This Soda Brand is the Biggest Polluter on the Planet

If you are someone who enjoys a glass of Coca-Cola, then we have some bad news for you: they have been regarded as among the most prolific polluters on our planet. An annual audit from the Break Free From Plastic group found recently focused on the kind of brands that are most commonly associated with plastic waste. With over 345,000 pieces of plastic picked up, just under two-thirds – 64% - were branded by big-name companies.

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Coca-Cola, the major soft drinks firm, was seen as the most prolific offender. Over 13,800 pieces of Coca-Cola branded plastic were found. When compared to the next two big names, Pepsico and Nestle, Coca-Cola was more than both brands put together!

Both are the ‘big three’ of plastic pollution, though, and the other main names in the plastic pollution ‘league table’ included major brands like Unilever and Mars.

These three brands have been table toppers for their years consecutively. According to Abigail Aguilar, who is one of the Plastics Campaign Regional Co-Ordinators in Southeast Asia, these companies posit ‘false solutions to the plastic pollution problem whilst doing nothing meaningful to help solve the problem.

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Is Coca-Cola doing enough to stop the problem? According to press releases from Coca-Cola and the other biggest names, they commit to retrieving all bottles back by 2030. The aim is to turn all bottles into recyclable goods that never wind up floating in our oceans or hanging around as litter in landfill sites as so much plastic does.

According to Bea Perez, the Head of Sustainability at Coca-Cola, this is a problem they take seriously, adding: “Business won’t be in business if we don’t accommodate our consumers. So as we change our bottling infrastructure, move more into recycling and innovate, we also have to show the consumer all the opportunities. They will change with us.”

From bottle swapping – giving discounts for handing in old bottles – to other initiatives, big-name firms like Coca-Cola are doing something. In the eyes of some, though, it is not enough.