Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Coca-Cola Produced More Than 110 Billion Plastic Bottles Last Year

Popular
Greenpeace Canada Oceans campaigner Sarah King with a collection of Coca-Cola bottles and caps found on Freedom Island, Philippines. Daniel Müller / Greenpeace

By Andrew McMaster

Every second, more than 20,000 drinks in plastic bottles are purchased around the globe.

That adds up to more than 1 million bottles a minute and nearly 500 billion bottles per year.

It may come as no surprise then that the largest beverage manufacturer, Coca-Cola, reportedly manufactured more than 110 billion plastic bottles in 2016.


The environmental activist group Greenpeace claims that this number has risen by about 1 billion bottles since last year, despite Coca-Cola's public campaign to reduce the amount of plastic it uses.

"We have calculated [Coca-Cola] produced over 110 billion throwaway plastic bottles every year—an astounding 3,400 a second," Louise Edge, oceans campaigner for Greenpeace, told the Guardian.

Greenpeace has been campaigning for Coke to stop polluting oceans with plastic bottles over the last few months. The organization reports that plastic bottles are one of the most commonly found items on beaches across the world, bringing a litany of environmental hazards with them wherever they pop up.

"Once [plastic bottles] are in the environment, they become a hazard for wildlife," wrote Tisha Brown, a campaigner for Greenpeace's ocean team. "Larger pieces of plastic can become an entanglement or choking hazard for animals. These larger plastics break down over time into microplastics which have been found in everything from seafood, sea salt and even our drinking water."

Greenpeace, for its part, has used a variety of tactics to raise awareness of the soda company's pollutive ways, such as posting fake Coke advertisements labeled "Choke" and erecting a sculpture of a seagull vomiting garbage outside of Coke's UK headquarters using plastic bottles.

All of these measures were intended to raise awareness about the growing need to address plastic levels in our oceans. It has been estimated that there could be more plastic than fish in the world's oceans by 2050.

In response to these concerns, Coca-Cola UK announced several measures aimed at reducing plastic use, including a pledge to increase recycled plastic in its bottles to 50 percent by 2020.

Many feel this target does not represent a true commitment to fighting pollution by the company. Amid investigations of the size and scope of Coke's manufacturing process, Greenpeace activists see many of the beverage giant's actions as PR moves.

"We were trying to uncover for the first time the true size of Coca-Cola's plastic footprint," Louisa Casson, oceans campaigner for Greenpeace, told CNN. "And we are actually seeing them going backwards. Rather than investing more in refillables and reusables, they've increased their use of single-use plastic bottles over the last decade."

Global Citizen campaigns on the Global Goals for Sustainable Development, and working to achieve healthy oceans is number 14. You can join other Global Citizens to take action on this issue here.

Reposted with permission from our media associate Global Citizen.

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

In Germany's Hunsrück village of Schorbach, numerous photovoltaic systems are installed on house roofs, on Sept. 19, 2019. Thomas Frey / Picture Alliance via Getty Images

Germany's target for renewable energy sources to deliver 65% of its consumed electricity by 2030 seemed on track Wednesday, with 52% of electricity coming from renewables in 2020's first quarter. Renewable energy advocates, however, warned the trend is imperiled by slowdowns in building new wind and solar plants.

Read More Show Less

In many parts of the U.S., family farms are disappearing and being replaced by suburban sprawl.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
General view of the empty Alma bridge, in front of the Eiffel tower, while the city imposes emergency measures to combat the Coronavirus COVID-19 outbreak, on March 17, 2020 in Paris, France. Edward Berthelot / Getty Images

Half the world is on lockdown. So, the constant hum of cars, trucks, trains and heavy machinery has stopped, drastically reducing the intensity of the vibrations rippling through the Earth's crust. Seismologists, who use highly sensitive equipment, have noticed a difference in the hum caused by human activity, according to Fast Company.

Read More Show Less
The current rate of CO2 emissions is a major event in the recorded history of Earth. EPA

By Andrew Glikson

At several points in the history of our planet, increasing amounts of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere have caused extreme global warming, prompting the majority of species on Earth to die out.

Read More Show Less
The "Earthrise" photograph that inspired the first Earth Day. NASA / Bill Anders

For EcoWatchers, April usually means one thing: Earth Day. But how do you celebrate the environment while staying home to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus?

Read More Show Less