Anybody who has undertaken a beach clean-up or seen pictures of the seas filled with plastic waste can tell you that Coca-Cola product packaging is ever present in areas where they are likely to break down into microplastics and pollute our water, soil and food chains for thousands of years to come.
Now a report by the Changing Markets Foundation has slammed the company, along with many others, for greenwashing its packaging in a bid to persuade consumers that progress is being made in addressing is critical problem.
Coca-Cola claims its new bottles are made using 25% marine plastics recovered from beaches in Spain and Portugal and from the Mediterranean Sea. At the same time failing to acknowledge its responsibility in creating the mess in the first place.
The report doesn't just focus on Coca-Cola though, and finds other appalling examples of companies who have taken greenwashing to a new level. Spanish supermarket Mercadona and UK supermarket Sainsbury's took the opportunity to play the green card with plastic throwaway products.
In response to the ban on single use plastics, Mercadona rebranded their plastic forks as 'reusable', slapped green packaging and branding around them and continue to sell them. Sainsbury's, meanwhile, labels plastic glasses as biodegradable and calls them Eco, yet they are made from recycled PET which is not biodegradable. Full marks for
Reducing plastic waste means rejecting products in plastic packaging, or where that isn't currently feasible because there are no alternative options, choosing the least wasteful option and petitioning manufacturers to do more.
If that means buying sugary drinks in cans and paying a little more than bottles, realise that the wide recycling of aluminium cans is a benefit worth paying for. Ditch fruit and vegetables which have been packaged in plastic bags and buy loose, using re-usable cloth or paper bags to carry your produce home.
There are ways to beat the manufacturers at the greenwashing game. Do you have any suggestions for other ways to beat the system? Let us know in the comments.