Report unveils massive Coca-Cola, Nestle, Unilever and Pepsi plastic pollution footprint
Drink giants Coca-Cola, Nestle, Unilever and Pepsi are responsible for over half a million tons of plastic pollution in six developing countries each year, new reports show.
According to the NGO Tearfund report, pollution from these giants would suffice to cover 83 football pitches every day.
The NGO Tearfund has calculated that the open burning of plastic bottles, sachets and cartons produced by these companies in developing nations generates about 4.6m tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent a year – or the same as the emissions from 2m cars.
The report studied the pollution in China, India, the Philippines, Brazil, Mexico and Nigeria by the four companies in order to examine what the impact of single use plastic in developing countries might be.
The sachets, bottles, and cartons sold in these countries often end up either being burned or dumped.
The report says: “This massive plastic pollution footprint, while a crisis in and of itself, is also contributing to the climate crisis.”
“These companies continue to sell billions of products in single-use bottles, sachets and packets in developing countries,” says the report.
“And they do this despite knowing that: waste isn’t properly managed in these contexts; their packaging therefore becomes pollution; and such pollution causes serious harm to the environment and people’s health. Such actions – with such knowledge – are morally indefensible.”
Coca-Cola has the biggest polluting footprint in those six countries. The drinks giant creates 200,000 tonnes of plastic waste – or about 8bn bottles – which is burned or dumped each year.
PepsiCo was found to have a plastic pollution footprint of 137,000 tonnes per year, Nestlé produced 95,000 tonnes and Unilever 70,000 tonnes.
All companies responded to the report with their future commitments to reduce plastic pollution and the use of single use plastics.