Seagulls search for food near a sewage discharge area next to piles of plastic bottles and gallons washed away by the water on the seaside of Ouzai, south of Beirut on July 19, 2018. (JOSEPH EID / AFP)
LONDON - Drink companies Coca-Cola, PepsiCo and Nestle were found to be the world's biggest producers of plastic trash, a report by environmental group Greenpeace said on Tuesday.
Working with the Break Free From Plastic movement, Greenpeace said it orchestrated 239 plastic clean-ups in 42 countries around the world, which resulted in the audit of 187,000 pieces of plastic trash. The aim was to get a picture of how large corporations contribute to the problem of pollution.
These brand audits offer undeniable proof of the role that corporations play in perpetuating the global plastic pollution crisis
Von Hernandez, Global coordinator, Break Free From Plastic
Coca-Cola, the world's largest soft drink maker, was the top waste producer, Greenpeace said, with Coke-branded plastic trash found in 40 of the 42 countries.
"These brand audits offer undeniable proof of the role that corporations play in perpetuating the global plastic pollution crisis," said Von Hernandez, global coordinator for Break Free From Plastic.
Overall, the most common type of plastic found was polystyrene, which goes into packaging and foam coffee cups, followed closely by PET, used in bottles and containers.
"We share Greenpeace's goal of eliminating waste from the ocean and are prepared to do our part to help address this important challenge," a Coke spokesman said in a statement. The company has pledged to collect and recycle a bottle or can for everyone it sells by 2030.
All three companies have made pledges about their packaging for 2025. Coke says all its packaging will be recyclable, Nestle says it will be recyclable or reusable and PepsiCo says it will be recyclable, compostable or biodegradable.
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They are all also working to use recycled content in their packaging.
Nestle, the world's largest food and drink maker, said it recognized the issue and is working hard to eliminate non-recyclable plastics. It said it was also exploring different packaging solutions and ways to facilitate recycling and eliminate plastic waste.
PepsiCo was not immediately available to comment outside regular US business hours.
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