Drinks giants admit just 7% of bottles use recycled plastic
THE world’s biggest soft drinks firms admitted yesterday that just 6.6 per cent of the more than two million tonnes of plastic bottles they make globally each year comes from recycled material.
The miserly amount came to light in the first attempt to estimate the companies’ plastic footprint, or how much each makes.
But the total amount produced falls far short of the real figure because Coca- Cola – the biggest producer of all soft drinks firms – refused to participate in the study.
Mountains of plastic waste ends up in seas and rivers, endangering wildlife and harming human health. To tackle the scandal, the Mail’s Take Back Your Bottles campaign aims to increase recycling rates of plastic bottles by introducing a returnable deposit scheme on empties.
Greenpeace UK surveyed Pepsico; Suntory, which makes Lucozade and Ribena; Danone, producer of Evian and Volvic; Dr Pepper Snapple; and Nestle, which makes Buxton, Perrier and Vittel.
The amount of plastic they make in total is even higher if other items such as crates are included, taking it to 3.6million tonnes – again, without including Coca-Cola’s output.
Greenpeace UK said: ‘ With sales of more than 1.9billion drinks per day, Coca- Cola’s unaccounted-for plastic usage makes the sector’s actual plastic footprint much larger.’
Yesterday, Coca-Cola said 25 per cent of the plastic it made in Europe was recycled. But it wouldn’t give its global figure.
Louise Edge, senior oceans campaigner at Greenpeace UK, said: ‘Our lives are awash with throwaway plastic.
‘Twelve million tonnes of the stuff is ending up in our oceans every year, where it harms marine life, spreads toxic chemicals and can take centuries to break down.
‘We know that plastic bottles are a huge ocean polluter, and in the UK alone we dump 16million of them in our environment every day.
‘So it’s not good enough for the biggest soft drinks companies in the world to pump out millions of tonnes of throwaway bottles and then blame everyone but themselves for their environmental impact.
‘The results of this report are jaw-dropping. It’s clear that if we’re going to protect our oceans we need to end the age of throwaway plastic. These companies need to take drastic action now. Phase out singleuse plastic, embrace reusable packaging and make sure the remainder is made from 100 per cent recycled content.’
Gavin Partington, of the British Soft Drinks Association, which represents the industry, said: ‘We recognise more needs to be done to increase recycling and reduce littering.’
A Coca-Cola GB spokesman said: ‘Marine litter is a global problem affecting the oceans and we are working to address it. For decades we have actively supported recycling programmes, anti-litter campaigns and ocean clean-up, but it is clear more action is needed.’