Environmental activists from Greenpeace installed a 2.5-ton sculpture on the doorstep of Coca-Cola's UK headquarters in London Monday in protest at the company's contribution to plastic pollution in the world's oceans.
Greenpeace activists blocked the entrance to Coca-Cola's UK headquarters in London with a 2.5-ton sculpture featuring a seagull regurgitating plastic, and called for the company to do more to help prevent plastic pollution.
The campaign group said the sculpture, which depicts an idyllic family beach scene interrupted by birds choking on plastic, was intended to highlight what it claimed were failings by the company.
In a report released on Monday, Greenpeace claimed that Coca-Cola -- the world's largest soft drinks company -- sells more than 100 billion plastic bottles every year. Single-use plastic bottles make up nearly 60% of the packaging produced by the company globally, the report says.
It is impossible to know how many of these bottles end up in seas and oceans, but Greenpeace said Coca-Cola wasn't doing enough.
"We were trying to uncover for the first time the true size of Coca-Cola's plastic footprint," Louisa Casson, oceans campaigner for Greenpeace, told CNN. "And we are actually seeing them going backwards. Rather than investing more in refillables and reusables, they've increased their use of single-use plastic bottles over the last decade."
Coca-Cola said it was "disappointed" by the action by Greenpeace, and said it would publish a new "sustainable packaging strategy" later this year.
Casson said that although "the company continues to call on their customers to recycle," only 7% of Coca-Cola bottles on average are made with recycled plastic.
Casson pointed out that several soft drinks brands already use 100% recycled material in their bottles, including Suntory's UK brand Ribena and PepsiCo's 7Up, which has been sold in 100% recycled "Eco-Green" bottles since 2011.
Greenpeace claimed Coca-Cola is also falling behind on its target to recycle the equivalent of 75% of the bottles and cans it sells in developed countries by 2020, despite their bottles being 100% recyclable.
"We've installed this (sculpture) at their front door today to stop them washing their hands of the problem," said Casson.
"Plasticide" was designed by underwater sculptor Jason deCaires Taylor. At 2.5 tons, the sculpture is "pretty heavy," Casson said, "but ten times that weight of plastic is flowing into the oceans every single minute."
The problem of marine litter
In a written statement to CNN, a Coca-Cola spokesperson said: "We are disappointed by today's stunt and the report from Greenpeace UK, especially as we have been consulting with them to develop our new sustainable packaging strategy which we will publish in the summer."
"Coca-Cola is one of the few consumer goods companies whose packaging is 100% recyclable," the spokesperson said.
"In Great Britain, we have reduced the amount of packaging we by use by 15% since 2007 and we currently use 25% recycled plastic in all of our bottles. Globally, we continue to increase the use of recycled plastic (rPET) in countries where it is feasible and permitted.
"We recognize marine litter is a global problem affecting the world's oceans," the spokesperson said. "We agree that action is needed, are open to doing more and to working with others to create long-term, effective solutions."
One soft drinks bottle can take hundreds of years to fully degrade. Coca-Cola has not disclosed how many plastic bottles it produces each year, but a previous Greenpeace study found that 530 billion plastic PET bottles were produced around the world in 2014, just over half of which were recycled.
That study found that six of the top soft drinks companies in the world, including PepsiCo, Danone and Nestle, use a combined average of 6.6% recycled material in their bottles.
Casson told CNN she would like Coca-Cola to take the lead on producing more environmentally-friendly bottles, and hopes Greenpeace can work with the firm to reach that goal.
"We would like to see them lead the sector by ditching throwaway plastic, embracing reusable models and rapidly moving towards 100% recycled content for the remainder of their packaging," Casson said.
"It's a huge global crisis facing our oceans," she added. "But if we're going to tackle it at source we're going to need concerted action from the companies."
- Huge fire destroys French refugee camp
- Paris gets Hadid-mania, as Saab and Mugler channel dark, 80s
- Trump’s calls for Europe to increase defense spending could force other upheaval
- 'Old slavery mentality' is making a comback in lawless Libya, migrants say
- Ex-CIA spy credits Trump for saving her from Italian jail
- Angela Merkel tells Turkey to stop comparing the German government to Nazis
- Yazidi refugee from Syria uses art to find peace in Winnipeg
- 'Without us ... life stops': Women urged to go on strike for International Women's Day
- Champion Canadian skiers complain of cold shoulder from broadcasters
- Nicola Sturgeon eyeing late 2018 for Scottish independence referendum
You might also like
- Tim Tebow stalked by Colorado woman at Mets spring camp: cops
- KING: The Democratic Party doesn't get why it's so unpopular
- Paul Ryan, Kevin McCarthy Obamacare replacement should be called ‘Abominable Care’
- Fisher’s finish leads to Match Play and a shot at Masters
- Robinson, Lind ready for a spring training job fight
- World Baseball Classic failing to draw interest of American fans
- Ben Carson confirmed by Senate as HUD secretary
- Proposed $54B jump in defense budget won’t help economy much
- White House: Trump unaware of Flynn’s foreign agent work
- Donald Trump pushes back against reports of chaotic White House, touts accomplishments
- Rex Tillerson will host Trump’s anti-Islamic State alliance summit
- Conservatives want health bill changes, House leaders resist
- Powerful South Carolina political consultant implicated in indictments of a veteran state senator
- Will Donald Trump get a second Supreme Court nomination?
- "Hazing" rituals await Supreme Court's "junior justice" Neil Gorsuch
- The hunt is on for Planet Nine. Here's how to join it
- Trump approves controversial Keystone XL oil pipeline
- Trump praises 'Fox & Friends,' renews old feuds in early morning tweets
- Rex Tillerson finally answers question from NBC News' Andrea Mitchell
- First Read's Morning Clips: The Latest in the Russia Investigation
- Spicer: 'I've let the president down'
- Russian President Vladimir Putin met with U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Wednesday
- OMB Diriector Mick Mulvaney: Washington's 'a lot more broken' than Trump thought
- Trump attacks conservatives over failure of health care bill
- A very consequential week didn't go well for President Trump
- Health Care Showdown: Republicans look to go big or go home
- No deal on health care bill after conservatives meet with Trump
- CA gov on those supporting health bill: 'Their name is going to be mud'
- Give it to me straight, doc: Is Obamacare dying?
- First Read's Morning Clips: Waiting for CBO
- 14 People Share What's It's Really Like to Have An Ex Who Is Now Their In-Law
- The Internet Is Freaking Out About The Way This Chef Cuts Pizza
- After a rocky start, Trump and Merkel are set to meet. Can they overcome their differences?
- Far-right populism falters with Dutch vote, but remains a powerful force
- Russia's meddling in other nations' elections is nothing new. Just ask the Europeans
- Leaders from various nations pledge $6 billion in humanitarian aid for Syria
- In Liverpool there's just one game in town — soccer — but two teams just a mile apart
- A football (translation: soccer) fan's guide to Manchester
- Europe closes mixed; Stoxx 600 reaches yearly highs amid geopolitical concerns
- One suspect with 'Islamist links' arrested in connection with Dortmund bus attack
- N Ireland could face direct rule if powersharing talks fail, says Brokenshire
- Germans open their homes to Monaco fans after Dortmund attack
- Huge fire destroys French refugee camp
- French police on the hunt for poachers who killed a white rhino in a zoo
- Germany's challenge: How will schools absorb thousands of Syrian children?
- Russia reopens 1998 murder probe; Putin critic Mikhail Khodorkovsky is a suspect
- Postal worker believed he would never see family again, kidnap trial told
- Latest: Tragic deaths not the first time O'Brien family devastated by fire
- UK's May defeated as lawmakers demand power to reject final Brexit terms
- Germany’s ‘powerhouse’ economy is cracking and investors need to be wary, economist warns
- ECB holds interest rates at zero percent; Draghi says sense of urgency easing
- Op-Ed: European populist protectionism against China is economic self-harm