GLOBAL – Beverage company Coca-Cola has increased its plastic packaging by 8.8% or over 579 million pounds (263 thousand metric tons) in one year, reveals a study by Oceana, a non-profit ocean conservation organization.

The finding follows after Oceana analyzed data from the Global Commitment 2022 Progress Report released by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation earlier this week.

The plastic packaging usage by Coca-Cola increased by more than 263 thousand metric tonnes from a reported 2.96 million metric tonnes in 2020 to 3.22 million metric tonnes in 2021

Oceana strategic initiatives Director Dana Miller said: “This new report makes it clear that Coca-Cola’s recycling pledges are not stopping the ever-growing tsunami of plastic that is overwhelming our oceans.

“How can the company use an additional 500 million pounds of plastic in one year and at the same time consider itself to be addressing its plastic problem?

“Bottles with recycled content will still be thrown away, sent to landfills, burned, or littered. Some of these bottles will end up in our oceans.”

In response to the findings, Oceana has called on Coca-Cola to increase refillable bottles to address its plastic problem.

According to the organization, a single refillable bottle can be used up to 25 times, thereby preventing 24 single-use plastic bottles and 49 single-use bottle glass bottles.

Dana added: “Just a 10% increase in refillable bottles in all coastal countries could reduce marine plastic bottle pollution by 22%.

“If Coca-Cola is serious about reducing plastic pollution, it needs to stop promoting single-use, throwaway plastic bottles and instead deliver on its commitment to sell 25% of its drinks in refillable and reusable bottles and containers.”

The new finding comes after a new study commissioned by Oceana exposed the weakness of plastic recycled content pledges made by beverage companies including Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, Nestlé, Danone, and Keurig Dr Pepper.

Most of these companies pledged to increase post-consumer recycled content in their polyethylene terephthalate plastic bottles from 25 to 50% by 2025.

In February, Coca-Cola pledged to make 25% of all its beverage packaging across its brand portfolio reusable by 2030.

The company said that the move is intended to help promote a circular packaging economy while contributing to efforts to eliminate plastic waste and pollution.

For all the latest packaging and printing industry news from Africa and the World, subscribe to our NEWSLETTER, follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn, like us on Facebook, and subscribe to our YouTube channel.