'Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, Nestle top plastic polluters' - RTHK
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'Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, Nestle top plastic polluters'

2018-10-09 HKT 18:00
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  • Volunteers collected data as they cleaned up beaches and sorted branded products. File Photo: RTHK
    Volunteers collected data as they cleaned up beaches and sorted branded products. File Photo: RTHK
Julie Metta speaks to RTHK's Richard Pyne
Corporations are being urged to take responsibility for the full life-cycle of their products and packaging, after a new report suggested Coca-Cola, PepsiCo and Nestle are the world's biggest corporate plastic polluters.

The report from the global movement Break Free From Plastic used data collected from nearly 10,000 volunteers in 239 cleanups across 42 countries.

Volunteers conducted "brand audits" during the cleanups, cataloguing more than 180,000 pieces of plastic and sorting branded products and packaging.

Break Free From Plastic said consumer goods companies have an opportunity and an obligation to stop the crisis of plastic pollution where it starts. It said the world cannot recycle its way out of this crisis, and plastic producers need to innovate and implement alternative solutions.

Responding to enquiries from RTHK, Nestle Hong Kong said the company is strongly committed to minimising its impact on the natural environment, including ensuring the right disposal or reuse of its packaging.

It said it’s set a target of ensuring all of its packaging is reusable or recyclable by 2025, and is exploring ways to reduce its plastic usage.

PepsiCo said it shares the concerns about plastics accumulating in the environment, and is committed to achieving recyclable, compostable, or biodegradable packaging by 2025.

The company says it has a number of initiatives in place to increase recycling rates and reduce the amount of packaging it uses.

In a statement, Coca-Cola said it recognises that packaging waste is a major and growing problem, and it is prepared to do its part to help address it.

It said it has set goals to make its packaging 100 percent recyclable. And in Hong Kong, it said it was committed to expanding more sustainable packaging options, including returnable glass bottles, and aluminium cans.

The Break Free From Plastic report also included data collected from cleanups conducted in Hong Kong.

Julie Metta and Isabelle Chabrat from "Sous Les Dechets, La Plage" co-organised a cleanup at Shek O Beach last month, where volunteers also took part in brand audits.

Metta, a PhD candidate from City University's school of energy and environment, said their data generally tallies with what the global report says, but products from China Resources Beverages, such as tea drinks, topped their list of branded plastic items collected by volunteers.

She told RTHK's Richard Pyne that consumers have the power through their consumption habits to pressure companies into changing their policies to give consumers more choice.
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Last updated: 2018-10-10 HKT 12:28