A global audit of plastic trash conducted by the Break Free From Plastic global movement has found that Coca-Cola is the most littered brand in the world, and is responsible for more plastic finding its way into nature than the next three companies combined, according to The Intercept's Sharon Lerner.
How did BFFP determine this? Over 72,000 volunteers combed beaches, waterways and streets, picking up all types of garbage - including plastic bottles, cups, wrappers, bags and scraps during a one-day cleanup in September. After sorting through the garbage, they found that plastic constituted around 50 types of litter traced to nearly 8,000 brands. Of that, Coke constituted 11,732 pieces of plastic litter found in 37 countries on four continents.
And while BFFP and The Intercept pin the blame on Coca-Cola, it's actually their irresponsible consumers who are the most polluting in the world.
The next biggest contributors to plastic pollution were Nestle, PepsiCo and Mondelez International (Oreo, Ritz, Nabisco and Nutter Butter) and Unilever. Of note, Coca-Cola is the #6 most valuable brand in the world according to Forbes, while Pepsi ranks 29th.
Nestle ranked #1 in North America, while Coca-Cola ranked #5 according to the audit.
Coke was the top source of plastic in Africa and Europe and the second largest source in Asia and South America. In North America, the company responsible for the most plastic found in the cleanups was Nestle, followed by the Solo Cup Company, owned by the Dart Container corporation, and Starbucks. Coca-Cola ranked fifth among the companies responsible for plastic waste in North America. -The Intercept
Coca-Cola said in a statement to The Intercept: "Any time our packaging ends up in our oceans — or anywhere that it doesn’t belong — is unacceptable to us. In partnership with others, we are working to address this critical global issue, both to help turn off the tap in terms of plastic waste entering our oceans and to help clean up the existing pollution."
"We are investing locally in every market to increase recovery of our bottles and cans and recently announced the launch in Vietnam of an industry-backed packaging recovery organization, as well as a bottler-led investment of $19 million in the Philippines in a new food-grade recycling facility. We are also investing to accelerate key innovations that will help to reduce waste, including new enhanced recycling technologies that allow us to recycle poor quality PET plastic, often destined for incineration or landfill, back to high quality food packaging material."