Coca-Cola has been labelled the worst culprit for plastic pollution by an environmental pressure group.
In a list of the top-polluting companies worldwide, Break Free From Plastic said tens of thousands of plastic pieces could be traced back to a handful of multinational corporations after it held 484 cleanups in more than 50 countries during September.
Coca-Cola came out on top, with 11,732 pieces of plastic collected. This was more than the next three top global polluters combined.
Coca-Cola said it is working to address “this critical global issue”.
Von Hernandez, global coordinator at Break Free From Plastic 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.”
Abigail Aguilar, Greenpeace’s south-east Asia plastic campaign coordinator, added: “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.
“These strategies largely protect the outdated throwaway business model that caused the plastic pollution crisis, and will do nothing to prevent these brands from being named the top polluters again in the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.”
A Coca-Cola spokesperson said: “At a global level, we are part of key coalitions that work together to clean up plastic pollution. We co-founded the World Economic Forum Global Plastic Action Partnership (GPAP), a collaboration with government and stakeholders in coastal economies to address plastic waste with specific programmes launched in Indonesia, Vietnam & Ghana to date. We are also part of the G7 Ocean Plastics Charter and alongside key industry partners, invested $15 million in Circulate Capital, an impact-investment firm aiming to keep plastic waste out of the world’s oceans
“In 2017, we set out our company vision for a World Without Waste. This included a goal to recover 100% of the cans and bottles we use, by 2030, so that none of our packaging ends up as waste and all of our bottles and cans are recycled and used again. We are investing locally in every market to increase recovery of our bottles and cans and recently announced the launch in Vietnam of an industry-backed packaging recovery organisation, as well as a bottler-led investment of $19 million in the Philippines in a new food-grade recycling facility.
“We are also investing to accelerate key innovations that will help to reduce waste, including new enhanced recycling technologies which allow us to recycle poor quality Polyethylene terephthalate (PET) plastic, often destined for incineration or landfill, back to high-quality food packaging material.”