Drinks manufacturer Coca-Cola is the biggest global plastic polluter for the second year in a row according to pressure group Break Free From Plastic’s brand audit report for 2019.
The report audited 484 clean-ups in over 50 countries and six continents in September to identify the biggest polluting companies. It found a total of 11,732 branded Coca-Cola plastics recorded across four continents in 37 countries; this was more than the next three global polluters combined.
Following behind Coca-Cola, Nestle and PepsiCo made the top three of global polluters, with Nestle having a total of 4,846 pieces of plastic in 31 countries and PepsiCo with a total of 3,362 pieces of plastic in 28 countries.
Break Free From Plastic started its worldwide brand audit in 2018 to track what brands are the biggest polluters; that initial report found that the same three, Coca-Cola, Nestle and PepsiCo, were the top polluting brands.
The results show that Coca-Cola’s plastic pollution has increased from 2018, up from 9,216 pieces of plastic recorded in 40 countries to the 11,732 pieces that were found this year.
The top three most common plastic items found were 59,168 plastic bags, 53,369 sachets and 29,142 plastic bottles.
Break Free From Plastic movement global coordinator Von Hernandez said: “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.”
Greenpeace Southeast Asia plastic campaigner coordinator Abigail Aguilar said: “Recent commitments by corporations like Coca-Cola, Nestle 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. These strategies largely protect the outdated throwaway business model that caused the plastic pollution crisis, and will do nothing to prevent these brands from being named the top polluters again in the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.”