Coca-Cola and Pepsi falling short on plastic pollution

A report released today by Tearfund revealed the failure of Coca-Cola and Pepsi, two of the world’s big plastic polluters, to provide sufficient pledges on addressing the plastic waste problem – particularly in developing countries.

Previous reports highlighted the scale of the problem, with the two giants as well as Nestle and Unilever responsible for more than half a million tonnes of plastic pollution in six developing countries each year – enough to cover 83 football pitches every day. While Unilever and Nestle scored highly in their pledges, with Unilever committing to halve their use of virgin plastics by 2025, no such public commitments have been made by Pepsi and Coca-Cola. The plastic giants are being called on to reduce their reliance on single-use plastics and switch to refillable/reusable packaging – although Coca-Cola’s current focus is on increasing recycled content and improving collection by 2030.

Urgent action is needed to tackle these issues and consistent commitments in the right direction by big polluters are necessary. However, we need to ensure that these commitments are followed up on and, more importantly, that they will have an impact. Collection will address some of the pollution problems but we need to make sure that this can then be segregated and reused/recycled and not simply be burnt or end up in landfill.

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