Top beverage brands have been static on reducing plastic waste, after being named the world’s top plastic polluters for the third year straight.
Coca-Cola was ranked world’s no.1 for most littered products by Break Free from plastic in its annual audit, after its beverage bottles were habitually found disposed on rivers, parks, beaches, and other litter sites in 51 of 55 nations surveyed.
Lately, in 2019 it was the most frequently littered bottle in 37 countries, out of 51 surveyed. In comparison to the other two brands namely PepsiCo and Nestle, Coca-Cola’s litter was more than the combined plastic waste of PepsiCo and Nestlé, reflecting that the brand was well-liked by customers.
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In March, Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, Nestle, and Unilever were found to be responsible for massive half a million tons of plastic pollution in six developing countries each year, in a a survey by NGO Tearfund.
Reports say plastic from Coca-Cola, Nestle, PepsiCo, and Unilever products could cover 83 football pitches every day.
Emma Priestland, Break Free from Plastic’s global campaign coordinator said, “the world’s top polluting corporations claim to be working hard to solve plastic pollution, but instead they are continuing to pump-out harmful single-use plastic packaging.”
Priestland said the only way to halt the growing global tide of plastic litter was to stop production, phase out single-use and implement reuse systems.
Up to 91% of all the plastic waste ever generated has not been recycled and it eventually ended up being carbonized, in landfills or the natural environment, according to a 2017 study.
Moreover this year’s audit report of branded plastic waste revealed that the single use sachets, which are used to sell small volumes of products such as ketchup, coffee, and shampoo, were the most commonly found type of item, followed by cigarette butts, then plastic bottles.
In addition, Coca-Cola branding was found on 13,834 pieces of plastic, with PepsiCo tag on 5,155 and Nestle branding on 8,633. According to the annual audit, ventured by 15,000 volunteers across the world analyzed the largest number of plastic products from global brands found in the highest number of countries.
This year only, they collected 346,494 pieces of plastic waste, 63% of which was marked clearly with a consumer brand. Earlier this year Coca-Cola was reprehended from environmental campaigners when the brand announced it would not abandon plastic bottles.
The beverage brand Coca-Cola which is responsible for majority of plastic waste globally said it was working towards addressing packaging, in partnership with
others, and rubbished the claim that it was making no progress.
Coca-Cola says it will start selling bottles made of 100% recycled plastic in the U.S.
♻️It is one of the biggest producers of plastic waste
♻️About 1 million plastic bottles are bought per minute globally
♻️Each trashed bottle takes at least 450 years to break down pic.twitter.com/BWZwwIE97V
— AJ+ (@ajplus) February 10, 2021
“Globally, we commit to get every bottle back by 2030, so that none of it ends up as littler or in the oceans, thus the plastic can be recycled into new bottles,” a spokesperson said.
“Bottles with 100% recycled plastic are now available in 18 markets around the world, and this is repeatedly growing.” The spokesperson said Coca-Cola had also minimized plastic use in secondary packaging, and that globally “more than 20% of our portfolio comes in refillable or fountain packaging.”
PepsiCo spokesperson said the actions are taken by company to tackle packaging through, “partnership, innovation and investments.”
They said it had set plastic reduction goals “including decreasing virgin plastic in our beverage business by 35% by 2025″ and was also “increasing refill and reuse through businesses like SodaStream and SodaStream Professional, which we expect will elude 67bn single-use plastic bottles through 2025.”
They added that the company was investing in partnerships to enhance and increase recycling infrastructure and collection, pledging more than $65m since 2018. A statement from Nestle said the the company was working towards “meaningful progress” in sustainable packaging, despite the fact it recognized more was needed.
“We are escalating our actions to make 100% of our packaging recyclable or reusable by the year 2025 and to reduce our use of virgin plastics by one-third in the same time. So far, 87% of our total packaging and 66% of our plastic packaging is recyclable or reusable.”
Simon Mbata, national coordinator of the South African Waste Pickers Association, said, “The majority of plastic we come across cannot be recycled. We find it everywhere, in our waste stream, on our land. When it is buried, it contaminates our soil. Whatever cannot be recycled must not be produced.”
Featured image is for representational purposes only.