2021 Brand Audit report shows why companies need to make less plastic packaging

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Alex Truelove

For the fourth year in a row, the same major companies topped the list


DENVER — The Break Free From Plastic movement released on Monday its fourth annual global Brand Audit report for 2021. To compile the data, over 11,000 volunteers in 45 countries collected, counted, and documented waste from hundreds of brands to help identify the companies most responsible for plastic pollution. 

The audit found that the top plastic-polluting corporations of 2021 are the same major beverage and consumer goods companies that have topped the list in previous years: The Coca-Cola Company, followed by PepsiCo, Unilever, Nestlé, Procter & Gamble, Mondelēz International, Philip Morris International, Danone, Mars, Inc., and Colgate-Palmolive.

PIRG Zero Waste Director Alex Truelove issued the following statement:

“This audit affirms what we already know: We don’t have a plastic recycling problem, but rather a plastic packaging problem. Until companies make less disposable plastic packaging, these same disappointing results will continue.”

“Many of the major offenders, including Coca-Cola, have committed to increasing recycled content without actually reducing the amount of disposable packaging used for their products. A plastic container made of recycled material is still polluting if it ends up in the ocean. The only way to address the sources of that pollution is to make and use less single-use plastic.”