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Plastic bottles from beverage giants Pepsi and Coca-Cola top the list of Greenpeace’s global audit of most commonly found plastic waste items. Coca-Cola alone made 110 billion plastic bottles in 2016 which is roughly 14 bottles for every person living on the planet. In an effort to respond to mounting pressure to better their practices, this week at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland PepsiCo CEO Ramon Laguarta and Coca-Cola CEO James Quinceshared a stage to discuss how they’re planning on tackling the problem of plastic waste. While ideas like recycling, recovering and increasing biodegradable options were floated, none of the solutions seemed to propose a bold outline to tackle the urgent problem of global plastic pollution.
As CNBC reportedPepsi is aiming for all of its packaging to be recyclable, compostable or biodegradable by 2025. Most recently, Pepsi has been testing compostable bags for chips in Chile, India and the U.S. Meanwhile Coca-Cola is working toward recovering and recycling the equivalent of 75 percent of the bottles it introduces in developed countries by 2020. Last month, the Atlanta-based company announced two investments in recycling technologies that will allow Coke to use recycled plastics for its bottles more efficiently. Quincey said they need to think beyond just the recycling and also address every option’s carbon footprint. According to him, producing glass bottles (which Coca-Cola says have increased in popularity) has a higher carbon footprint because glass is heavier than plastic, however, glass doesn’t float, create microplastics, and wreak havoc on the environment the same way that plastic does.
Why This Matters: It’s estimated that taxpayers pay more than 90% of the cost of recycling while beverage companies and the makers of plastics assume little responsibility for their products once they’re sold. There are growing voices that wish for companies who sell their products in plastic containers to take ownership of those containers for their entire lifecycle and to support recycling infrastructure around the world. However in order to achieve this, we must pass legislation that supports this level of accountability, it likely can’t be left up to corporations to achieve it on their own–case in point, the much-criticized industry coalition, the Alliance to End Plastic Waste whose members are actually planning on increasing the production of new plastics.
The pandemic has upended most of our lives, but it has also made us more aware of our environment — clean air, birds in our neighborhood, and how much we love being outdoors. We are also appreciative more appreciative of the green spaces in and around our homes — whether it’s indoor plants, the tree […]
As the Ocean Conservancy explained, every year, 8 million metric tons of plastics enter our ocean on top of the estimated 150 million metric tons that currently circulate our marine environments. Many of these plastics are microscopic (smaller than 5 millimeters long) and are readily consumed by marine life as well as humans. Unfortunately, we […]
May is national bike month when usually there is a big push to get more people in the U.S. to bike to work and shop due to its environmental and health benefits – even during a global pandemic, the popularity of biking continues to rise.
Why This Matters: Leaders and urban planners in Europe believe that people there are now appreciative of the lack of air pollution and will want to keep the air clear, in addition to the benefits from a health and safety standpoint.
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