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Coca-Cola is world’s biggest plastics polluter – again

Coca-Cola

Volunteers in 51 countries collected plastic waste and the soft drink manufacturer’s products cropped up the most often

Coca-Cola has been named the world’s largest polluter of plastics for the second year in a row, according to an audit conducted by Break Free From Plastic.

The environmental justice group asked 72,541 volunteers in 51 countries to collect plastic waste. Almost half (43%) of what they found were clearly marked consumer brands. Coca-Cola was named the world’s number one global plastic polluter, followed by Nestlé and Pepsico.

Volunteers were able to select the locations for their clean-up efforts and so the final results may not be a perfect representation of global trends. Nonetheless, almost 12,000 Coca-Cola products were found in 37 countries across the world.

There were some regional trends too. In the US, the biggest producers of plastic pollution were Nestlé, followed by Solo Cup Company and Starbucks. In Europe, Heineken was the third-largest plastic polluter.

Volunteers found more than 59,000 plastic bags, 53,000 sachets and 29,000 plastic bottles. No one really knows how long plastics will take to decompose in our oceans but estimates suggest that it takes up to 450 years for a plastic bottle to break down.

“Any time our packaging ends up in our oceans – or anywhere that it doesn’t belong – is unacceptable to us,” Coca-Cola said in a statement to the Intercept. “In partnership with others, we are working to address this critical global issue, both to help turn off the tap in terms of plastic waste entering our oceans and to help clean up the existing pollution.”

 

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