10 Worst Plastic Polluting Companies Found by Global Cleanups
Coca-Cola, PepsiCo and Nestlé were identified as the world's biggest producers of plastic trash in global cleanups and brand audits, a new report from Greenpeace and the Break Free From Plastic movement reveals.
Over the span of nine months, an international team of volunteers sorted through 187,000 pieces of plastic trash collected from 239 cleanups in 42 countries around the world.
The results, released Tuesday, shows that these multinational food and beverage giants were the top 10 offenders:
- Mondelez International
- Procter & Gamble
- Perfetti van Melle
- Mars Incorporated
BREAKING: @Coca-cola, @PepsiCo, and @Nestle have emerged as the top corporate polluters from 239 brand audits acros… https://t.co/QuCnYnjbOo— Greenpeace USA (@Greenpeace USA)1539093631.0
The organizers behind the effort are calling out these brands for their contribution to plastic pollution.
"These brand audits offer undeniable proof of the role that corporations play in perpetuating the global plastic pollution crisis," Von Hernandez, global coordinator of Break Free From Plastic, said in a press release emailed to EcoWatch. "By continuing to churn out problematic and unrecyclable throwaway plastic packaging for their products, these companies are guilty of trashing the planet on a massive scale. It's time they own up and stop shifting the blame to citizens for their wasteful and polluting products."
Greenpeace Southeast Asia conducts plastic brand audit activity at Wonnapa beach, Chonburi province on World Cleanup Day, September 15, 2018.Greenpeace
In the U.S. specifically, a total of 70 cleanups determined that Nestlé, PepsiCo and Coca-Cola were the worst corporate plastic polluters, in that order.
The three companies have each pledged to cut their packaging waste. Coca-Cola has a global goal to help collect and recycle the equivalent of 100 percent of its packaging by 2030. Nestlé aims to make 100 percent recyclable or reusable packaging by 2025. PepsiCo has a goal to design 100 percent of its packaging to be recyclable, compostable or biodegradable and to reduce its packaging's carbon impact by 2025.
Awareness about the global plastic waste crisis is growing worldwide. Governments around the world have taken steps to ban single-use plastics and individuals are pledging to reduce their plastic footprint.
However, the organizers of the recent report are asking: Shouldn't corporations that package their goods in plastics shoulder some of this responsibility, too?
"We all have a role to play in tackling plastic pollution. But the reality is, individual consumers are already bearing the burden of this crisis," Greenpeace content editor Ryan Schleeter wrote in a blog post about today's report. "We're swapping plastic bottles for reusable glass and metal, ditching disposable straws, avoiding unnecessary packaging in our grocery stores, and cleaning up our beaches as best we can. But there's only so much we can do if companies don't step up and provide more sustainable choices."
Plastic on Remote #SouthAtlantic Beaches Up 10 Fold in 10 Years #PlasticPollutes @plasticpollutes https://t.co/ig6yeFf5at— EcoWatch (@EcoWatch)1539092773.0
Yet another former Trump administration staffer has come out with an endorsement for former Vice President Joe Biden, this time in response to President Donald Trump's handling of the coronavirus pandemic.
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By D. André Green II
One of nature's epic events is underway: Monarch butterflies' fall migration. Departing from all across the United States and Canada, the butterflies travel up to 2,500 miles to cluster at the same locations in Mexico or along the Pacific Coast where their great-grandparents spent the previous winter.
Millions of People Care About Monarchs<p>I will never forget the sights and sounds the first time I visited monarchs' overwintering sites in Mexico. Our guide pointed in the distance to what looked like hanging branches covered with dead leaves. But then I saw the leaves flash orange every so often, revealing what were actually thousands of tightly packed butterflies. The monarchs made their most striking sounds in the Sun, when they burst from the trees in massive fluttering plumes or landed on the ground in the tussle of mating.</p><p>Decades of educational outreach by teachers, researchers and hobbyists has cultivated a generation of monarch admirers who want to help preserve this phenomenon. This global network has helped restore not only monarchs' summer breeding habitat by planting milkweed, but also general pollinator habitat by planting nectaring flowers across North America.</p><p>Scientists have calculated that restoring the monarch population to a stable level of about 120 million butterflies will require <a href="https://doi.org/10.1111/icad.12198" target="_blank">planting 1.6 billion new milkweed stems</a>. And they need them fast. This is too large a target to achieve through grassroots efforts alone. A <a href="https://www.fws.gov/savethemonarch/CCAA.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">new plan</a>, announced in the spring of 2020, is designed to help fill the gap.</p>
Pros and Cons of Regulation<p>The top-down strategy for saving monarchs gained energy in 2014, when the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service <a href="https://www.fws.gov/southeast/pdf/petition/monarch.pdf" target="_blank">proposed</a> listing them as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. A decision is expected in December 2020.</p><p>Listing a species as endangered or threatened <a href="https://www.fws.gov/endangered/esa-library/pdf/listing.pdf" target="_blank">triggers restrictions</a> on "taking" (hunting, collecting or killing), transporting or selling it, and on activities that negatively affect its habitat. Listing monarchs would impose restrictions on landowners in areas where monarchs are found, over vast swaths of land in the U.S.</p><p>In my opinion, this is not a reason to avoid a listing. However, a "threatened" listing might inadvertently threaten one of the best conservation tools that we have: public education.</p><p>It would severely restrict common practices, such as rearing monarchs in classrooms and back yards, as well as scientific research. Anyone who wants to take monarchs and milkweed for these purposes would have to apply for special permits. But these efforts have had a multigenerational educational impact, and they should be protected. Few public campaigns have been more successful at raising awareness of conservation issues.</p>
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The Rescue Attempt<p>To preempt the need for this kind of regulation, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service approved a <a href="https://www.fws.gov/savethemonarch/pdfs/Monarch%20CCAA-CCA%20Public%20Comment%20Documents/Monarch-Nationwide_CCAA-CCA_Draft.pdf" target="_blank">Nationwide Candidate Conservation Agreement for Monarch Butterflies</a>. Under this plan, "rights-of-way" landowners – energy and transportation companies and private owners – commit to restoring and creating millions of acres of pollinator habitat that have been decimated by land development and herbicide use in the past half-century.</p><p>The agreement was spearheaded by the <a href="http://rightofway.erc.uic.edu/" target="_blank">Rights-of-Way Habitat Working Group</a>, a collaboration between the University of Illinois Chicago's <a href="https://erc.uic.edu/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Energy Resources Center</a>, the Fish and Wildlife Service and over 40 organizations from the energy and transportation sectors. These sectors control "rights-of-way" corridors such as lands near power lines, oil pipelines, railroad tracks and interstates, all valuable to monarch habitat restoration.</p><p>Under the plan, partners voluntarily agree to commit a percentage of their land to host protected monarch habitat. In exchange, general operations on their land that might directly harm monarchs or destroy milkweed will not be subject to the enhanced regulation of the Endangered Species Act – protection that would last for 25 years if monarchs are listed as threatened. The agreement is expected to create up to 2.3 million acres of new protected habitat, which ideally would avoid the need for a "threatened" listing.</p>
A Model for Collaboration<p>This agreement could be one of the few specific interventions that is big enough to allow researchers to quantify its impact on the size of the monarch population. Even if the agreement produces only 20% of its 2.3 million acre goal, this would still yield nearly half a million acres of new protected habitat. This would provide a powerful test of the role of declining breeding and nectaring habitat compared to other challenges to monarchs, such as climate change or pollution.</p><p>Scientists hope that data from this agreement will be made publicly available, like projects in the <a href="https://www.fws.gov/savethemonarch/MCD.html" target="_blank">Monarch Conservation Database</a>, which has tracked smaller on-the-ground conservation efforts since 2014. With this information we can continue to develop powerful new models with better accuracy for determining how different habitat factors, such as the number of milkweed stems or nectaring flowers on a landscape scale, affect the monarch population.</p><p>North America's monarch butterfly migration is one of the most awe-inspiring feats in the natural world. If this rescue plan succeeds, it could become a model for bridging different interests to achieve a common conservation goal.</p>
The annual Ig Nobel prizes were awarded Thursday by the science humor magazine Annals of Improbable Research for scientific experiments that seem somewhat absurd, but are also thought-provoking. This was the 30th year the awards have been presented, but the first time they were not presented at Harvard University. Instead, they were delivered in a 75-minute pre-recorded ceremony.