Coca-Cola, PepsiCo and Heineken ‘behind 23% of the UK’s branded litter’

The drinks industry is responsible for more than a third of litter found in 2020 and 2021

Big Zero Report 2022

Coca-Cola, PepsiCo and Heineken are the most littered brands in the UK last year.

Research published by non-profit organisation Planet Patrol suggests these three companies were responsible for almost 23% of all branded litter in the UK this year.

The report suggests in 2021, Planet Patrol volunteers recorded 85,326 pieces of litter across an estimated 27,000 kilometres of land, coastlines and waterways.

The study notes the drinks industry is the biggest polluter for the second year running, responsible for more than a third of the total amount of litter found in both 2020 and 2021.

Plastic fragments, metal drinks cans, plastic packaging, plastic bottles and cigarette butts are among the most common types of litter recorded.

Planet Patrol Founder Lizzie Carr said: “We are part of a fundamentally flawed system that continues to allow brands to pollute without consequence or accountability, whilst our environment pays the price.

“Litter is the symptom of a deeper-rooted, system problem, not the cause.”

A Heineken UK spokesperson told ELN: “We continue to make huge strides in reducing plastic and making it easier for people to recycle our products.

“We’ve removed all consumer facing plastic on packaged products and our ‘Green Grip’ eradicates the need for plastic rings on cans, instead providing a totally recyclable and compostable cardboard solution, which to date has removed 235 tonnes of plastic.

“We are also a founding member of the Scottish Deposit Return Scheme administrator, Circularity Scotland, and are engaged in the development of both the English and Welsh schemes, which will create the necessary infrastructure for this hugely important yet complex project.

“We are aware of the impact of business on the planet, and have committed to reach net zero carbon emissions across our production by 2030 and across our entire global value chain by 2040.”

ELN has contacted Coca-Cola and PepsiCo for a response.

If you enjoyed this story you can sign up to our weekly email for Energy Live News – and if you’re interested in hearing more about the journey to net zero by 2050, you can also sign up to the future Net Zero newsletter. 

Latest Podcast