Twelve biggest polluters named

Surfers Against Sewage has released its 2021 Brand Audit Report that accuses twelve brands of contributing two thirds of the UKs plastic and packaging pollution: Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, Anheuser-Bush InBev, McDonalds, Mondelez International, Heineken, Tesco, Carlsberg Group, Suntory, Haribo, Mars and Aldi.

Hugo Taghol, CEO of Surfers against sewage said: “Serial offenders including Coca-Cola, which tops the leader board year-on-year as the worst offender, are still not taking responsibility. Legislation such as an ‘all-in’ deposit scheme needs to be introduced urgently and governments need to hold these companies to account and turn off the tap of plastic and packaging pollution flooding the ocean.”

An ‘all-in’ deposit return scheme would cover all drinks containers of all sizes and materials, not just limited to small containers classified as ‘on-the-go’. The Brand Audit revealed that more than half of the pollution from the top dozen companies would be captured through such a scheme, including 80 per cent of top polluter Coca-Cola’s products.

By collecting the packaging pollution found through the organisation’s Million Mile Clean, the organisation has established the biggest contributors, and alongside the dozern parent companies, the report also exposes the top ten food and drink brands who are creating packaging pollution, including household names such as Walkers, McDonalds and Cadbury.

It seems the COVID-19 pandemic has also impacted the type and volume of items recorded during this year’s audit. Stella Artois and Budweiser cans made their way into the top ten most polluting brands, leading to their parent company Anheuser-Bush InBev rocketing up the leader board to third place, having been eight in 2019. This surge is most likely due to the closure of pubs, bars and restaurants during consecutive lockdowns. Similarly, plastic and glass bottles and cigarette butts accounted for just under half (48 per cent) of unbranded pollution.

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