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Cans of Red Bull again at number 1 of most found litter
World Cleanup Day 2020 In Figures
For the second year in a row, Red Bull’s cans are the number one spot for producers whose products contribute the most to litter. Marlboro is number 2. Heineken has dropped from second to fourth, and McDonald’s is again in an embarrassing third place.
The ranking of most found litter items looks very different. Cans, with their plastic layer on the inside, also contribute to the plastic soup. They have dropped from first to third place. The obvious ‘winner’ this year is the cigarette butt, which rose from sixth to first place. All these and other figures mentioned in this report are based on the waste items found and registered with a special app from 16-19 September (from the special school day last Wednesday to World Cleanup Day yesterday).
Plastic is again the most commonly found material. Last year it accounted for 61% of all materials, this year even 74%. Metal and paper follow with 12% and 11% far behind.
World Cleanup Day – the most extensive cleanup action in the world – is also a rapidly growing movement in the Netherlands. Yesterday, 39,324 registered participants, spread over 2,517 different cleanups, went out to clean up litter. (Click on this map for an overview.) That’s more than twice as much as last year. An estimate of the worldwide number of participants in about 180 countries will follow later today.
Dutch Most Active
Just like last year, many people responded to the call to record every piece of waste found during the cleanup process using the Litterati app.
This data helps us identify the problem and analyze which type of waste makes the biggest contribution.
This overview shows that the Dutch are the most active users of Litterati worldwide. A great example of citizen science! A total of 127,211 pieces of waste have been registered in the Netherlands for World Cleanup Day 2020.
Worldwide, almost 7 million waste items have now been tagged. This data is also used in the ‘fire audit’ that Break Free From Plastic, the worldwide movement against plastic pollution, performs annually.
Frans Timmermans: ‘Microplastics Are Life-threatening’.
The day was festively opened yesterday during a live stream on Facebook by Frans Timmermans, first vice-president of the European Commission and honoured with the Political Plume by the Plastic Soup Foundation. He explained why the plastic problem is so close to his heart: ‘I just became a grandfather and by the time my grandson will be my age, there would be more plastic in the sea than fish. We can’t afford that!’
He was very clear about the problem of plastic waste, which in the environment never digests but decomposes into ever smaller pieces of plastic: ‘Microplastics are a direct attack on our health, what’s happening is really life-threatening. And we can do something about it! That’s the beauty of it. Our legislation has also shown that. Everyone can do something about it!
We predict that we will see a significant shift in the top 5 most found items. As of 1st July 2021, there will be 15 cents deposit on each plastic bottle. In countries like Norway and Germany, thanks to deposit systems, 97 to 99 per cent of used bottles and cans will be returned neatly. Calculate the environmental gain for the Netherlands, where, according to the central government, 100 million plastic bottles end up in nature every year.
Next summer, European legislation will also come into force banning disposable plastic such as straws, forks and plates. There is now also a majority in the Lower House of Parliament in favour of deposits on cans from 2022. And State Secretary Stientje van Veldhoven twittered yesterday: ‘I am now working on the legislation for deposits on cans.’
However, this does not mean that we can sit back. After all, the litter problem is much bigger and more complex. Our environment will still be polluted with candy wrappers, plastic bags and cigarette butts. This is precisely why cooperation between the business community, governments and civil society organizations is so important.
Impact Of World Cleanup Day
Also last year our press release headed ‘Tins of Red Bull on number 1’. That’s what attracted Red Bull. The company is not proud of this place and wants to do everything possible to improve it.
Although the topic of sustainability is not new to Red Bull, last year’s result has created more urgency, and several plans have gained momentum. Also Red Bull, as well as McDonald’s and Coca-Cola (this year at number 3 and 5 respectively of most found brands), has taken the initiative to discuss this with Nederland Schoon and Plastic Soup Foundation. They do this in addition to their already ongoing projects on a local and national level. The common goal of the companies is to reduce litter.
Cooperation Pays Off
Plastic Soup Foundation, who signed for the third year in a row for the organization of World Cleanup Day in the Netherlands, looks back on a very successful event. New this year is the collaboration with Stichting Nederland Schoon, which has borne fruit.
Maria Westerbos, director of Plastic Soup Foundation: ‘Our choice to work with Nederland Schoon fits the current times. All, but really all hands on deck are needed to turn the tide, from consumers and environmental organizations to industry and government. Even the State Secretary took to the streets with a garbage picker this year. I would never have thought that.’
Helene van Zutphen, director of Stichting Nederland Schoon: ‘We are very proud of the success of this edition of World Cleanup Day. It is admirable that so many residents, students, companies and organizations have joined forces this year. Thanks to an inspiring and fruitful collaboration with Plastic Soup Foundation, we were able to get even more people on their feet together. All these people give the signal not to throw waste on the ground. We can’t emphasize it enough: a good collaboration is a key to a great result’.