plastic said that while the brand audits do not provide a complete picture of companies’ plastic pollution footprints, they are the best indication to date of the worst plastic polluters globally. The organisation is urging companies to end their reliance on single-use plastics, and prioritise innovation and alternative delivery systems for their products.
Food and beverage giants already have packaging targets
Nestlé has responded to the ranking by saying that the real problem is improper disposal, arguing that the results “demonstrate a clear and pressing need for the development of proper infrastructure to manage waste effectively around the world.” The company added that it is aiming to make 100% of its packaging reusable or recyclable by 2025 – see Plasteurope.com of 18.04.2018.

PepsiCo also said it wants all of its packaging to be recyclable, compostable or biodegradable by 2025 – see Plasteurope.com of 10.03.2017. Similarly, Coca-Cola pledged earlier this year to recycle the equivalent of 100% of its packaging by 2030 – see Plasteurope.com of 19.03.2018.
12.11.2018 Plasteurope.com [241067-0]
Published on 12.11.2018

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