22 January 2020 12:37
The US drinks giant – the world's biggest plastic polluter – claimed consumers still want the bottles. It said scrapping them outright now would alienate customers and hit sales. Coca-Cola produces around three million tons of plastic packaging a year – equivalent to 200,000 bottles a minute. Sian Sutherland, of A Plastic Planet campaign group, reacted angrily, saying: 'Shame on Coca-Cola!' She accused it of refusing to take 'responsibility for the 120billion plastic Coke bottles that pollute our planet every year'. Coca-Cola yesterday sparked fury from environmental campaigners by refusing to ditch single-use plastic bottles She added: 'Do they really think the public enjoy seeing beaches and landfills covered in plastic waste, killing marine life and degrading into toxic microplastics that are now in our food?
'People buy what they are sold and it is Coca-Cola's job to sell them something different – toxic-free and nature safe.' The company's sustainability officer Bea Perez told the BBC that Coca-Cola recognised it must be 'part of the solution' but it will not ditch single-use plastic outright. The firm has pledged to recycle as many plastic bottles as it uses by 2030, but vast numbers still end up in landfill She insisted the move could alienate customers and harm company sales. Mrs Perez said customers appreciated the lightweight bottles which can be re-sealed. She claimed using only aluminium or glass packaging would actually push up the firm's carbon footprint. Speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, she added: 'Business won't be in business if we don't accommodate consumers. So as we change our bottling infrastructure, move into recycling and innovate, we also have to show the consumer what the opportunities are. They will change with us.' Mrs Perez also highlighted Coca-Cola's pledge to use at least 50 per cent recycled packaging material by 2030. The company has promised to work around the world to streamline bottle collection and reduce waste. A global audit by Break Free From Plastic last year showed Coca-Cola as the world's top plastic polluter, with Nestle and PepsiCo close behind. The group's Von Hernandez said: 'Their continued reliance on single-use plastic packaging translates to pumping more throwaway plastic into the environment. Recycling is not going to solve this problem.' Julian Kirby, of Friends of the Earth, said: 'As one of the most plastic-polluting companies in the world, Coca-Cola has a huge responsibility to ditch single-use bottles in favour of reusable alternatives. 'Making excuses will leave a bad taste in everyone's mouth, including many of their customers.' The Daily Mail has helped to battle the damage of plastic to the environment through our Turn The Tide On Plastic campaign.