With the amount of attention that is paid to global warming, and the urgency for nations around the world to take immediate action for the sake of humanities survival, you would expect more from the worlds largest consumer corporations.
A recent audit that was done in September collected thousands of pieces of plastic from beaches across the world in a effort to shame and name the corporations most responsible for manufacturing plastic pollution.
According to their findings, Coca-Cola, Nestlé, and PepsiCo are the top three producers of branded plastic pollution globally.
The other consumer companies in the top 10 are are Mondelēz International (the mother company of Chips Ahoy!, Oreo, Ritz, etc), Unilever, Mars, P&G, Colgate-Palmolive, Phillip Morris tobacco manufacturers, and candy producer Perfetti Van Melle.
The environmental group Break Free From Plastic and Greenpeace Philippines published the new report’s findings in October. The group coordinated 484 beach cleanups in more than 50 countries with volunteers collecting 476,423 pieces of plastic waste, 43 percent of which was marked with a clear consumer brand. They were able to identify 11,732 pieces of plastic as belonging to products made by Coca-Cola – that’s more than double the runner up Nestlé, who manufactured 4,846 of the pieces, and triple PepsiCo’s 3,362 pieces.
“This report provides more evidence that corporations urgently need to do more to address the plastic pollution crisis they’ve created. Their continued reliance on single-use plastic packaging translates to pumping more throwaway plastic into the environment.
Recycling is not going to solve this problem. Break Free From Plastic’s nearly 1,800 member organizations are calling on corporations to urgently reduce their production of single-use plastic and find innovative solutions focused on alternative delivery systems that do not create pollution,” said Von Hernandez, global coordinator of the Break Free From Plastic movement.
They collected samples of plastic from across the world, from the tip of Canada to the bottom of southern Africa, and found most of the worst affected coastlines were in southeast Asia. Much of the pollution here had been sent from Europe and North America for recycling, however, they also found that China, Indonesia, the Philippines, Vietnam, and Sri Lanka are the largest sources of land-based marine plastic pollution.
“Recent commitments by corporations like Coca-Cola, Nestlé, and PepsiCo to address the crisis, unfortunately, continue to rely on false solutions like replacing plastic with paper or bioplastics, and relying more heavily on a broken global recycling system,” added Abigail Aguilar, Greenpeace Southeast Asia plastic campaign coordinator. “These strategies largely protect the outdated throwaway business model that caused the plastic pollution crisis, and will do nothing to prevent these brands from being named the top polluters again in the future.”
It is going to take a global effort by all countries around the world to have the kind of impact needed to get a handle on the plastic pollution problem. Unfortunately, not all nations agree that there is a problem and refuse to make any effort in controlling their countries pollution. China is a perfect example.
“The products and packaging that brands like Coca-Cola, Nestlé, and PepsiCo are churning out is turning our recycling system into garbage. China has effectively banned the import of the US and other exporting countries’ ‘recycling,’ and other countries are following suit. Plastic is being burned in incinerators across the world, exposing communities to toxic pollution. We must continue to expose these real culprits of our plastic and recycling crisis,” said Denise Patel, US Coordinator for the Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives (GAIA).