The multinationals Cola-Cola, Pepsi and Nestlé are the companies that contribute the most to pollution of the oceans with single-use plastics, according to a study by the initiative “Break Free from Plastic”, which has cleaned the coasts of 42 countries in all the world.
"These brand audits offer undeniable proof of the role that companies play in perpetuating the global crisis of plastic pollution," said Break Free From Plastic Global Coordinator Von Hernandez. “By continuing to produce problematic and unrecoverable disposable plastic packaging for their products, these companies are guilty of destroying the planet on a large scale. It is time for them to take responsibility and stop blaming citizens for their waste and polluting products. "
The country report
“The report irrefutably demonstrates the role of large corporations in perpetuating global plastic pollution "said the global coordinator of the "Break free from Plastic" movement, Von Hernandez, at the launch of the study in Manila, Philippines.
More than 10,000 volunteers carried out 239 actions to clean up plastic on coasts and other natural environments between September 9 and 15 in 42 countries such as the Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam, India, Indonesia, Australia, Chile, Ecuador, Brazil, Mexico, the United States, Canada, Morocco or Spain.
In total, they collected more than 187,000 pieces of plastic, of which more than 65% corresponded to packaging products from large global corporations, with Coca-Cola, Pepsi and Nestlé at the helm.
They are followed in the ranking of the most polluting companies: Danone, Mondelez, Procter & Gamble, Unilever, Perfetti van Melle, Mars Incorporated and Colgate-Palmolive, all multinationals related to food, hygiene and household products.
"We pay the price for the trust of multinational companies in cheap disposable plastic," said Greenpeace Southeast Asia - Philippines activist Abigail Aguilar. “We are the ones forced to clean up their plastic pollution in our streets and waterways. In the Philippines, we can clean entire beaches and the next day they are just as polluted with plastics. Through brand audits, we can name some of the worst polluters and demand that they stop producing plastic to begin with.
In North and South America, the Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, and Nestlé brands were the top polluters identified, accounting for 64 and 70 percent of all brand-name plastic pollution, respectively. ".
"In Latin America, brand audits assign responsibility to companies that produce useless plastics and to governments that allow companies to place the burden, from extraction to disposal, in the most vulnerable and poor communities," said the Coordinator of Latin America from GAIA, Magdalena Donoso. "BFFP members in Latin America are exposing this crisis and promoting zero-waste strategies in connection with our communities."
In Europe, the Coca-Cola, PepsiCo and Nestlé brands were again the top polluters identified, accounting for 45 percent of the plastic pollution found in audits there.
In Australia, 7-Eleven, Coca-Cola and McDonald’s brands were the main polluters identified, accounting for 82 percent of the plastic pollution found.
And finally, in Africa, the ASAS Group, Coca-Cola and Procter & Gamble brands were the top brands collected, accounting for 74 percent of the plastic pollution there. "These brand audits are putting responsibility back where it belongs, as corporations produce infinite amounts of plastics that end up in the Indian Ocean," said Griffins Ochieng, Program Coordinator for the Center for Environmental Justice and Development. in Kenya.
“These companies have to choose, they can be part of the problem or part of the solution. If they insist on continuing to use unnecessary plastic wrapping for their products, they will continue to encourage their manufacture and therefore contamination "Hernandez said in statements to EFEverde.
Around 100,000 pieces or pieces of plastic collected were made of materials that are impossible or very difficult to recycle, such as polystyrene, PVC (polyvinyl chloride), PET (polyethylene terephthalate) - used mostly in bottles - or film single-use plastic.
Currently, the production of plastic has reached 320 million metric tons per year and in the next decade is expected to grow by 40%, which will exponentially increase the release of greenhouse gases, since 90% of plastics they are produced from fossil fuels and pollutants.
“We must demand that the corporations behind these consumer brands stop that bad habit of overpacking their products and reverse the demand for more plastic. "said Hernández, who leads this global movement after serving as director of Greenpeace in Southeast Asia between 2014 and 2018.
The report states that these large corporations must assume their responsibility in polluting the environment at various levels, since the production of plastics exposes the communities that live near the factories to harmful substances, but also contaminates the food and products contained in the plastic wrap.
"The population is accumulating phthalates and other chemicals that alter the endocrine system in the blood, in addition to paying with their taxes the high cost of managing plastic waste", they warn from "Break Free from Plastic".
80% of the 8.3 billion metric tons of plastic produced since 1950 still remains in the environment, mainly in the oceans, according to recent studies cited in the report presented today.
Since then, only 9% of that amount of plastic has been properly recycled and 12% incinerated.
It is more urgent than ever, for the sake of communities that depend on the ocean for their subsistence, health and well-being, to get rid of plastic. Break Free From Plastic is asking companies to reduce their use of single-use plastic, redesign delivery systems to minimize or eliminate packaging, and take responsibility for the plastic pollution they are pumping into waste management systems and environment.
While brand audits do not provide a complete picture of companies' plastic pollution footprints, they are the best indication to date of the worst plastic polluters globally. The Break Free From Plastic movement is urging companies to end their reliance on single-use plastics, prioritizing innovation and alternative product delivery systems.
Break Free from Plastic
The “Break Free from Plastic” initiative was born in 2016 with the purpose of advocating for a plastic-free future, since during the long process of their disintegration they release greenhouse gases, especially methane, which contribute to climate change.
This movement already has the support of some 6,000 people in addition to more than 1,300 organizations and groups that defend the environment such as Greenpeace, GAIA or Zero Waste.
We believe in a world where land, sky, oceans, and water are home to a large amount of life, not a large amount of plastic, and where the air we breathe, the water we drink, and the food we eat are free of toxins. . -products of plastic pollution.
In this world, the principles of environmental justice, social justice, public health, and human rights drive government policy, not the demands of elites and corporations.
This is a future that we believe in and are creating together.
With information from: