Coca-Cola is the largest known contributor of branded plastic waste, global study finds

Sareen Habeshian

Fifty-six brands led by The Coca-Cola Company are responsible for more than half of the plastic pollution found across the globe, according to a new study.

Why it matters: About 400 million tonnes of plastic waste are produced every year, which often ends up in landfills where most types don't decompose, biodegrade or compost.

  • The equivalent of 2,000 garbage trucks full of plastic are also dumped into the world's oceans, rivers and lakes every day. And people are ingesting more nanoplastic particles than previously thought.

What they found: There was a strong linear relationship between companies' annual production of plastic and their branded plastic pollution, according to the study published Wednesday in the journal Science Advances.

  • Food and beverage companies were disproportionately large polluters.

By the numbers: The top five brands globally were The Coca-Cola Company (11%), PepsiCo (5%), Nestlé (3%), Danone (3%), and Altria (2%), accounting for 24% of the total branded plastic researchers tallied.

  • Half of items were unbranded, which researchers said calls for mandated producer reporting.

What they're saying: A spokesperson for The Coca-Cola Company said in an email that through its World Without Waste Strategy, the company aims to make 100% of its packaging recyclable globally by 2025.

  • The company also aims to use at least 50% recycled material in its packaging by 2030.
  • "We know more must be done and we can't achieve our goals alone," the spokesperson said.

The bottom line: "Phasing out single-use and short-lived plastic products by the largest polluters would greatly reduce global plastic pollution," the researchers said.

Zoom out: Negotiations are currently underway in Canada for a global treaty that would fight plastic pollution, including reducing production of the material.

Methodology: The study used data from 84 countries from 2018–2022 to identify the brands of plastic items found in the environment through 1,576 audit events.

Go deeper: Handful of producers churn out 80% of post-Paris emissions

Author Sareen Habeshian ~

Read the original article here ~

Article source AXIOS ~

Top Photo credit Gretchen Smail ~

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