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  • Greenpeace holds a demonstration against plastic waste at the Heroes Square in Budapest, Hungary, Sept. 30, 2018.

    Greenpeace holds a demonstration against plastic waste at the Heroes Square in Budapest, Hungary, Sept. 30, 2018. | Photo: Reuters

Published 12 October 2018

Greenpeace’s member organizations carried out a “brand audit” to identify the companies most responsible for pollution.

Nestle, Coca-Cola, and PepsiCo have been identified by campaigners in a “brand audit” as the most problematic companies when it comes to plastic waste. Volunteers in 42 countries collected nearly 190,000 pieces of plastic, according to a report by Break Free From Plastic.

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Coca Cola’s impact was the largest seen in the audit with plastic waste identified from the company in 40 of the 42 countries involved in the cleanup.

“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,” said Von Hernandez, global coordinator of Break Free From Plastic.

The audit comes just after a petition signed by 250,000 people was delivered to the European Parliament. The petition demands that producers be held responsible for their pollution.

European environment committee members are preparing to vote on new rules that would cut back on single-use plastics. Single-use plastics are used in the packaging of all three companies' products.

“It’s time they own up and stop shifting the blame to citizens for their wasteful and polluting products,” Hernandez said.

Spokespersons for each of the companies have said that they are taking action to reduce their impact on the environment.

A Coca-Cola spokesperson said the company shares the campaigners’ goal of eliminating plastic waste from the ocean “and are prepared to do our part to help address this important challenge”.

A Nestle spokesperson said: “Our vision is that none of our product packaging, including plastics, should end up in a landfill or as litter, including in seas, oceans, and waterways. In order to achieve this, we have set ourselves the ambition of ensuring 100 percent of our packaging is reusable or recyclable by 2025.”

PepsiCo said they are committed to “100 percent recyclable, compostable or biodegradable packaging by 2025”.

About 8.8 tons of plastic end up in the oceans each year. Plastic has been found up to 6.8 miles deep.

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