A new report by international development and relief agency Tearfund claims that single-use bottles, sachets and packets produced by the companies are being burnt in developing countries at an alarming rate and contributing to the climate crisis in the process.
The Burning Question report found that the four global companies create enough plastic pollution to cover 83 football pitches every day. According to the report, Coca-Cola, Nestlé, PepsiCo and Unilever are responsible for half a million tonnes of plastic pollution that is burnt or dumped annually in six developing countries – China, India, the Philippines, Brazil, Mexico and Nigeria.
The plastic is burnt or discarded as the nations don’t have the capacity or recycling infrastructure to handle that volume of material. According to the report, the wastage that is burnt creates emissions equivalent to 4.6 million tonnes of CO2 – the same as two million cars on UK roads.
Coca-Cola was found to produce around 200,000 tonnes of plastic pollution across the six nations – around eight billion bottles according to the report. PepsiCo was found to have a plastic pollution footprint of 137,000 tonnes per year, Nestlé produced 95,000 tonnes and Unilever 70,000 tonnes.