Nationwide cleanups reveal Pepsi, Nestlé, and Coca-Cola as worst contributors to single-use plastic pollution

by Perry Wheeler

December 19, 2017

Washington, DC – Greenpeace announced the results of cleanups and brand audits conducted at 31 cities across the country today, identifying Pepsi, Nestlé, and Coca-Cola as the worst contributors to single-use plastic pollution. The cleanups, conducted as part of the #breakfreefromplastic movement, analyzed over 7,000 pieces of single-use plastic trash to determine which corporations produced it.

“Companies like Pepsi, Nestlé, and Coca-Cola continue to pollute our communities, waterways, and oceans with single-use plastic that will never disappear,” said Greenpeace Oceans Campaigner Kate Melges. “For far too long, these companies have put the onus on consumers to deal with the plastic waste epidemic, but people across the country are starting to take a closer look at the plastic pollution in their local communities to put the responsibility back where it belongs — on the corporations producing it.”

Greenpeace USA conducted the beach cleanups and audits with local groups, including the Surfrider NYC Chapter, Rockaway Civic Association, Surfrider Miami Chapter, and the Plastic Ocean Project. Pepsi was identified as the overall top contributor to single-use plastic pollution, followed by Nestlé, then Coca-Cola. Mars and The Hershey Company rounded out the five worst polluters list. The most plastic waste was collected by volunteers at South Beach in Miami, FL, followed by Rockaway Beach in New York, then Cherry Beach, Long Beach, CA.

Greenpeace launched a global campaign on soft drink company Coca-Cola this year, with more than 500,000 individuals to date urging the company to phase out single-use plastics. The company produces over 110 billion of these single-use plastic bottles each year and continues to invest in more throwaway plastic. The company is planning to release a global strategy on plastics in the coming weeks.

The #breakfreefromplastic movement is working to build a future free from plastic pollution. The movement has encouraged the gathering of data on branded packaging until cleanups become a thing of the past. Greenpeace and allies around the globe have helped conduct cleanups, including a massive cleanup and brand audit at Manila Bay’s Freedom Island in the Philippines. Over 50,000 pieces of plastic waste were collected during the week-long audit at Freedom Island, and Unilever and Nestlé were identified as the top polluters.

Over 90 percent of the plastics currently produced globally are not recycled, and the equivalent of a truckload of plastic pollution enters the ocean every minute. Greenpeace is urging the biggest corporations to take responsibility for the crisis they started by fundamentally shifting how products are brought to people.

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Contact: Perry Wheeler, Senior Communications Specialist, P: 301-675-8766

Perry Wheeler

By Perry Wheeler

Perry Wheeler is global seafood communications and outreach manager at Greenpeace USA.

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