‘We use plastic bottles because we crave convenience as consumers’

December 7, 2017

GLOBAL GROT: Environmental pressure group Greenpeace took over Piccadilly Circus in London to embarrass Coca Cola into doing something proactive about their environmental footprint. It is a shame this didn’t receive wider attention in the mainstream media, although the Guardian was an exception in this case. Picture courtesy of Greenpeace.

LOCAL DEBRIS: Here my friend Paresh and me point to four Coca Cola plastic bottles that have been rescued from the road and so the problem is also on land as well as the sea which is the focus of Greenpeace’s campaign. It is also worth noting that aluminium and tin drinks can also be a threat to wildlife.  Picture by Heema Mishra.



PLASTIC bottles are so causing so much irreparable damage to marine life that it is threatening the survival of some endangered species.

The environmental action group Greenpeace took over Piccadilly Circus in London to illustrate the impact single-use plastic bottles is having on wildlife and they singled out the biggest soft-drinks manufacturer, Coca Cola.

‘Globalists produce 3,400 bottles a second’

The globalist corporation gets through 100 plastic bottles on an annual basis and that is a staggering 3,400 bottles a second.

They and other drinks manufacturers switched from glass to plastic in the 1990s because they were harder to break and in doing so changed packaging for ever.

One plastic bottle will take 450 years to degrade and there are thousands of these bottles and other plastic in the world’s oceans

‘90% of sea birds have swallowed plastic’

This titanic use of single-use plastic bottles used by them and other drinks manufacturers like Fanta and Pepsi, and it is literally killing the oceans and figures used by Greenpeace suggest that 90 per cent of sea birds have ingested plastic and one in three sea turtles.

‘Bottles were on roadside verges’

Closer to home here in Dorset. Somerset or in the New Forest, you will see plastic bottles and cans lying on the roadside verges, usually write in the edge of roads next to the pavements. It is almost as if anti-social motorists can’t be bothered to take their refuse and home and throw it at the window. You think people wouldn’t do this, but I am afraid to say some do.

‘Don’t worry – the council will pick it up’

In fact I remember a former colleague at a temporary assignment once said this to me and it was almost like it was yesterday: “I was with a friend and we drove down Holes Bay Road and he had an empty bottle, and I said don’t, but he threw it out the window. I said ‘why did you do that’. ‘Don’t worry, the council is there to clean it up, innit?”

I don’t normally quote from other publications but environmental journalist Bart Elmore in The Guardian raises some important questions about the viability of plastic bottle recycling.

In the 1970s and others reading this will also remember that Coca Cola used to sell their product in glass bottles and they were washed and recycled. But in his piece, Elmore writes how they and other big soft drinks manufacturers like Fanta and Pepsi abrogated their responsibilities to their environmental footprint.

Coca Cola and other drinks companies, it has been argued in this article, have not taken deposit systems as it is a “government-imposed price hike” on their sales.

Bring back glass bottles

He cites research The United States where kerbside recycling is done, that without financial incentives, recycling plastic bottles had a very low take-up rate with only 30 per cent being recycled and the remaining 70 per cent never being reclaimed.

So you are investing in the environment, would it make sense to increase the cost of purchasing soft drinks to cover the environmental realities of using plastic bottles? Added to this, wouldn’t it make sense to bring back glass bottles for soft drinks during the day and keep plastic ones in night-time venues where they might be anti-social behaviour?

In his piece, Elmore: “This switch to throwaways, which started with the brewers in the 1930s, and matured in the soft drinks industries in the 1960s, was in part driven by a consumer culture that craved convenience.

“It was also driven by economics, as big beverage companies sought to achieve economies of scale by consolidating their bottling networks, and they realised they could save money if they didn’t have to truck returnable bottles to their factories.”

  • IF anyone is interested in signing a campaign to make Coca Cola rethink their environmental policies on plastic bottles and bottle deposits, the petition is here.

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