Faced with public pressure over contributions to plastic pollution, Coca-Cola and PepsiCohave both left the Plastics Industry Association, the former stating it withdrew “as a result of positions the organization was taking that were not fully consistent with our commitments and goals.”
Last year, household products company Clorox, medical device firm Becton Dickinson, and hygiene and cleanings tech company Ecolab ended their memberships, some citing disagreement with the lobbying group’s efforts to prevent plastic bans.
The withdrawals come at a time where the plastic pollution debate is becoming much more heated in state legislatures, with five more states passing laws banning or taxing plastic bags, while several other states are passing laws limiting or preventing such actions by local governments.
Analysts and comments
According to Greenpeace, in 2018, Coca-Cola, PepsiCo and Nestlé were the world’s biggest producers of plastic trash, mostly of polystyrene, which goes into packaging, and PET, which is used in bottles and containers.
The companies have now made various pledges to reduce plastic waste and facilitate recycling, with Coca-Cola, for example, partnering with the Ellen MacArthur Foundation and pledging to make all its packaging recyclable, reusable, or compostable by 2025.
You can find the latest news on Ellen MacArthur’s New Plastics Economy Global Commitment here. At 3m metric tons in 2017, Coca-Cola currently has the highest disclosed plastic packaging volume among the signatories who have made a disclosures (followed by Nestlé and Danone).
Of the 150 companies who have signed up to MacArthur’s global commitment to reduce plastic pollution, the majority still refuses to publicly disclose figureson their own plastic packaging production (including Pepsi Co, H&M, L’Oréal, Walmart and Marks & Spencer).
The Plastics Industry Association, through the American Progressive Bag Alliance (APBA), an arm of the group, has been advocating against plastic bag bans, arguing that conventional plastic has the least environmental impact compared with other bags, requiring 70% less energy and 96% less water to make than paper bags, according to its website.