Ever thought about the quantity of plastic packaging produced annually in the world? Who do you think are the top worst offenders?

First published in September 2020.

The Changing Markets Foundation has released a new report naming and shaming the world’s worst plastic waste offenders.

Entitled “Talking Trash: The Corporate Playbook of False Solutions”, the report states that the companies involved are actively taking steps to obstruct and undermine legislative solutions aimed at tackling an unprecedented global plastic waste crisis. In particular, it is highly critical of voluntary commitments from the world’s largest plastic producers which are being used as a tactic to derail and delay solutions while governments and consumers alike are being distracted by empty promises and false solutions.

Out of the top-eight plastic producers on the planet, five are American. The report focused on companies who actually took the step of announcing the amount of plastic they produce. Coca-Cola was named as the company with the largest plastic footprint on earth with 2.9 million metric tonnes of plastic packaging produced annually while its biggest competitor, PepsiCo, comes second with 1.7 millon metric tonnes. Swizerland’s Nestlé is in third place with 1.7 million metric tonnes.

The report goes on to outline how the industry in the United States has successfully managed to shift the blame for plastic waste onto consumers and the authorities while higher rates of recycling are being cited as an excuse to produce even more plastic.

In Europe, the industry has been trying to weaken and delay the EU Plastics Strategy and the EU SUP Directive (A EU-wide ban of single-use plastic cotton buds, straws, plates, cutlery, beverage stirrers, balloon sticks, oxo-degradable plastics, and expanded polystyrene food containers, beverage containers and beverage cups by 2021).

It also explored the problem in Asia where China has made major policy moves which have been undermined by low corporate action. In Japan, the public remains unaware of how the country’s plastic waste is exported or incinerated.

South America, and Uruguay in particular, was criticized for brazen industry lobbying.

While in Africa, Kenya is being suffocated by plastic waste from companies seeking to grow their presence on the continent.🔷

Metric tonnes of plastic packaging produced annually. | Statista

[This piece was first published in Statista & written by Niall McCarthy, Data Journalist at Statista.]

(Cover: Pixabay.)

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