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Plastics

And The Corporate Response

CORPORATE ACTION

REPUTATIONAL RISK FOR BIG PLASTIC: Report Exposes How Corporations Divert Attention, Continue Plastic Pollution

A well-organized network of organizations is fighting plastic pollution solutions using similar ploys around the world, according to “Talking Trash: The Corporate Playbook of False Solutions,” a report from The Changing Markets Foundation. The 98-page report looks at actions by the top 10 plastic polluters as well leading NGOs and trade bodies, looking at them over time and across regions and countries.
 
It highlights how these strategies are used to distract consumers and governments and “delay and derail legislation” that might prevent them from growing the market for cheap, disposable plastic packaging.
 
None of the companies analysed – Coca-Cola, Colgate-Palmolive, Danone, Mars, Mondelēz, Nestlé, PepsiCo, Perfetti Van Melle, P&G and Unilever – come out well. Parallels with the actions of Big Tobacco are strong and the report exposes the reputational risk they face.
 
Across the ten, authors seediffering levels of commitment, from near zero (Perfetti Van Melle and Mondelēz International) to more impressive-sounding commitments (Unilever, Danone and Coca-Cola), but even the better ones fail to provide sufficient transparency and often act in unethical ways.
 
A study of Coca-Cola shows three decades of broken promises to reduce plastic use: it made in 1990 a commitment to make bottles with 25% recycled polyethylene terephthalate (rPET), but today rPET content is still only about 10%. Also, the company pledged to support 10 voluntary initiatives to solve plastic waste while being a member of at least seven trade associations that lobbied against legislation and policies seeking to prevent plastic pollution.
 
The authors also criticize many trade bodies that work on behalf of the companies as well as NGOs that run voluntary commitments, such as New Plastic Economy, for lacking accountability and transparency and often greenwashing companies.
 
Last, the  report points to proven solutions – reuse and refill along with mechanical recycling – and criticizes reliance on unproven technologies such as chemical recycling that are distant from being commercially viable and come with serious environmental detriments.[Image Credit: © The Changing Markets Foundation]

CORPORATE ACTION: Coca-Cola

Coca-Cola Commits To Furthering Goals Of New Climate Change Roadmap

Coca-Cola has endorsed the goals of new climate change roadmap from the Ceres Company Network that stresses the importance of setting science-based corporate strategies to address climate change. Roadmap 2030 urges companies to commit to achieving net-zero emissions by 2040; achieve resource positivity across key commodities by 2030; reach water balance in watersheds of high-water stress; and enable a just and inclusive transition. An example of Coca-Cola’s commitment to the goals is a partnership between Coca-Cola Beverages Philippines and Indorama Ventures to build a "bottle to bottle" recycling plant that can process two billion bottles annually. 

All Coca-Cola European Partners Bottles Now Made With 50 Percent rPET


The multinational bottler has partnered with Coca-Cola Great Britain is manufacturing all plastic bottles across its core brands with 50 percent recycled plastic (rPET) – more than 21,000 tons of recycled plastic per year. Labels on the bottles will inform customers of the change and encouraging them to recycle the bottle under a Deposit Return Scheme that is coupled with investment in infrastructure. According to the company, there isn’t enough food-grade recycled plastic available in the U.K. to switch to 100 percent rPET across its entire range. [Image Credit: © Coca-Cola European Partners]

CORPORATE ACTION: Danone

Evian Says All Of Its Bottles In The U.K. Are Made From Recycled Plastic


The French mineral water brand announced that the new bottles will be widely available in the U.K. beginning September 21, the first day of Recycle Week. Evian bottles were already 100 percent recyclable, but are also now made from 100 percent recycled plastic. An Evian marketing exec said the company is committed to providing “our iconic Evian water in a way that limits the use of virgin plastic.”[Image Credit: © Danone S.A.]

CORPORATE ACTION: Lidl

P&G Beauty Joins With JD To Launch Plastic Bottle Recycling Program In China

P&G Beauty partnered with ecommerce company JD to launch a plastic bottle recycling program in China. The program will let customers in Shanghai and Guangzhou who purchase P&G Beauty’s hair care products from Head & Shoulders, Pantene, VS Sassoon, and other company brands receive the products in JD’s reusable “green box” containers. Customers can then put used plastic bottles in the box, which is then collected by JD couriers. P&G will recycle the plastic bottles into artificial grass lawn playgrounds for schools.[Image Credit: © Proctor & Gamble]

Lidl GB Plans To Reduce Plastic Packaging, Waste By 40% By 2025

Lidl GB said it will reduce by 40% the plastic packaging for its own-label products and cut the total amount of own-label packaging by 25% by 2025. It announced other plastic reduction goals, including doubling the number of refillable and reusable packaging options available in-store by 2021; achieving 100% recyclable, reusable, refillable, or renewable own-label packaging and branded packaging by 2025; and 50% of own-label packaging made of recycled content by 2025. It also pledged that 100% of pulp and fibre-based own-label packaging for its core food range will be responsibly sourced or made with recycled content by January 2021.[Image Credit: © Lidl]

CORPORATE ACTION: Nestlé

Nestlé Waters U.K. Advances Plan For Circular Plastics Economy

The Gatwick-based bottled water company has partnered with recycler Biffa in a program to collect recyclable PET bottles and reprocess them in the U.K. into rPET bottles. The partnership supports Nestlé Waters’ aim to collect as many bottles as it produces globally by 2030, enabling the company to significantly reduce the amount of virgin plastic it uses under its global commitment to reduce the use of virgin plastics by one third by 2025. Every BUXTON bottle will be made from 100 percent recycled rPET (recycled polyethylene terephthalate, by collecting recyclable PET bottles and reprocessing them here in the UK into rPET. Biffa has set a target to quadruple its plastic recycling by 2030, and the rPET supplied to Nestle Waters will come from the company’s new £27.5 million ($35 million) state-of-the-art plastic recycling facility in Seaham, County Durham. The plant has the capacity to process the equivalent of 1.3 billion plastic bottles a year and will supply recycled material to Nestle Waters  Buxton factory beginning in 2021.[Image Credit: © 2020 Nestlé Waters]

Nespresso Commits To Full Carbon Neutrality By 2022 Across Its Entire Supply Chain

The Nestlé (Lausanne, Switzerland) brand of capsule coffees and coffee makers has pledged that every cup of Nespresso coffee for at-home and professional customers will be carbon neutral by 2022. The company has been carbon neutral across its business operations since 2017, and the new commitment will tackle emissions that occur in its supply chain and product life cycle. The goal will be achieved by: the reduction of carbon emission; the planting of trees in and around coffee farms where Nespresso sources its coffee (insetting); and through support, and investment in high quality offsetting projects. Nespresso said a broader sustainability program to be announced later this year that will: preserve exceptional coffees, build a resilient and regenerative coffee agriculture system, drive sustainable livelihoods for farmers and build a circular business.[Image Credit: © Nestlé Nespresso SA]

CORPORATE ACTION: Other

Ocean Spray, TerraCycle Launch Free Recycling Program

The Middleborough, Mass.-based agricultural cooperative says waste management company TerraCycle is launching a free recycling program that enables Ocean Spray customers to recycle flexible plastic Craisins dried cranberries and snack packaging for an alternative use. Participants in the program can send their Craisins flexible plastic packaging to TerraCycle, where the packaging is cleaned and melted into hard plastic that can be remolded into new recycled products, such as park benches and picnic tables. For each shipment of Craisins packaging sent to TerraCycle through the program, participants earn points that can be donated to a non-profit, school or charitable organization of their choice. The cooperative is also working with TerraCycle's new Loop platform to design and launch products in reusable packaging.[Image Credit: © Ocean Spray]

CAMPAIGNS, COMMITMENTS & NGOs

Cosmetics Europe’s Chave Opposes ECHA’s Proposed Microplastics Restriction

Cosmetics Europe director-general John Chave opposes the European Chemicals Agency’s January 2019 proposal to limit microplastics in products on the European Union and European Economic Area market in concentrations higher than 0.01% “weight by weight.” He says the restriction reflects the agency’s “very narrow view of the cosmetics and personal care industry” and undervalues the sector. The 60-day public consultation period expired on September 1, 2020 and the European Commission and all EU Member States will evaluate ECHA’s proposal, ECHA committees’ support for the proposed restriction, and public comments gathered.[Image Credit: © John Chave, Cosmetics Europe]

CONSUMER & PUBLIC OPINION

Product Sustainability Drives Purchasing Decisions For Majority Of UK Consumers

58% of UK adults surveyed by Beyond the Box base their purchasing decision on the material used for the product’s packaging. The cardboard campaign group also found that 55% “actively try to shop sustainably” when buying food products. There are several barriers to sustainable shopping, including cost, with 17% saying they “cannot afford” to shop sustainably, while 23% believe green products are too expensive for most people. Meanwhile, 45% said recycling logos on packaging confuse them; however, 75% said they could be “much more” sustainable if more companies use eco-friendly packaging.[Image Credit: © Beyond the Box ]

UK Consumers Want Manufacturers, Sellers To Pay For Recycling

A YouGov survey commissioned by recycling company Viridor found that 64% of UK consumers said businesses producing the product should pay for recycling and 55% want those selling it to pay. Viridor’s 2020 Recycling Index also found that 64% want the UK government to contribute, up from 56% last year, and 67% believe taxpayers are at present paying the recycling bill. 52.5% say they are confused by what plastic can be recycling and the same number want 100% of plastic packaging to be made from recycled material by 2030.[Image Credit: © Viridor]

POLICY, REGULATION & LEGAL

APR Commends California Governor For Signing Recycled Content Law

The Association of Plastic Recyclers has praised California Governor Gavin Newsom for signing California Assembly Bill 793. From 2022, the law requires all plastic bottles included in the state’s container redemption program to average at 15% postconsumer resin, rising to 25% in 2025 and 50% in 2030.[Image Credit: © Association of Plastic Recyclers]

RESEARCH

UK Grocery Brands Need To Use More Recyclable Packaging, Reduce Waste

Analysis by Which? of 89 of the bestselling branded groceries in the UK revealed slightly more than a third came in fully recyclable packaging in household collections and almost 40% came without recycling labels. Also, the study showed Shredded Wheat was the best breakfast cereal brand in terms of recyclability, Cherry Yogurt for yoghurts and potted desserts, Galaxy Smooth bar for chocolate, and Ribena blackcurrant squash for juice drinks and smoothies. Cheese products came with various packaging options, with soft cheese products having good recyclability, while bagged snacks did poorly in general. Brands can improve their packaging’s sustainability by using more recyclable materials, removing non-recyclable packaging components, and adding recycling labels to their packaging.[Image Credit: © Which?]

Amazon’s New Climate Initiative Helps Online Shoppers Find, Buy Sustainable Products

Amazon announced Climate Pledge Friendly, an initiative to help customers find and shop products that are more sustainable than other items it sells. Climate Pledge Friendly labels will be on over 25,000 products, in grocery, household, beauty, fashion, and personal electronics. Amazon also announced Compact by Design, a part of the initiative that certifies products with more efficient design and sustainable packaging. Compact by Design-certified products include products from Seventh Generation and Mrs. Meyer’s.[Image Credit: © Amazon]
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