Plastic Planet co-founder Sian Sutherland accused Coca-Cola of hiding behind the public instead of taking responsibility for the “120bn plastic Coke bottles that pollute our planet every year”.
She added: “Do they really think the public enjoy seeing beaches and landfills covered in plastic waste, killing marine life and degrading into toxic microplastics that are now in our food?
‘Buy what they are told’
“People buy what they are sold and it is Coca-Cola’s job to sell them something different – toxic-free and nature-safe.”
The claims followed an announcement by the soft drinks manufacturer confirming it would not ditch single-use plastics because consumers still wanted them.
Speaking this week at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Coca-Cola head of sustainability Bea Perez said removing plastic would alienate customers and hit sales and that only using aluminium and glass packaging would push up the firm’s carbon footprint.
“Business won't be in business if we don't accommodate consumers,” she said. “So, as we change our bottling infrastructure, move into recycling and innovate, we also have to show the consumer what the opportunities are. They will change with us.”
Meanwhile, food giant Nestlé is to dramatically reduce its reliance on virgin plastics as part of a CHF2bn (£1.59bn) investment in sustainable packaging.
On the back of its 2018 commitment to make 100% of its packaging recyclable or reusable by 2025, the manufacturer will reduce its use of virgin plastics by a third during the same period.