Bournemouth takes action on Coca-Cola’s giant plastic footprint

Sunday, 23rd April, 2017. Yesterday, Greenpeace volunteers from the Bournemouth & Poole Greenpeace Local Group visited Bournemouth seafront to talk to local people about plastic pollution on our beaches. A recent report by Greenpeace estimated that Coca-Cola is manufacturing an eye-popping 100 billion throwaway plastic bottles every year – over 3,000 a second.

Whilst campaigning the Bournemouth & Poole Greenpeace Local Group met with the Dorset Devils a volunteer group of dedicated litter pickers who were working on the Bournemouth beach front clearing all types of rubbish including single use throwaway plastic bottles.

Plastic can now be found at every corner of the world’s oceans – from bottles and packaging to tiny microplastics – threatening one of our planet’s key life-support systems, harming marine life and even ending up in the seafood on our plate.

We know that single-use plastic bottles like Coke’s are a major source of ocean plastic pollution. In the UK, 16 million plastic bottles are dumped every day, ending up on beaches, in landfill and in the sea. But the companies that produce millions of tonnes of plastic bottles every year are failing to take meaningful action.

Greenpeace Volunteers are calling on Coca-Cola to recognise their role in ocean plastic pollution and commit to ditching throwaway plastic – instead prioritising reusable and refillable packaging. Also, despite Coca-Cola boasting its plastic bottles are fully recyclable, Coke averages a pitiful 7% recycled content in its plastic bottles globally.

Ben Kemp, a Greenpeace activist from Poole, said:

“In the UK alone, 16 million plastic bottles end up in our environment every single day, but the companies that profit from them are trying to wash their hands of the problem. As the world’s largest soft drinks company, Coke has a particular responsibility to drastically reduce its plastic footprint and stop its bottles from ending up on beaches and in waterways. 90% of seabirds have ingested marine plastic. Our oceans simply can’t stomach any more of Coke’s plastic, and why should they have to?”

The volunteers raised awareness of the issue with members of the public at Bournemouth Pier Approach, with many of them going on to express their concerns by writing a postcard to a senior executive of Coca-Cola.

Image 1: Lorna Bailey-Towler a volunteers from the Bournemouth & Poole Greenpeace Group with the Pete Ryan and Sue Coates from Dorset Devils volunteer litter pickers on Bournemouth Seafront.

Image 2: A family who stopped to write a postcard and have their photo taken to support the Bournemouth & Poole Greenpeace Local Group plastics campaign.

Notes to editor:

Greenpeace recently released a report into Coke’s role in ocean plastic pollution: https://www.greenpeace.org.uk/sites/files/gpuk/the-case-against-coca-cola.pdf

Facts and figures on Coca-Cola’s use of plastic:

Coke produces over 100 billion throwaway plastic bottles every year, according to Greenpeace analysis.
Billions of these bottles are failing to be recovered every year and end up in the environment: on beaches, in landfill and in the oceans.
Coke produces over 3,000 throwaway plastic bottles every second (3,400)
Single-use plastic bottles now make up almost 60% of Coke’s global packaging
When combined with other types of single-use packaging this rises to 75%
Coke’s use of throwaway plastic bottles is actually increasing: up 12% (2008-15)
Coke is failing on recycled content targets and has abandoned global targets:
Incredibly, Coke got less than halfway towards its 2015 target to get just 25% of plastic bottles from “recycled or renewable sources” (includes its so-called PlantBottle, which does little to ameliorate harm to marine life)

Following this, Cola-Cola now has no further global targets to boost recycled content across its entire product range.

For further information about local Greenpeace activities please contact:
Simon O’Connor, email address smoconnor25@gmail.com or telephone number 07955 659008

Marcus Carter