Coca Cola named biggest global plastic polluter brand in #breakfreefromplastic Report 2019

Coca Cola named biggest global plastic polluter brand in #breakfreefromplastic Report 2019

Coca-Cola was found for the second year in a row to be the most global plastic polluter brand in a global audit 2019 of plastic trash conducted by the Break Free From Plastic global movement. The global giant soda company was responsible for more plastic litter than the next top three polluters combined.

What is Break Free From Plastic ?

#breakfreefromplastic is a global movement envisioning a future free from plastic pollution. Since its launch in September 2016, nearly 1,500 organizations from across the world have joined the movement to demand massive reductions in single-use plastics and to push for lasting solutions to the plastic pollution crisis.

More than 1800 organisations from around the world have joined forces to work on solutions together.

What is Break Free From Plastic Global Audit Report 2019 ?

Break Free From Plastic started its worldwide brand audit in 2018 to track what brands are the biggest polluters; that initial report found that the same three, Coca-Cola, Nestle and PepsiCo, were the top polluting brands.

On the occasion of World Clean Up Day on September 21, 2019, individuals and organizations around the world mobilized their communities to conduct clean-ups and brand audits to hold corporations accountable for the extensive use of single-use and throw-away plastic packaging in their products.

Break Free From Plastic engaged 72,541 volunteers in 51 countries and six continents to conduct 484 brand audits. These volunteers collected 476,423 pieces of plastic waste, 43% of which was marked with a clear consumer brand. Participants catalogued almost 8,000 brands for this year’s global audit.

Audit Findings:

For the second year in a row, Coca Cola came in as #1 Top Global Polluter. A total of 11,732 branded Coca Cola plastics were recorded in 37 countries across four continents, more than the next three top global polluters combined.

Top 10 Global Plastic Polluter Brands:

Their analysis of this year’s data reveals the following as the 2019 Top 10 Global Polluters:

  1. Coca Cola,
  2. Nestle,
  3. PepsiCo,
  4. Mondelez International,
  5. Unilever,
  6. Mars,
  7. P&G,
  8. Colgate-Palmolive,
  9. Phillip Morris
  10. Perfetti Van Mille

The top three most common plastic items found were 59,168 plastic bags, 53,369 sachets and 29,142 plastic bottles.

The results show that Coca-Cola’s plastic pollution has increased from 2018, up from 9,216 pieces of plastic recorded in 40 countries to the 11,732 pieces that were found this year.

Greenpeace Southeast Asia plastic campaigner coordinator Abigail Aguilar said: “Recent commitments by corporations like Coca-Cola, Nestle and PepsiCo to address the crisis unfortunately continue to rely on false solutions like replacing plastic with paper or bioplastics and relying more heavily on a broken global recycling system. These strategies largely protect the outdated throwaway business model that caused the plastic pollution crisis, and will do nothing to prevent these brands from being named the top polluters again in the future.” (1)

Coca-Cola responded to questions about the brand audit with an emailed statement: “Any time our packaging ends up in our oceans — or anywhere that it doesn’t belong — is unacceptable to us.  In partnership with others, we are working to address this critical global issue, both to help turn off the tap in terms of plastic waste entering our oceans and to help clean up the existing pollution.”

Coke’s statement also said, “We are investing locally in every market to increase recovery of our bottles and cans and recently announced the launch in Vietnam of an industry-backed packaging recovery organization, as well as a bottler-led investment of $19 million in the Philippines in a new food-grade recycling facility.  We are also investing to accelerate key innovations that will help to reduce waste, including new enhanced recycling technologies that allow us to recycle poor quality PET plastic, often destined for incineration or landfill, back to high quality food packaging material.” (2)


  • The Break Free From Plastic global audit report 2019 – Download PDF
  • Featured Image source – Break Free from plastic 2019 Report – Page 12

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