Drinks gi­ants ad­mit just 7% of bot­tles use re­cy­cled plas­tic

Daily Mail - - Life - By Colin Fer­nan­dez En­vi­ron­ment Cor­re­spon­dent

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.’

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