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Core News: Coke, Pepsi, Nestlé, Others Sued on Account of Plastic Pollution - Sustainable Conversations
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Core News: Coke, Pepsi, Nestlé, Others Sued on Account of Plastic Pollution

Coke, Pepsi, Nestlé and seven other not-in-any-way-small organizations are currently been sued by a California Environmental Group for creating “nuisance” and for equally misleading consumers about plastic recyclability.

David Phillips, Executive Director of Earth Island Institute, has this to say: “The suit filed in San Mateo county superior court last week, argues that companies that sell plastic bottles and bags that end up polluting the ocean should be held accountable for damaging the environment.

Earth Island Institute, which filed the lawsuit, says a significant amount of the eight to twenty million tons of plastic entering the Earth’s oceans annually can be traced back to a handful of companies, which rely heavily on single-use plastic packaging.

The suit seeks to require these companies to pay to remediate the harm that plastic pollution has caused to the Earth and oceans. It also demands these companies stop advertising products as “recyclable,” when they are, in fact, largely not recycled.

Further more, he added that: “These companies should bear the responsibility for choking our ecosystem with plastic. They know very well that this stuff is not being recycled, even though they are telling people on the labels that it is recyclable and making people feel like it’s being taken care of.”

The TEN organizations listed in the suit are as follows:

  • Coca-Cola
  • Pepsi
  • Nestlé
  • Clorox
  • Crystal Geyser
  • Mars
  • Danone
  • Mondelēz International
  • Colgate-Palmolive and
  • Procter and Gamble.

The Spokesperson for the American Beverage Association, representing Coca-Cola, Pepsi and the other makers of non-alcoholic beverages, William M. Dermody Jr, has said that: “Plastic waste is a worldwide problem that demands thoughtful solutions. America’s beverage companies are already taking action to address the issue by reducing our use of new plastic, investing to increase the collection of our bottles so they can be remade into new bottles as intended, and collaborating with legislators and third-party experts to achieve meaningful policy resolutions.”

Nestlé and the other companies said they were still reviewing the allegations filed by the suit against them and so, there was no word/feedback/report from their end regarding the issue.

It has been rightly noted that, at the current rate of dumping, plastic will outnumber the quantity of fish in the ocean in about thirty years time. The suit implied that these organizations have been playing the “blame game” all the while. They have habitually blamed the pollution nuisance on consumers. Meanwhile, consumers have been kept in the dark, not knowing that there is absolutely no opportunity for most plastics to be recycled.

A study revealed that only about ten percent of plastics gets recycled. However, David opines strongly that: “Once those numbers are updated to reflect the recent collapse of the recycling market, it will probably show that only about 5% is getting recycled.”

Furthermore, he said: “Customers have received misinformation downplaying the harms caused by plastic in marketing campaigns similar to the disinformation promoted by tobacco companies downplaying the dangers of smoking.”

He stated that, “This is the first suit of its kind. These companies are going to have to reveal how much they’ve known about how little of this stuff is being recycled.”

The manager of the Ecology centre handling the recycle of the Berkeley City, Martin Bourque, also contributed his thoughts on this subject by saying that: “I am tired of knowing that some portion of the plastic collected in his city’s recycling bins will eventually just be thrown away. It’s about time these companies that have been telling people that this stuff is recyclable be held accountable for polluting our ecosystem.”

In conclusion, David Phillips said that the suit is not in anyway trying to discourage consumers from recycling. The suit, however, seeks to ensure that these organizations are producing responsibly.


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