Global – The world’s top six soft drinks brands use just 6.6% of recycled plastic on average in their bottles, reveals a survey by Greenpeace. The organisation points out that Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, Suntory, Danone, Dr Pepper Snapple and NestlÃ© could do much better as they produce fully recyclable bottles ‘ yet they are essentially placing the responsibility on their customers to recycle.
‘They use 14 times less recycled plastic than virgin plastic across their global packaging,’ the survey report says of the bottle giants.
Upwards of 650 billion plastic PET bottles are expected to be sold worldwide in 2019 by all producers, compared to 530 billion back in 2014. ‘Of the six companies surveyed, five sell a combined total of over two million tonnes of plastic bottles each year – the same weight as over 10 000 blue whales,’ Greenpeace reports.
The size of the their collective plastic footprint is believed to be ‘much, much larger’ because the largest brand Coca-Cola refused to disclose its figures relating to this topic.
Moreover, Greenpeace urges that none of the companies surveyed have commitments, targets or timelines to reduce the amount of single-use plastic bottles they use.
Another issue is that two-thirds of the soft drinks companies surveyed have a global policy opposing the introduction of deposit return schemes on drinks containers. As industry players well know, such schemes have significantly boosted recycling and collection rates – yielding rates of over 80% across the world, and no less than 98% in Germany.
Packaging currently accounts for a quarter of the 245 million tonnes of plastic that are used annually all around the world. ‘This makes it the single most common use of plastic; yet just 14% of this plastic packaging is recycled,’ the Greenpeace report says.
‘In the UK alone we dump 16 million plastic bottles in our environment every day,’ comments Louise Edge, senior oceans campaigner at Greenpeace UK. She argues it is high time for bottle producers to ‘stop blaming everyone else’ for the waste problem which results from their short-sighted products.
‘These companies need to take drastic action now: phase out single-use plastic, embrace reusable packaging and make sure the remainder is made from 100% recycled content,’ Edge concludes.
Read the findings of the survey here.