Drink bottles 'only 7% recycled plastic'

Greenpeace says firms must do more, but are consumers also to blame?

Soft drink bottles
(Image credit: Wikicommons)

Bottles used by the world's six biggest soft drink companies, including Coca Cola and Pepsi, contain less than ten per cent recycled plastic, according to a new study.

Greenpeace surveyed manufacturing practices at Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, Suntory, Danone, Dr Pepper Snapple and Nestle and although all their bottles are fully recyclable, only 6.6 per cent of the plastic they contain is made from recycled plastic.

The environmental group says the 2.16 million plastic bottles sold every year are contributing to marine pollution. Plastic waste can entangle or choke ocean-dwelling creatures such as turtles and sea birds. A recent paper showed "even marine organisms 10km (6mi) deep had ingested plastic fragments", the BBC reports.

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Campaigner Louise Edge told Sky News: "We know that 12 million tonnes of plastic are ending up in our oceans every year.

"To give you context, that's a dumper truck of plastic going into our oceans every minute."

Greenpeace is calling on the drink companies to lead by example and set targets to increase the proportion of recycled plastic in their bottles.

The government is already considered copying a Scottish scheme which would impose a small additional charge on products in a plastic bottle, to be refunded when the empty bottle is returned to a designated recycling point.

In response to the findings, Pepsi, Coca Cola, Nestle and Danone have all issued statements affirming their commitment to protecting the environment and to encouraging consumers to recycle and increase their use of recovered plastics.

Gavin Partington, from the British Soft Drinks Association, told Sky consumers also had a responsibility and that it was "pretty clear" too many people were failing to dispose of their used bottles appropriately.

He added: "All PET [Polyethylene terephthalate] bottles are 100% recyclable so there's absolutely no excuse for consumers to be doing that."

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