Toolkit: Plastic Free July Toolkit


This year, Greenpeace activists around the world and partners within the Break Free From Plastic movement will use Plastic Free July to go beyond just personal changes and instead pressure four of the worst plastic polluters in the world to ditch plastic packaging for reuse, refill, and package-free solutions.

This toolkit contains everything you need to know to complete any or all of the following tactics:

  1. Deliver/send a letter or email to retailers that sell Coca-Cola and PepsiCo products. 
  2. Call Coca-Cola and PepsiCo’s headquarters.
  3. Do a community clean-up and brand audit.

Why a corporate focus?

While personal lifestyle changes to reduce plastic can be a great way to reduce your waste and support zero waste businesses or initiatives, we will never have truly plastic-free, zero-waste communities unless corporations stop churning out billions of pounds of single-use plastic every year and governments finally turn off the plastic tap and hold them accountable. Big Brands, and major retailers, make it nearly impossible for people to avoid plastic packaging, as nearly every food item and personal care product commercially accessible is sold wrapped in plastic. We need corporations to innovate and find alternative, package-free ways of getting products to consumers.

Since 2017, The Coca-Cola Company, PepsiCo, Nestlé, and Unilever have ranked among the top plastic polluting companies worldwide based on global cleanup and audits. In 2021, Coca-Cola and PepsiCo topped the list in first and second position, with Unilever and Nestlé in third and fourth. These companies know they have a pollution, PR, and packaging problem, but year after year it isn’t getting better. In fact, Coca-Cola even produced MORE plastic bottles in 2021 than it did the year before – 25 billion bottles (p. 72)!

But could they be getting the message that enough is enough? Coca-Cola and PepsiCo have kicked off 2022 by suggesting that they may have begun to understand that systems of refill and reuse are key in reducing their plastic footprint, but are these commitments and encouraging words translating into action that matches the scale of the problem? Not even close. These steps, outlined below, are not as ambitious as we need them to be to curb the worst impacts of plastics on communities, wildlife, and our climate. 

Coca-Cola’s announcement to make 25% of their packaging refillable/reusable by 2030 needs to be closer to 50% – and we need to ensure that this switch actually results in a reduction of their single-use plastics.

PepsiCo’s announcement to “set a time-bound goal by the end of 2022 for a percent of the volume of beverages to be delivered via strategies that avoid or minimize single-use packaging, including reusable and refillable bottles or containers” gives us an opportunity to ensure that their goal is as ambitious as we need it to be. 

And what about Nestlé and Unilever? These two companies have not yet made any public commitments on refill and reuse systems but have launched some pilot projects trialing reusable packaging. 

Our Goals for Plastic Free July

Let’s show these corporations that people across the globe are demanding that they move away from single-use plastics and finally, truly embrace reuse– and quickly! Coca-Cola once said that “people want plastic bottles,” when in reality, 71% of people around the world think single-use plastic products should be banned (according to a 2019 Ipsos survey). We need to make it impossible for Coca-Cola and other plastic producers to continue telling themselves that false narrative. This PFJ, join us in honing in on the top two plastic polluters, Coca-Cola and PepsiCo, to demand ambitious and impactful plastic reduction and refill & reuse commitments by end of this year.

Three ways to engage in Plastic Free July 2022

  1. Deliver/send a letter or email to retailers that sell Coca-Cola and PepsiCo products. 
  2. Call Coca-Cola and PepsiCo’s headquarters.
  3. Do a community clean-up and brand audit.

Click the above links to get involved!