FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Brand audits highlight citizen action to hold polluters accountable, getting to the root cause of the plastic pollution crisis
Break Free From Plastic, the global movement working to stop plastic pollution, is taking coastal cleanups a step further – by naming the brands most responsible for the plastic pollution found on our beaches and beyond.
Throughout a global week of action, September 9-15, 2018, groups under the #breakfreefromplastic banner have collectively organized more than 180 cleanups in 49 countries to incorporate data on corporate plastic pollution found in communities across the world. These particular events will conclude on World Cleanup Day, September 15, and a report will follow citing brand responsibility for the plastic pollution found in nearly 150 cities around the globe. #breakfreefromplastic is looking forward to hosting more brand audits until coastal cleanup becomes of a thing of the past.
“Corporations cannot greenwash their role out of the plastic pollution crisis and put the blame on people, all the time. Our brand audits make it clear which companies are primarily responsible for the proliferation of throwaway plastic that’s defiling nature and killing our oceans. Their brands provide undeniable evidence of this truth,” stated Von Hernandez, #breakfreefromplastic Global Coordinator.
From San Francisco, California to Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, organizers are working in solidarity under the global #breakfreefromplastic banner. Nipe Fagio, a Break Free organization in Dar es Salaam, is no stranger to brand audits. In fact, the group is organizing cleanups at more than 30 sites across the city during World Cleanup Day to shape the future for a cleaner Tanzania. “Over 50% of waste collected during our beach cleanups in the last 6 months comprise of plastic that range from packaging materials and beverage bottles manufactured by MeTL group, to toothbrushes, straws and pens,” shares Navonaeli Omari-Kaniki, Program Coordinator at Nipe Fagio.
“Brand audits are about creating corporate accountability for the plastic pollution that litters our oceans, waterways, and communities,” said Graham Forbes, Global Plastics Project Leader at Greenpeace. “For far too long, companies have put the onus on the individual to just recycle more, but we know that only 9 percent of plastics ever made have actually been recycled. It’s essential that these corporations take concrete steps to innovate away from single-use plastic. People all over the world will continue to hold them accountable until they do,” he added.
By categorizing and counting branded plastic packaging during cleanup efforts, #breakfreefromplastic is identifying the corporation’s most responsible for plastic pollution.
“Corporations like Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, Nestle, Unilever, Starbucks, Procter & Gamble, and McDonald’s have a major role to play when it comes to plastic pollution. We are sold coffee, soda, chips, candy, sandwiches, shampoo, soap, and even fruits and vegetables packaged in throwaway plastic. It’s time for these corporations to take responsibility for single-use plastic,” said Stiv Wilson, Campaigns Director at The Story of Stuff Project.
“As First Nations Peoples, we continue to resist corporate colonialism which profits from extractive economies and disposable plastic culture while pushing the burden of responsibility to community recycling and individual consumer choice,” stated Mati Waiya, Executive Director at the Wishtoyo Chumash Foundation. “We maintain our traditional responsibilities to protect our homelands and waters – that includes holding corporations accountable for their role in generating this excessive waste,” Mati Waiya added.
#breakfreeformplastic is mobilizing massive citizen muscle with a common mission so corporations can no longer frame the issue as one of only consumer responsibility. The movement boasts nearly 1,300 groups working towards a similar goal of holding companies accountable for the plastic waste they produce.
“It’s unfair for North American and European companies who earn billions of dollars annually to pass the burden of managing the waste of their products to communities and cities in the global south. These companies know full well that these countries lack the resources and capacity to handle this type of plastic waste in their systems,” stated Anne Larracas, Asia Pacific Managing Director at the Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives.
Member organizations of the #breakfreefromplastic movement involved in the global brand audit efforts include: Greenpeace International, Surfrider Foundation, 5 Gyres, EcoWaste Coalition, Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives, Health Care Without Harm, Mother Earth Foundation, Nipe Fagio, The Story of Stuff Project, Zero Waste Montenegro, Amicas De La Terra Mallorca, CEJAD, PlastiCo Project, NESMAC-KITARA, Student PIRGs, Inland Ocean Coalition, Planeteers of Southern Maine, Instituto Argonauta Para Conservação Costeira e Marinha, People and the Sea, Rockefeller University, Científicos de la Basura, Wishtoyo Chumash Foundation, and Let’s Do It World.
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To view the brand audit toolkit, click here.
To learn why brand audits are better than clean-ups, click here.
#breakfreefromplastic is a global movement envisioning a future free from plastic pollution. Since its launch in September 2016, nearly 1,300 groups from across the world have joined the movement to demand massive reductions in single-use plastics and to push for lasting solutions to the plastic pollution crisis. These organizations share the common values of environmental protection and social justice, which guide their work at the community level and represent a global, unified vision. www.breakfreefromplastic.org.
Shilpi Chhotray, #breakfreefromplastic (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Claire Arkin, Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives (email@example.com)
Perry Wheeler, Greenpeace (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Highlights from past brand audits:
- Sept 2017: Freedom Island, Philippines → Of the total waste collected during an 8-day cleanup and brand audit, half of it was plastic. 6 international brands including Nestle, Unilever, and Procter & Gamble are responsible for nearly 54% of plastic waste found during the Freedom Island brand audit.
- March-September 2017: Bandung City, Cimahi City, and Bandung Regency, Indonesia → A total of 8,101 plastic waste items were collected from an 8-day waste assessment and characterization study. Top plastic polluters include: PT Indofood CBP Sukses Makmur Tbk, PT Santos Jaya Abadi, PT Unilever Indonesia Tbk, PT Mayora Indah Tbk, Wings Corporation, PT Djarum, Group Danone, PT Hanjaya Mandala Sampoerna Tbk., Orang Tua (OT), PT Garudafood Putra Putri Jaya.
- May 16-26, 2018: 18 states in India → Of the total waste collected, 46,100 pieces of plastic waste were branded, of which 47.5% were multilayer plastic packaging which can neither be recycled nor composted. Pepsi Co was found to be the top multinational brand responsible for the plastic waste crisis in the territories audited, followed by Unilever and Coca Cola. Results were published in time for World Environment Day, June 5.
- June 1, 2018: 5 cities in the Philippines → Over the course of a 12-month period found that single-use plastic packaging from multinational companies such as Unilever, Procter & Gamble, Nestlé, PT Mayora, Colgate-Palmolive, and Coca-Cola comprised almost three-fourths of all collected residual waste.
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Recyclers and Zero-Waste Advocates Debunk Starbucks’ Claims that New Lid Will Be “Recycled”
The #breakfreefromplastic global movement invites Starbucks CEO Kevin Thompson to see where Starbucks trash ends up: much of it across South East Asia.
In an effort to quell growing concerns about Starbucks wasteful packaging, the company just announced to much fanfare that it would phase out plastic straws and replace them with “recyclable” plastic lids. In fact, the same type of plastic Starbucks claims is “recyclable” is being sent to landfills across the nation, or shipped to countries like Malaysia or Vietnam– where it becomes pollution. “Starbucks’ claims about the ability of #5 plastics to be ‘widely recycled’ are bankrupt,” says Stiv Wilson, Director of Campaigns at the Story of Stuff Project. “This incredible attention to a single product isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it isn’t quite a good thing either if it doesn’t lead to broader, systemic change in how the world makes, uses, and disposes of the most ubiquitous material in commerce today—plastic,” he added.
As companies like Starbucks are increasingly under fire for their contribution to the plastic pollution crisis, they have primarily relied on recycling as the solution to their wasteful packaging, despite its many flaws. As a result, the US has been sending even larger quantities of “recyclable” plastic to China, causing the tremendous environmental damage that led the country to close its doors. Now the US has started sending its plastic waste to other countries in Asia, sparking these countries to enact similar bans and restrictions.
“Recycling alone is not going to solve the plastic pollution crisis,” said Greenpeace Plastics Campaigner Kate Melges. “In fact, relying on a recycling system that is failing in the U.S. and facing bans overseas will make the problem worse. To date, only 9% of all plastic ever made has been recycled. It is time for companies to move beyond flashy PR moves and start significantly reducing their production of plastic and investing in reuse alternatives.”
In many of the countries Starbuck has stores, there is little to no recycling infrastructure. Not only do Starbucks’ branded straws, hot cups, cold cups, and lids show up in beach cleanups, according to the global trash app, Litterati, Starbucks branded products are easily in the top three of brands identified globally if not number one.
With that in mind, the #breakfreefromplastic movement invites Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson to visit the communities in Southeast Asia most impacted by the plastic waste created by companies headquartered in the global north.
“The type of plastic pollution we’re seeing in Southeast Asia are produced by global corporations headquartered in North America and Europe,” said Break Free From Plastic’s Global Coordinator Von Hernandez. “While these are the countries that are being blamed for plastic pollution, the ones that are really pushing production are companies located in the global north. They need to bear the responsibility for this waste.”
The deceptiveness of industry’s recycling pledges has hampered progress towards real solutions to the plastic crisis. Monica Wilson, Research and Policy Director at GAIA, states, “We call on Starbucks to be responsible for its own products and packaging and to stop pretending the plastic flooding the market is actually getting recycled.”
For press inquiries, please contact:
Shilpi Chhotray, #breakfreefromplastic, email@example.com, 703-400-9986
Claire Arkin, GAIA, firstname.lastname@example.org, 510-883-9490 ext. 111
Perry Wheeler, Greenpeace, email@example.com, 301-675-8766
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Québec City, Canada – Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced the closure of what he described as “a successful G7 Summit with ambitious objectives” on the environmental front, including a status quo commitment on climate change and a G7 Ocean Plastics Charter endorsed by five nations.
In response to the climate announcement, Greenpeace International Executive Director Jennifer Morgan said:
“The joint commitment to climate action forged in Paris remains at the top of the geopolitical agenda despite the US administration’s repeated attempts to demolish it. The ambition and resolve shown today by some leaders must now result in real, committed action to address the shared climate threat.
“We are the crossroads of our time and only through multilateral action that boldly accelerates the clean energy transition, provides jobs, and eradicates poverty can we meet the magnitude of the challenges ahead. There are no second chances. The Trump administration put the health of the planet at risk and is betting against markets, investors, and the action of millions of American sub-national and non-state actors.
“G6 leaders now have to demonstrate their commitment in practice by accelerating the decarbonisation of the economy, scaling up climate finance, responding to the findings of the upcoming IPCC 1.5°C special report, completing the Paris Rulebook at COP24, and actively engaging in the Talanoa Dialogue. The upcoming G20 in Argentina must ensure that all major emitters remain committed to the Climate and Energy Action Plan agreed last year and are fully engaged for a successful COP24.”
In addition, five countries and the European Commission — excluding the United States and Japan — endorsed a G7 Ocean Plastics Charter and “commonly resolved to eradicate plastic pollution and create a lifecycle economy by investing $100 million to protect coasts and oceans,” as stated by Prime Minister Trudeau. According to his announcement at the closure of the summit, the charter will encourage further recycling and repurposing of all single-use plastic.
In response to the announcement of the charter, Morgan said:
“While the leadership to outline a common blueprint is good news, voluntary charters focused on recycling and repurposing will not solve the problem at the source. It’s time for the world’s largest economies to recognise that we cannot simply recycle our way out of this problem while we keep churning out so much throwaway plastic in the first place. Governments must move beyond voluntary agreements to legislate binding reduction targets and bans on single-use plastics, invest in new and reuse delivery models for products, and hold corporations accountable for the problem they have created.
“The newly proposed European Union single-use plastics law clearly recognises that it’s necessary to go beyond recycling and move toward bans and producer responsibility. Today, five G7 leaders have acknowledged the crisis, which is an important step, but that must be met with significant legislative action building on the EU’s example.”
Perry Wheeler, Senior Communications Specialist, Greenpeace USA: +1 301-675-8766, firstname.lastname@example.org
Greenpeace International Press Desk: +31 20 718 2470, email@example.com (available 24 hours)
(This article was posted by Greenpeace International and originally appeared in https://www.greenpeace.org/international/press-release/17041/g7-leaders-release-tepid-plans-for-addressing-climate-change-and-ocean-plastic-pollution-greenpeace-response/)
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June 13, 2018 – The G7 Ocean Plastics Charter, signed by five nations, has already been criticized as “tepid,” and inadequate to the scale of the plastic pollution problem. Despite advocates calling for governments to set clear, binding targets for reduction of virgin plastics, the G7 charter embraces weak “end of pipe” waste management approaches. Advocates around the world are particularly concerned with a word hidden in the charter’s fine print: “recovery.”
“The term ‘recovery’ is a euphemism for burning plastic waste; whether it be in an incinerator, cement kiln, gasification, pyrolysis or a thermal waste to energy plant. These options are one and the same and they will inevitably transform plastic waste into a toxic and greenhouse gas emissions nightmare,” says Von Hernandez, Global Coordinator for the #breakfreefromplastic movement. “Now is the time for world leaders to take bold and decisive action to cut plastic pollution off at the source by demanding that corporations cease producing throwaway plastic. By keeping incineration on the menu of disposal options, they’re allowing an escape valve for companies to continue churning out worthless single use plastic.”
The Charter’s signatories aim to “recycle and reuse at least 55% of plastic packaging by 2030 and recover 100% of all plastics by 2040.” This commitment is in line with the American Chemistry Council’s strategy on plastic pollution, as outlined in a lackluster commitment to recycle or “recover” 100% of plastic packaging by 2040. “The plastic and fast-moving consumer goods industries have been relentlessly pushing incineration techno-fixes on countries in South East Asia, the very same places that they have flooded with polluting plastic packaging,” says Froilan Grate, Executive Director of GAIA Asia Pacific. “Instead of pushing for burning the waste they themselves are creating, why don’t they just stop producing it?”
Incinerating plastic has been known to cause harmful emissions of heavy metals, persistent organic pollutants, carbon emissions and other dangerous toxics.
Waste-burning facilities are also extremely costly, and the municipalities who resort to this practice end up locked into long-term contracts and are fined when they do not send a large enough quantity of waste to the incinerator. “The use of incineration encourages us to waste more, not less,” says Monica Wilson, Research and Policy Coordinator at GAIA. “If we rely on burning our waste we have no chance of getting to the root of the problem– eliminating the products and packaging that create the waste in the first place.”
Press Contact: GAIA: Claire Arkin, firstname.lastname@example.org, +1-510-883-9490
(This post originally appeared in http://www.no-burn.org/global-leaders-enable-dangerous-waste-burning-practices-in-g7-plastics-charter/)
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