Greenpeace protests Coca-Cola and the role it plays in ocean plastic pollution with a giant sculpture outside their London headquarters.

Greenpeace dumped a 2.75-ton ocean plastic sculpture outside Coca-Cola’s headquarters in London during April 2017. The sculpture, made from sand and waste Coca-Cola bottles, is meant to protest Coca Cola’s role in ocean plastic pollution.

Jason deCaires Taylor created the sculpture, called “Plasticide,” which depicts seabirds regurgitating plastic during a family beach picnic. The sculpture blocked the entrance to Coca-Cola’s headquarters in London on April 10, 2017. This forced employees to step over piles of sand before entering a side entrance. Activists also protested outside the headquarters, and covered the sculpture with tons of sand and waste Coca-Cola bottles.

We use 330 million tons of plastic each year globally, half of which is single-use plastics. Up to 14 million tons of waste plastic ends up in the ocean each year. Plastic bottles and tops are a major source of this marine plastic. Greenpeace thinks companies such as Coca-Cola are not taking enough action to rectify this.

Photo by Greenpeace

Protesting Coca-Cola

The senior oceans campaigner at Greenpeace U.K., Louise Edge, confirmed that Coca-Cola produces over 100 billion single-use plastic bottles every year. Many of these end up on beaches, in the ocean, and in landfills each year. The bottles are, however, 100-percent recyclable.

“But rather than dramatically reducing its plastic footprint, Coke is actually increasing its use of throwaway plastic bottles, which is polluting our oceans and being ingested by everything from seabirds to turtles,” says Edge.

“Coca-Cola is trying to ignore the impact its plastic is having on our environment, so we’ve installed a monument to their role in ocean plastic pollution on their doorstep, to force them to confront the issue. This artwork weighs 2.75 tons, but every minute plastic weighing 10 times that is pouring into the sea. Our oceans simply can’t stomach any more of Coca-Cola’s plastic.”

Is Coca-Cola doing enough?

A Greenpeace report concerning Coca-Cola came out on the same day as the protest. It confirmed that the company is failing to meet its own sustainability targets. Coca-Cola is also restricting access to packaging information. The report confirmed that the company makes as few as 7 percent of its bottles from recycled plastic and 60 percent of the company’s packaging is single-use plastic bottles. The company is failing to meet its target of recycling 75 percent of bottles and cans sold in developed countries by 2020.

In contrast, companies such as Ribena and PepsiCo’s 7Up are already using 100 percent recycled material in all their bottles.

A Coca-Cola spokesperson commented that the company is one of few consumer goods companies whose packaging is 100 percent recyclable. Coca-Cola also says it has reduced the amount of plastic it uses in Great Britain by 15 percent since 2007. The company further stated that it will continue to increase its use of recycled plastic when possible, and that they recognize marine litter as a global problem that needs action and collaboration.

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