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Break Free from Plastic’s top 3 worst plastic polluters

The image above is not of fishermen on Lake Victoria, it is, however, volunteers fishing out tons of single use plastic bottles from the once crystal clear waters of Africa’s largest inland lake. On 25 October this year the anti-pollution campaign group Break free from Plastic announced the results of their annual Global Brand Audit Report that ranks the world’s top plastic polluters. The results were based on global beach clean-up’s that saw 11,000 volunteers in 45 countries collect and identify the brands most often discarded.

Break Free from Plastic found that The Coca-Cola Company and PepsiCo remained the worst offenders for the 4th consecutive year. In 2021 they found nearly 20,000 Coca-Cola branded products, which represents more pollution than the next two top polluters combined—as has been the case each year since 2019. This suggests that Coca-Cola’s pledge to collect one bottle for every one sold is having little impact on the company’s plastic pollution.

PepsiCo also remains one of the top three plastic polluters for the third year in a row. Despite the company’s recent voluntary commitments to halve the use of virgin plastic by 2030, PepsiCo will need to make a more ambitious shift to reusable containers in order to move down the list, given the sheer volume of PepsiCo branded plastic pollution being collected around the world.

In third place was Unilever who remarkably are serving as a Principal Partner Company for the United Nations climate change summit COP26 in Glasgow.

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