2 responses to “Let’s get serious about plastics”

  1. No more plastic
  2. Duncan John

    Good work from Nils Simon. As he said, plastics have boosted the economy because they are versatile, cheap and durable, but they have also caused problems as well. Twelve million tonnes of the stuff is ending up in our oceans every year, where it harms marine life, spreads toxic chemicals and can take centuries to break down.
    After putting down your magazine I found a report online from Greenpeace. It conducted a survey of the footprints in plastic and the policies of the top six global soft drinks brands. Of the six companies surveyed – Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, Suntory, Danone, Dr Pepper Snapple and Nestlé – five sell a combined total of over two million tonnes of plastic bottles each year – that’s the same weight as over 10,000 blue whales. The largest brand (Coca-Cola) refused to disclose the size of its plastic footprint, so the actual total figure is much higher.

    What astounded me was that the six companies use a combined average of just 6.6% recycled plastic in their bottles and four out of the top six companies surveyed do not consider the impact of plastic bottles on oceans in their product design and development processes.

    Amazingly, over the last ten years, the soft drinks industry has been consistently decreasing their use of refillable bottles, instead switching to yet more single-use plastic. Two-thirds of the soft drinks companies surveyed have a global policy opposing the introduction of deposit return schemes on drinks containers. Yet this policy has boosted recycling and collection rates to over 80% across the world, and more than 98% in Germany.

    Nils’ article clearly shows that plastic waste has to be tackled. Why are these companies not doing it? As he points out treaties and initiatives to clamp down on this practice are already in place but “many actors have a stake in the game and no clear-cut remedy exists”. The soft drinks giants must phase out single-use plastic, embrace reusable packaging and make sure the remainder is made from 100% recycled content.