Coca-Cola has been named the most polluted brand in the world, according to a global audit by the Break Free From Plastic movement.
It’s the second year in the row Coca-Cola has topped the list, with the company responsible for more plastic pollution than the next top three polluters combined.
Nestle, Pepsi and Mondelez followed Coca-Cola as the worst brand polluters.
Break Free From Plastic counted the litter during “brand audits” where 72,000 volunteers collected pollution in 484 cleanups across more than 50 countries.
The volunteers scoured the streets, beaches and waterways, collecting bottles, wrappers, bags and scraps during World Clean Up Day on 21 September.
From the collection, researchers identified 50 different types of waste from nearly 8,000 brands, with Coke the most counted product at 11,372 identifiable pieces of litter across 32 countries.
It is believed there was likely more pollution from Coke, PepsiCo and Mondelez, however, more than half of the plastic had eroded to the point where it was impossible to tell which brand it belonged to.
While 476,423 pieces of plastic were collected, only 43 per cent were marked with a clear brand.
Across Africa and Europe, Coke was the worst offending polluter brand, but fifth in North America, where the most collected litter was produced by Nestle, Solo and Starbucks.
Break Free From Plastic 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.”
Despite the fact Coca-Cola has recently introduced water in aluminum cans and plastic bottles made of marine waste while also pledging to package its products in fully recyclable, reusable or compostable container by 2025, both Break Free From Plastic and Greenpeace said it’s not enough.
Greenpeace Southeast Asia plastic campaign coordinator Abigail Aguilar said: “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“These strategies largely protect the outdated throwaway business model that caused the plastic pollution crisis, and will do nothing to prevent these brands from being named the top polluters again in the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.”
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