Greenpeace: Coca-Cola and Pepsi Are biggest Contributors of Plastic Trash

Well known body Greenpeace claims that globally Coca-Cola and Pepsi are the largest contributors to plastic pollution.

Coca-Cola, the world’s largest soft drink maker, was also found to be the world’s largest plastic waste producer along with PepsiCo and Nestle according to environmental group Greenpeace.

With the aim to get a picture of how large corporations contribute to the problem of pollution, Greenpeace worked with the ‘Break Free from Plastic’ movement, in orchestrating 239 plastic clean-ups in 42 countries around the world between 9th and 15th of September, the initiatives resulted in the audit of 187,000 pieces of plastic trash.

“These brand audits offer undeniable proof of the role that corporations play in perpetuating the global plastic pollution crisis,” said Von Hernandez, global coordinator for Break Free from Plastic.

Based on the audit, the most common type of plastic found was polystyrene, which goes into packaging and foam coffee cups, followed closely by PET, used in bottles and containers. According to Greenpeace, Coke-branded plastic trash was found in 40 of the 42 countries in which the plastic cleanups were organized.

“We share Greenpeace’s goal of eliminating waste from the ocean and are prepared to do our part to help address this important challenge,” said  Coca-Cola  in a statement. The company has pledged to collect and recycle a bottle or can for everyone it sells by 2030. In fact each company has made a pledge about their packaging for 2025, be it eliminating single use plastics, or reducing plastic.

Nestle, the world’s largest food and drink maker, said it recognized the issue and is working hard to eliminate non-recyclable plastics. The company is focusing on sourcing recyclable and reusable packaging for most of its products. PepsiCo says it will be using recyclable, compostable or biodegradable.

According to a report released by ‘Break Free from Plastic’, eighty per cent of the 8.3 billion metric tonnes of plastic produced since 1950 is still present in the environment, mainly polluting the oceans. Since then, only 9 per cent of that plastic has been properly recycled and 12 per cent incinerated. If we are to ever overcome the ever increasing rates of plastic pollution, large corporates need to approach sustainable and cleaner means of manufacturing, distribution and business.

The findings will serve as further ammunition to activists that have always had these firms in their sights. From groundwater  usage, to plastics to even their sourcing of raw materials and of course the health affects of the products they sell, these are three firms that have no easy way out, and need to simply get down to the task of fixing the many issues before consumers give up on them.

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Ayush Verma

Ayush is a correspondent at and writes on renewable energy and sustainability. As an engineering graduate trying to find his niche in the energy journalism segment, he also works as a staff writer for

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