From street vendors to widely food-delivery services throughout Asia, eating is hardly a green affair when it comes to the amount of plastic utensils used. According to Ocean Conservancy, five Asian countries are dumping more plastic than the rest of the world combined accounted for up to 60% of the plastic waste leaking into the ocean. Ironically, the biggest plastic polluters are the world’s most powerful consumer goods brand.
By continuing to churn out problematic and unrecyclable throwaway plastic packaging for their products, these companies are guilty of trashing the planet on a massive scale. The most commonly found form of litter collected was polystyrene followed by polyethylene terephthalate (PET), the material used to make bottles for soft drinks. Another commonly found debris type was multi-layered material — a mixture of plastic and other materials bonded in layers — which is typically used to make potato chip bags, juice pouches, and the one-time use sachets.
“We pay the price for multinational companies’ reliance on cheap throwaway plastic”
— Abigail Aguilar, Philippines campaigner for Greenpeace
So, what are the biggest plastic polluter brands in the world? According to Greenpeace’s Break Free From Plastic movement, the world’s most ambitious plastic cleanup and brand audit project, the top 10 companies flooding the planet with throwaway plastic are:
- Mondelez International
- Procter & Gamble
- Perfetti van Melle
- Mars Incorporated
Seeing how these corporations are polluting our oceans for profit, we have to hold these brands accountable for their plastic pollution. Companies must reciprocate and step up in this fight of global action against plastic pollution, and they can do better by reducing their production of single-use plastics.
A study suggested that reducing plastic packaging and redesigning products for recyclability have minimal impact in cutting the plastic waste that enters the ocean. As reported by the International Energy Agency, it was predicted that global consumption of plastic will continue to rise over the next 15 years, driven by the voracious appetite for consumer goods in the developing world.
To solve this problem, we need to change the entire system — from how our products are made to what happens when we’re done with them. Besides demanding the guilty corporations to be part of the solution, we can do our part and be the agent of change ourselves. The best way to cut plastic waste is to cut consumption, experts say is by choosing filtered — not bottled — water, making food delivery sustainable, and say no to plastic bags. Starting from us, and together, we can be the generation that ends ocean plastic pollution.