International Business & Economy Greenpeace convinces soft drink giants Coca-Cola and PepsiCo to say goodbye to...

Greenpeace convinces soft drink giants Coca-Cola and PepsiCo to say goodbye to Plastics Industry Association

Both companies credit the decision in part to pressure from environmental group Greenpeace, which has been calling on all businesses to face the facts regarding their plastic footprint — to reduce and eventually eradicate single-use plastics

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Coca-Cola and PepsiCo, giants of the beverage industry, have both made huge announcements — they are severing ties with the Plastics Industry Association in keeping with their aims of drastically reducing single-use plastics in their products and packaging.

Both companies credit the decision in part to pressure from environmental group Greenpeace, which has been calling on all businesses to face the facts regarding their plastic footprint — to reduce and eventually eradicate single-use plastics.

Coca-Cola and PepsiCo join the ranks of other companies who just last year have ended their memberships with the Plastics Industry Association — household products company Clorox, medical device firm Becton Dickinson and hygiene and cleanings tech company Ecolab.

While neither company went into specifics on the exact policies of the Plastics Industry Association that caused them to cut ties, Coca-Cola and PepsiCo have said that their memberships with the Plastics Industry Association are in opposition to their separate commitments to reducing plastic waste.

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Both companies confirmed their intentions to leave the trade association through the Dow Jones Newswires.

“We withdrew earlier this year as a result of positions the organization was taking that were not fully consistent with our commitments and goals,” a Coca-Cola spokesperson said.

Meanwhile, a PepsiCo representative told CNBC said that the drinks company joined the Plastics Industry Association initially to learn about material innovation; however, it too has announced that by the end of the year, it will no longer be a member of the trade association since it “does not participate in the policy advocacy work of the association or its subsidiaries.”

The Plastics Industry Association has previously lobbied for states to prohibit bans on plastic bag usage and other plastic restrictions across the United States. Some of the companies that ended their memberships in 2018 did so because of disagreements with the association over plastic bag preemption laws.

Patty Long, interim head of Plastics Industry Association, said she was disappointed that the two drinks giants are to leave because of a “persistent Greenpeace activist campaign.”

“This is unfortunate—consumer brands are integral to making sustainability commitments into realities, by working with their suppliers to make lasting change,” said Long.

“For example, our members work together to align their efforts to put recycling and sustainability at the forefront of their businesses.

“Once again, we invite Greenpeace to work with us to help implement meaningful and sustainable advances to improve our environment, such as modernising and expanding recycling infrastructure.”

While Long and the Plastics Industry Association are extending the invitation to Greenpeace to work together, Greenpeace is very clear on their stance, both about the lobbying group and plastic pollution.

“Companies understand that they cannot publicly say they want to end plastic pollution, while financially supporting an association that lobbies for our continued reliance on throwaway plastics,” Greenpeace USA Oceans Campaign Director John Hocevar said in a press release.

“This is a victory for every person that spoke up and asked Coca-Cola and PepsiCo to put their money where their mouths are and tell the Plastics Industry Association to stop preventing plastic reduction efforts.”

Last year, Greenpeace found that Coca-Cola, PepsiCo and Nestle were the world’s largest producers of plastic trash, thanks to polystyrene in their packing and PET in bottles and containers.

Coca-Cola and PepsiCo have both pledged to have their packaging become fully recyclable, reusable or compostable by 2025. /TISG

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