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UK's Packaging Pollution Perpetrators Revealed

Updated: Jul 23, 2023


Coca-Cola, McDonald's, and PepsiCo Lead the Charge – A Surfers Against Sewage Audit Exposes Top Branded Polluters in the UK


In a recent annual audit conducted by the esteemed campaign group Surfers Against Sewage, alarming revelations have come to light regarding the major culprits behind packaging pollution in the UK. As reported by this publication, Coca-Cola, McDonald's, and PepsiCo have emerged as the top offenders in this pressing environmental crisis.


Over a span of 12 months leading up to June 5, 2023, a dedicated army of more than 4,000 citizen scientists meticulously scoured coastlines, canal paths, bridleways, and city streets, unearthing a staggering 30,700 polluting items for examination.


Astoundingly, the audit unveiled that a mere dozen companies were responsible for a jaw-dropping 70% of the branded pollution amassed during this period. Holding the unfortunate distinction of being the UK's leading polluter for the fourth consecutive year, Coca-Cola has been churning out an unsettling 17% of the country's branded plastic pollution.


Even with initiatives purportedly aimed at curbing plastic waste, such as the introduction of attached caps across its entire portfolio of brands in May 2022, Coca-Cola's pollution levels have remained disconcertingly high.


Not to be outdone, McDonald's claimed the second spot on the ignominious list, accountable for 11% of the identified polluting items, while PepsiCo landed in the third position. The triumvirate of Coca-Cola, McDonald's, and PepsiCo together accounted for a concerning 37% of all branded pollution, though there was a marginal drop from the previous year's figures.


Other corporate giants also made their mark as major polluters, with Tesco, Haribo, Nestlé, Heineken, Mars, Carlsberg, and Red Bull also contributing to the burgeoning environmental dilemma.


These distressing findings should serve as a clarion call for all corporations, reminding them of their responsibility to address the packaging pollution crisis with utmost urgency.


The clock is ticking, and it falls upon these influential entities to step up their efforts and effect meaningful change in the battle against environmental degradation.

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