Pyroplastics: a new type of plastic pollution

Amsterdam, 11 September 2019 – Pyroplastics are floating plastic pebbles. They are found on, among others, the coast in the southwest of England and are barely distinguishable from real pebbles. Only when you pick them up, you notice that they are much lighter. Having spent years in the water, they gave them their round shape and stone grey color. This phenomenon is a new chapter of plastic soup. Read the scientific article on the discovery in Science of The Total Environment.

Plastiglomerate

Everywhere in the world waste plastic is burned to clean it up. If that happens in the open air and near the sea, the remainders can end up in the water. In 2014, a new type of stone was first described: plastiglomerate. The name is a combination of plastic and conglomerate, the geological indication for sedimentary rock. Melting plastic mixes with other materials, such as coral, lava stone or shells, and forms a kind of rock which until recently did not exist. Pyroplastics are also remnants of melted plastic, only not mixed with other material. This is the case, for example, when plastic is burned on ships and thrown overboard.

Erosion

Unlike plastiglomerate, pieces of which are found on beaches, pyroplastics have been eroded by floating in the sea for many years. Research indicates that they consist of polyethylene, polypropylene or a combination thereof. Further analysis also indicates the presence of heavy metals that have long been banned. This implies that these pieces of pyroplastic have been present for a long time. Their shapes were similar to real stones shows that similar erosion processes take place. The process, however, is infinitely faster for plastic than for natural stone.

Unlike the usual plastic waste found on beaches, unfortunately, the pebbles are barely recognized. As a result, we underestimate the amount of washed-up plastic, said environmental researcher Andrew Turner at the University of Plymouth.

Photo: Rob Arnold

Also read – Interview with researcher Andrew Turner in National Geographic

Also read – Plastiglomeraat in Museon

Manufacturers evade deposits by making plastic cans and aluminum bottles

Amsterdam, 30 August 2019 – It is almost certain that at the beginning of 2021 a deposit will be introduced on small plastic bottles, but not on other beverage packaging. The objective of significantly reducing the number of litter plastic bottles in the environment can only be achieved by a deposit scheme. Soda manufacturers also know this. They are introducing packaging alternatives to avoid deposits: aluminum bottles and plastic cans.

Government decision Last June the Government’s decision on deposits was published. Ninety percent of the plastic bottles sold must be collected separately. If the manufacturers do not succeed, a deposit on small bottles will be introduced in 2021. According to the government, a deposit may result in a 70-90% reduction of small plastic bottles in our litter. Beverage cans, however, are excluded.

Fears of opposition and the environmental movement

The opposition in the Dutch parliament insisted on also placing cans under the deposit scheme. According to a recent count, aluminum cans have a 63 percent share in all the beverage packaging litter in the environment. Other types of beverage packaging are also left outside the scheme. When deposits are introduced according to the new decision, the deposit will be levied on only 19% of all beverage packaging found in the litter. The scheme is therefore ineffective in advance. But if a deposit is levied on plastic bottles and not on cans, manufacturers will put many more beverages in cans. In that case, a shift will occur and even more aluminum cans will be found in the litter than is already the case.

NVRD’s concerns

Not only the environmental movement fears this development. Also, the NVRD (Royal Association Waste and Cleaning Management) which unites Dutch municipalities, has expressed its concerns about this: ‘There is a considerable risk that in the coming years that many plastic bottles will be replaced by cans for which there is no collection obligation nor deposit scheme’. In its message, the NVRD also refers to the environmental movement that struck alarm ‘that cans contain not only metal, but also a plastic coating, which causes the litter of cans to spread plastic in the environment as well.’

Packaging alternatives

Beverage giants like Coca-Cola are under increasing pressure because of their contribution to the plastic soup and are looking for ways to reduce the use of plastic. One of these is the replacement of plastic by aluminum. Therefore, Coca-Cola offers, from September onwards, Dasani (spring water) in aluminum bottles in part of the United States. PepsiCo has announced to offer Aquafina (also spring water) in restaurants and stadiums in cans in the future. This trend has also been initiated in the Netherlands. Aluminum bottles made by Heineken and Coca-Cola have already been found as litter. Plastic beverage packaging is now also sold in the form of cans. These are plastic containers in the form of tin and with an aluminum lid including tab. Albert Heijn sells Drinklicious Strawberry Watermelon in plastic tins.

Missed opportunity

The NVRD calls it a missed opportunity that the possibility has not been created to introduce a deposit on cans into the legislation and now calls for ‘careful monitoring of the extent to which this

shift occurs and the consequences it has for litter.’ The NVRD expects the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management to intervene ‘if necessary’. But these concerns are not shared by State Secretary Van Veldhoven (D66). She refuses to commit. Quoted in Trouw: ‘The first measurements do not yet show a shift from plastic to cans.’

Maria Westerbos, Director of the Plastic Soup Foundation: ‘ Because the decision on the deposit scheme only concerns plastic bottles and no other beverage packaging such as tins, the government has opened the way for manufacturers who want to avoid deposits by using packaging alternatives. These are the types of packaging that we will soon find in the litter’.

 


Also read – Coca-Cola largest plastic polluter

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WHO wants more research into the health effects of microplastics

Amsterdam, 22 August 2019 – The World Health Organization (WHO) has released for the first time a report on the potential danger of microplastics in tap water and bottled water. The UN organization’s current assessment is that plastic particles in drinking water do not seem to be a problem, but because hardly any research has yet been done into the effects of microplastics on the human body, they are calling for more research. And WHO will have its way: on 3 October of this year, the Plastic Soup Foundation and ZonMw, in collaboration with the Plastic Health Coalition, will make available the first results into the health effects of microplastics on the human body.

Limited risk from drinking water 

The WHO report Microplastics in drinking-water looks at one way that microplastics can get into the human body, namely through drinking tap water or bottled water. In countries such as ours, most microplastics are removed during the process of making drinking water. Possible risks from the remaining particles include physical damage to the body, and chemicals and pathogenic microorganisms that adhere to plastic. Given the low concentrations in treated drinking water, according to the report, the health risk is low relative to other causes of disease.

Ifs and buts

The report points out that more than two billion people do not have access to safe drinking water. These people may be exposed to much higher concentrations. Another problem is what happens to the microplastics that are removed during the production of drinking water. WHO states in the report that there is a lack of information about the toxicity of nanoparticles. These ultra-small particles are potentially dangerous because they can go anywhere in the body. The report states that hardly any research has yet been carried out into the effects of microplastics on the human body. This type of research therefore has high priority.

Research by ZonMw

On 3 October, during the Plastic Health Summit, the first interim results will be presented from fifteen Dutch scientific studies into the effects of eating, drinking and breathing microplastics on the human body. WHO will get what it wishes for. Today’s knowledge gap is tomorrow’s science.

Maria Westerbos, director of the Plastic Soup Foundation: ‘The WHO report has been compiled on the basis of the literature, but not on the basis of real research into the effects of microplastics on our bodies. We are showing the world for the first time on 3 October what the possible effects are. Only when we know more will we be able to conclude whether our health is in danger or not.’

Photo: Cover of the WHO report.


Read also: WHO roept op tot meer onderzoek naar de gezondheidseffecten van microplastics 

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Failing approach microfibres from synthetic clothing

Amsterdam, 22 August 2019 – In contrast with a resolute European approach to microplastics in cosmetics, is a failing approach to the microfibres released during washing, drying and wearing plastic garments. While this is a much bigger source of pollution! The Plastic Soup Foundation believes that the Dutch government should advocate a rigorous standard in the European Commission.

ECHA

The European Chemical Agency (ECHA) proposes a ban on intentionally added microplastics in various products such as cosmetics, detergents, and paints. The proposal stems from the European Commission’s Plastic Strategy of January 2018. ECHA applies the precautionary principle: we know that plastic does not decompose in the environment and that it is impossible to remove microplastics. Due to the ever-higher concentration of microplastics, this will in the long term, inevitably lead to risks to the environment and human health. In its substantiation, ECHA makes no distinction between types of microplastics. Therefore, the reasoning also applies to microfibres from synthetic clothing.

Collective Industrial Agreement

In January 2018, the Plastic Strategy of the European Commission announced that a newly formed European industrial consortium was to develop test methods to measure the loss of synthetic fibres during washing. On the basis of this, the European Commission was to formulate requirements. The European textile industry then founded the Collective Industrial Agreement. This partnership aims to develop test methods to measure fibre loss.

Test method

The first press release, published at the same time as the Plastic Strategy, states that before the end of 2018 a draft proposal would inform the European Commission which knowledge still needs to be developed to (make possible) work on possible solutions to prevent fibre loss. To this day, this proposal has not been published. So far, representatives of textile companies have met just a few times to discuss a standardized test method. According to the report of the last meeting, which took place last May, a concept Test Method Report is yet to be approved by the participating companies.

Dutch Government

The European Commission placed the entire initiative with the textile sector. The Dutch Government acting in a similar manner. In June 2018, the State Secretary for Infrastructure and Water Management Van Veldhoven told Parliament: ‘Together with the textile sector I will first explore which innovative solutions it sees to prevent emissions of fibres to the water and make further agreements on this.’ In addition, commissioned by the Ministry of infrastructure and Water Management, RIVM, the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment, several months ago released a report on possible measures to be taken. For the Government itself it suggests as a measure: ‘To identify and define maximum standards for the release of microplastic fibres.’

European concern

In such cases, the Dutch Government invariably points to Europe and at best calls on the European Commission to set a standard for fibre loss. The Commission will, in its turn, ask the Collective Industrial Agreement. Because before a standard can be decided on, it must first be possible to measure the release of fibres with certainty. And then the truth comes out: there is not even a concept test-measuring report on which the European textile sector agree.

The textile sector is in no hurry to present proposals that will ultimately be at the expense of sales or profit. And the Government waits passively. How long will it take before there is a legal standard for the release of plastic microfibres? The Plastic Soup Foundation believes that the Dutch Government should actively ask the European Commission for a strict standard for fibre loss, partly on the basis of the precautionary principle applied by ECHA.

Ocean Clean Wash

The Plastic Soup Foundation does not want to wait for a standard. The updated site Ocean Clean Wash presents solutions that offer consumers action perspective. G-Star is starting an instore campaign to promote Planet Care filters. Sympatex is working on a special coating. These are companies in the sector that lead the way and actively take steps in the right direction.


Also read –  Textile sector ignores problems of plastic microfibres

Also read – ECHA proposes to ban intentionally added microplastics

Also read – European textile industry’s microfiber initiative puts off taking action

 

Visual litter assessments are deceptive

Amsterdam, 19 August 2019 – All cleanup actions actually lead to the same conclusion: it is extremely unreliable to visually assess the cleanliness of the environment. At first glance, it may look clean, but if you search for waste, you have a full bag in no time. This is also the case at the Boskalis Clean Up Tour 2019, which is now in full swing. This month, volunteers cleaned up the North Sea beaches for the seventh time. In the six prior times, 12,000 people removed a total of more than 83,000 km of litter. Sign up here to join the Boskalis Clean Up Tour 2019.

Amsterdam canals

In Amsterdam, the degree of cleanliness of the canals is entirely determined by visual inspection. The Canal monitor 2017 gives the ratings for that year. The city awarded itself a 7.8. Absolutely a great result and well above the established norm of 7. Amsterdam started the measurements in 2014 and in that year there were visual inspections at 46 locations. The standard (of 7) indicates ‘one or a few pieces of floating litter, not of natural origin. Impression: mostly clean’. Amsterdam houseboat residents know what the volunteers involved in clean-ups also know; the reality is dirtier.

Test by boat resident

Houseboat residents are closest to the water and see waste float by on a daily basis. One boat resident in the Entrepothaven took a test. For two weeks in September 2018, he fished all the waste out of the water along a six metres stretch of the quay during ten half a minute periods per day and described the items. This gave him a good impression of one location. The result: 203 items with a total weight of 4.1 kg, 90% of which was plastic. Extrapolating to the entire quay —a length of 2500 metres — the resident’s calculation results in at least 5000 kg of plastic (dry weight) per year! The photo shows the pieces larger than 10 cm. Click here for the full description.

Overall impression: polluted

Therefore the resident’s rating is not a generous seven, but a meagre three. And in the Amsterdam rating system, this indicates ‘multiple pieces of floating waste not of natural origin that have long been in the water or much floating litter not of natural origin. Overall impression: polluted’.

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Better recycling of synthetic mattresses is half-baked solution

Amsterdam, 21 August 2019 – In the Netherlands, 1.2 million mattresses per year are placed at the side of the road as large household waste. Two thirds of these, a few hundred million kilos, are burned. Nearly all those mattresses consist of synthetic materials. If by mid-2019 no meaningful steps have been taken by the sector to reduce this mountain of waste, the government will take legal measures in the form of a mandatory manufacturer responsibility. The majority of the sector opt for recycling. This, however, is a half-baked solution. The real solution is the plastic-free mattress. 

Recycling initiatives

Presently, about 15% of the mattresses are now disassembled and processed, the rest are burned. The mattress industry has the objective to increase the percentage of processed mattresses. Various recycling initiatives have already come into being. Auping and DSM-Niaga have developed a circular mattress. Elements of that mattress are easy to separate and can then be used in new mattresses. In collaboration with waste processor Renewi, IKEA has been investing in the recycling of mattresses. RetourMatras recycles mattresses and reuses more than 90% of the materials. Mattress Recycling Europe collects discarded mattresses in municipalities. These are first placed on collecting carts and are then brought to a processing line.

Harmful substances

Synthetic mattresses contain harmful substances that cannot be removed during the recycling process. Substances such as flame retardants and softening agents are held responsible for a range of diseases. For this reason, the World Health Organisation (WHO) in 2018 pointed to the health risks of the circular economy. In the national plan for endocrine disruptors in a circular economy presented last year, the Dutch foundation Wemos pleaded for a clean circular economy. The urgent advice is to avoid harmful substances at the design stage. For synthetic mattresses, however, this solution is an illusion. For instance, flame retardants are added intentionally, as plastics are particularly flammable.

Implementation programme

The government wants the use of raw materials to be halved in 2030 to eventually realise a waste-free economy. One of the ‘icon projects’ in the framework of the Implementation Programme Circular Economy entails improved reuse and design of mattresses. This project focuses on the recycling of discarded mattresses (95% in 2025) and a more durable design, so that in 2025 75% of new mattresses are easier to disassemble to reuse the materials. But circular mattress design should take into account the harmful substances. And the project is silent on precisely that issue.

The true circular mattress has already been in existence for a long time

The cabinet strives to burn significantly fewer mattresses, to recycle a much larger proportion of discarded mattresses, and to more mattresses being designed circularly. However, circular design is not defined. It mainly indicates modular design, so that a discarded mattress can easily be disassembled for usable parts. However, the icon project does not mention the truly circular mattress at all. That mattress simply exists already, is plastic-free and therefore free from harmful substances. This circular mattress consists exclusively of perfectly recyclable organic materials.

Baby mattresses

Especially the demand for organic baby mattresses has increased in recent years. Babies and small children are extra vulnerable to the harmful substances in synthetic mattresses. They sleep a lot and lie with their face directly on the mattress. The artisan company Lavital produces mattresses for adults that consist entirely of natural raw materials, and now also makes mattresses for cots.

Lavital has become a business angel of the Plastic Soup Foundation (PSF). The company donates part of the proceeds of sold children’s mattresses to the PSF (fill in code ‘ PSF ‘ when ordering the baby mattress).

Maria Westerbos, Director of the Plastic Soup Foundation: ‘It is very important that companies like Lavital show that you do not have to sleep on plastic with harmful additives. Paricularly babies deserve to make a good start. We are super proud that Lavital has become one of our business angels. ‘


Also read – Plasticers in plastic slow down baby’s language development

A minus point for PLUS supermarket

Amsterdam, 15 August 2019 – The PLUS supermarket chain sells lightweight plastic cutlery and plastic plates saying that these are sustainable because they can be used one hundred times. The Plastic Soup Foundation had previously qualified this as absurd. In a Distrifood press release, PLUS is sticking to its position. ‘These utensils can be used many times, even 100 times, and are considerably stronger than the previous versions. They can be washed in the dishwasher and be used in the microwave.’ Citing these reasons, PLUS is skirting around European legislation.

Dishwashable utensils

In November 2018, PLUS had announced its intentions in a press release: ‘By including dishwashable crockery and cutlery in its range, PLUS, the Meest Verantwoorde Supermarkt (most responsible supermarket) leads the way in European policy that will soon ban disposable plastics. The European ban will help tackle the plastic soup in the seas and oceans. PLUS is replacing the plastic disposable items with items that are less detrimental to the environment … Adding dishwashable utensils in the PLUS range is a new step towards less disposable plastic.’ And ‘PLUS will make next year’s BBQ season more sustainable by offering dishwashable and reusable crockery and cutlery. These products do not need to be thrown away anymore … They can be reused for more than one hundred times.’

Misleading

You can see from a mile away that this plastic crockery and cutlery will mostly be sold for single use. The crockery and cutlery have hardly changed in appearance, design, and price. The claim that they are ‘dishwashable’ changes little or nothing in terms of customers deciding whether or not to buy them, let alone encouraging them not to throw them away after one use.

Washing is not reusing

The European Guidelines on reducing the impact of certain plastic products on the environment bans disposable cutlery in 2021. This is not up for negotiation. PLUS is skirting around the ban by calling disposable cutlery dishwashable and therefore reusable. However, for the European Commission, the number of times that a product can be used or washed is not the standard. It maintains a completely different definition of reuse. Its intention in terms of reuse refers to return systems in which the product goes back to the manufacturer or retailer after use, for example by imposing a deposit return system.

A minus point for PLUS that should, of course, know this.


Also read – PLUS SUPERMARKET WORKS AROUND THE EUROPEAN BAN ON SINGLE-USE PLASTICS

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Coca-Cola Recycling Fail: tag your Litterati photo #CCRF

Amsterdam, 8 August 2019 – Coca-Cola has announced that no bottle or can with their brand should be left as litter in the environment. The company says that one hundred percent of their packaging, from all over the world, must be returned for recycling. The message is on every package or cap: “help us recycle” or “please recycle”. But in practice you find discarded Coca-Cola packaging wherever you go. This summer, Coca-Cola Netherlands is running a campaign called “Let’s not waste this Summer”. The company is calling for people to stop buying Coca-Cola if they will not help to recycle the packaging. However, more is needed than these empty words. Therefore, the Zwerfinator has also started a campaign: to map discarded Coca-Cola packaging with the Litterati app.

Coca-Cola takes no responsibility

What is the point of indicating on each bottle or can that it should be recycled, when you know that many people will simply dump it somewhere? Coca-Cola has known this for decades. The reason is simple. In this way, the consumer is made responsible for the litter from Coca-Cola and the company can lead us to believe that sustainability is a top priority for them. But it’s misleading, because the company takes no responsibility for the huge amount of used and worthless Coca-Cola packaging. What would help is the introduction of a container deposit (statiegeld) on small bottles and cans. Because as soon as packaging has value, it will be returned for recycling. But we don’t hear Coca-Cola discussing this. In their summer campaign, Coca-Cola does not even mention statiegeld.

#CCRF

Dirk Groot, a full-time litter collector known as the Zwerfinator, has also started a campaign this summer and everyone can participate: Operation #CCRF. He wants to map just how much Coca-Cola packaging ends up in the environment, despite all the best intentions. These items show that the 100% recycling target is but an empty promise. Joining the campaign is very simple: if you find a can, bottle or cap from Coca-Cola with the request to recycle printed on it, pick it up and take a picture using the Litterati app. Then tag the photo in the app with #CCRF. That’s all you need to do; the Zwerfinator places all found items on a map and regularly updates social media – and of course will also inform Coca-Cola. Watch the video here:

The Zwerfinator has in recent years mapped more than 230,000 litter items (of all brands) using the Litterati app. The more photos, the better the insight into the Coca-Cola Recycling Fail (CCRF). So join in – the campaign has just begun and dozens of people in the Netherlands and abroad are already involved.


Also read: Coca-Cola: Let’s not waste this summer

ING finances the plastic soup with billions of dollars

Amsterdam, July 19, 2019 – The ING is the largest Dutch financer of shale gas and plastic producers. The bank has invested at least 3.9 billion dollars since 2010. That’s one of the conclusions of a recent report Plastic Finance from “De Eerlijke Geldwijzer” (the Dutch Fair Finance Guide), in which The Plastic Soup Foundation participated. On their website, the ING explains on the one hand (in Dutch) why they invest in shale gas (in the US, not in Europe) while they strive to contribute to a reduction in plastic waste on the other hand. The bank states: “We believe that all parties in the chain need to be responsible for re-thinking how we produce and use plastic at the moment”. ING’s billions of investments in shale gas shows that the bank have not taken their own message on board.

ING’s Blind Spot

The ING does not invest in shale gas projects in Europe, only in the United States. Ethane is a by-product of the extraction of shale gas, and is used for the production of new plastic. The Guardian predicts that this cheap raw material will lead worldwide to a 40% increase in the production of plastic in the next 10 years: plastic that will be used to produce tens of millions of pieces of new plastic packaging, some of which will inevitably end up in the environment. But there’s lots of money to be earnt for oil and chemical companies. For that reason, some 204 billion dollars has been invested in the US since 2010 in the expansion of plastic production based on ethane. And not only in the US: there’s an abundance of shale gas and some of it is transported to Europe in very large ethane carriers. The company responsible for this trans-Atlantic transport, the British chemical giant INEOS, is also investing 3 billion Euro’s in plastic plants in Antwerp.

New Plastics Economy

The ING has in the meantime endorsed the New Plastic Economy Commitment of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation. The document advocates a circular economy for plastic: it should never become waste, but should instead always be re-used as a raw material. This development conflicts with investments in shale gas. Thanks to shale gas, new (virgin) plastic can be produced that is so cheap and of such a good quality, that there will no longer be a market for recycled plastic. With investments in shale gas, the ING thwarts the realization of the same circular plastic economy that they confess to support so strongly.

Lack of policy regarding the plastic soup

A serious policy to combat the plastic soup seems to be totally lacking at the ING. When requested by the Dutch national news sender NOS for a reaction (in Dutch) to the report Plastic Finance, the bank commented that it is a conscious decision to invest in companies that are involved in the extraction of gas: “The ING will no longer finance coal-fired power stations. Gas generation plays an important role in the energy transition as it will, for example, enable the United States to close down coal-fired power stations”. The reaction from the bank disregards the relation between shale gas and plastic production, as well as the relation between the production of plastic and the emission of greenhouse gasses. A recent report calculated that the production and incineration of plastic around the world is responsible for greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to 189 coal-fired power stations of 500 megawatt each!

A serious policy with regard to plastics also needs to take in to account the loss of plastic production pellets (nurdles). These leak into the environment in their millions. The factories for the production of these nurdles are often located on rivers. They were found to have polluted half of the locations that were used as measuring points for the Clean Rivers project: in the Westerschelde there were even more than 800 pellets in one meter of seawall.

The Fair Bank- and Insurance Guide and the Plastic Soup Foundation urge all banks and insurers to provide clarity about their investment policy and exclude shale gas production from investment. Policies with unambiguous criteria are needed, criteria that will put the brakes on the unbridled growth in the production of plastic by companies that banks like ING are helping to finance.


Also read: Banks and insurance companies in the Netherlands invest billions in shale gas and plastic production

Also read: Does the Rutte cabinet really want less plastic?

Also read: INEOS invests 3 billion euros in plastic plants in Antwerp

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Coca-Cola: Let’s not waste this summer

Amsterdam, 25 July 2019 – Isn’t it nice to drink a cold coke during a hot summer? Coca-Cola sales will increase in summer, but how many of the sold cans and bottles will end up in our environment? If Coca-Cola has its way: zero. The beverage multinational has started the global “World Without Waste” campaign in 2018. Part of this campaign is the retrieval of all packaging worldwide for recycling and an increase of the recycled plastic used in packaging. And to achieve this all, they want to cooperate with local organizations. The plan is amazing as well as ambitious, since we are dealing with 3 million tons of plastic packaging per year. According to the calculations of British newspaper The Guardian this equals 200,000 plastic bottles per minute.

Dutch summer campaign

In the Netherlands this recycling plan has been developed and made part of the largest Coca-Cola campaign of the year: ”Let’s not waste this Summer”. Consumers are told not to buy Coca-Cola if they cannot help the company with recycling the packaging. All consumers should dispose of the packaging in a responsible way. And if you dispose in the right way, and prove it, you could even win a sustainable prize. Would this convince all the people, who have the bad habit of leaving their cans and bottles in the street, not to buy a coke? Of course not. This is a smart marketing campaign presenting Coco-Cola as a sustainable company, while they lay the responsibility of cans and bottles in the environment solely at the consumers’ door.

Three brands 100% recycled plastic

The returned PET bottles are used to make new bottles. This summer, Coca-Cola announced that three brands (Chaudfontaine, Honest and CLACÉAU Smartwater) will be in PET bottles entirely made of recycled plastic in the beginning of 2020. That means a reduction of 900 tons new or ‘virgin’ plastic in Europe every year. The global goal of the World Without Waste campaign is to use at least 50% recycled plastic for all bottles in 2025. To increase the use of recycled plastic in the bottles, a higher percentage of bottles need to be returned. That is why the consumers are urged to separate plastic from other waste. However, even bottles entirely made of recycled plastic can end up in our environment. And that chance of bottles ending up in our environment increases when the amount of bottles sold increases.

Coca-Cola and the deposit-refund system

Coca-Cola has an ambivalent attitude to the introduction of deposit on bottles. With a deposit-refund system you make sure that a high percentage of bottles is returned. You will not get a sustainable prize once but you will get the deposit refunded every time you return a bottle. A couple of years ago, Coca-Cola has stopped its opposition to deposits when governments want to introduce or extend the deposit-refund system. However, the company does not promote deposits as a means of retrieving recyclable packaging. This summer campaign would only be credible if Coca-Cola expressed their support for a deposit-refund system. 


Also read: Coca-cola largest plastic polluter