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Something amazing happened this past month. Plastic monsters came to life around the world, rising up from dirty landfills, climbing over piles of trash, and even swimming up and out of seas, lakes, and rivers to make long and sometimes arduous journeys back home to their source.
So where did the plastic monsters originate? Nestlé.
Nestlé and other multinational corporations produce massive amounts of single-use plastic packaging. As we all know, plastic is devastating communities, polluting natural environments, and threatening marine creatures around the world. Last year, Nestlé used 1.7 million tonnes of plastic packaging. And while their latest move is to try to argue the exact numbers, the simple fact remains that Nestlé produced more plastic last year than the year before.
This has got to stop. At a time when companies need to be focused on urgently reducing their overall plastic production, Nestlé continues to increase it, distracting concerned customers and the media with more talk of recycling and small reuse initiatives that are nowhere near the scale needed to actually make a dent in the obscene amount of plastic they are pumping out into the world. In fact, Nestlé was named one of the worst plastic polluters after cleanups and brand audits of plastic waste around the world in 2018.
So the plastic monsters woke up and decided to return home to Nestlé. Check out the journey below:
A huge plastic monster, 20 meters long and covered in Nestlé’s plastic waste, appeared in the Netherlands in late March. From there it journeyed by boat toward Switzerland, stopping by a few cities in Europe as it traveled up the Rhine through Germany and France.
The plastic monster thrilled crowds in Cologne, Germany, on March 30, 2019.
On April 10, 2019, activists from the Break Free From Plastic movement delivered a plastic monster serpent along with an “invoice from the Filipino people” to Nestlé headquarters in the Philippines. The invoice outlined the costs of Nestlé’s single-use plastic packaging from impacts to human health, environmental pollution, death of wildlife, damage to livelihoods and businesses, greenhouse gas emissions, and waste management challenges.
Today, Greenpeace Switzerland activists interrupted Nestlé’s Annual General Meeting to confront executives with the company’s own plastic waste found in our oceans. Let’s make sure they hear our message loud and clear 👉https://act.gp/2Gh3VF0
Posted by Greenpeace International on Thursday, April 11, 2019
The next day, April 11, 2019, Greenpeace activists crashed the Nestlé AGM to demand that Nestlé end its reliance on single-use plastic, and invest immediately in alternative delivery systems based on refill and reuse.
And on April 16, 2019, plastic monsters showed up with Greenpeace activists at Nestlé offices all around the world!
A plastic monster appeared in Nairobi, Kenya, and the #plasticmonster hashtag was trending on social media in the country.
Also on April 16, 2019, Greenpeace Italy activists protested at the San Pellegrino plant, one of the main brand properties of Nestlé.
The giant plastic monster finally arrived home to Nestlé’s global headquarters in Switzerland on April 16, 2019.
Activists also visited Nestlé’s national office in Ljubljana, Slovenia, and brought back a selection of Nestlé’s own branded plastic waste collected from Greenpeace supporters.
In the U.S., Greenpeace activists delivered a plastic monster to Nestlé’s headquarters in Arlington, Virginia. The monster vomited Nestlé’s plastic pollution gathered from streets, rivers, and beaches across the country.
Also on April 16, 2019, Greenpeace Canada activists delivered a plastic monster covered in Nestlé branded plastic packaging to a Nestlé factory in Toronto.
The same day, Greenpeace activists visited Nestlé headquarters in Warsaw, Poland, to deliver 350 kg of plastic waste—the amount of plastic Nestlé produces in just 5 seconds. The banner reads “Is this yours, Nestlé?” and “We’re fed up with your plastic”.
But the plastic monsters weren’t done yet! On April 22, 2019, two more plastic monsters found their way home to Nestlé offices in Malaysia and Mexico.
Greenpeace activists showed up at the Nestlé office in Malaysia on Earth Day to tell the company to stop single-use plastic.
Also on April 22, 2019, Greenpeace activists arrived at Nestle’s corporate headquarters in Mexico City with a monstrous bird that feeds its young with plastic waste.
Amazing, right? These plastic monsters may not be real, but they represent a very serious crisis: the plastic monster is a reality in many communities, especially in Southeast Asia, which are being overwhelmed by the world’s plastic waste. You can help: Tell Nestlé to stop polluting our planet with single-use plastics, and share our video. You can even make your own plastic monster to let Nestlé and other big companies know it’s time to #BreakFreeFromPlastic!
Jen Fela is the Global Engagement Lead for the Plastic-Free Future campaign at Greenpeace.