Dear Reader,

This week, an analysis of Nestle South Africa’s quietly altered plastic packaging goals has revealed the business will produce up to 280,000 metric tonnes of additional non-recyclable plastic waste a year. Over 100 sports organisations and athletes have signed a letter led by Sailors for the Sea, powered by Oceana and EcoAthletes, calling on Coca-Cola and Pepsi to increase reusable packaging. Experts from Boston College, the Norwegian University of Science and Technology and the Climate Policy Initiative Indonesia have warned we are yet to see the worst impacts of microplastic pollution. The plastics industry is lobbying to quash California’s reusable plastic bag ban despite the numerous environmental benefits. Finally, environmental groups including A Plastic Planet and City to Sea call for Labour to tackle the ‘plastic crisis’.

As always, we hope you enjoy reading.

John Higginson
Plastic Free Post

Nestle’s shifted recycling goals reveal scale of plastic problem

Nestle South Africa quietly altered its plastic packaging goals, shifting the language to pledge that the company will use plastic mostly “designed for” recycling by 2025 rather than only use “recyclable” or reusable packaging by next year — its original commitment.

The subtle rewording is more than semantics- the difference amounts to 280,000 metric tonnes of additional non-recyclable plastic waste a year. Some producers blame insufficient recycling infrastructure, inadequate regulation, and lethargic consumers for delays in recycling. This adds to the increasing calls on governments to do more to boost investment and create financial incentives to develop demand for more types of plastics markets.

Read more here.

Athletes demand Coca-Cola and Pepsi increase reusable packaging

More than 100 sports organisations and athletes from around the world, including Olympians and world champions, have called on beverage giants Coca-Cola, Pepsi and bottler Coca-Cola Europacific Partners (CCEP) to fight plastic pollution by increasing their use of reusable packaging.  

The Paris 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games will be the largest sporting event to serve beverages in reusable packaging, potentially replacing millions of single-use plastic cups. In a letter led by Sailors for the Sea, powered by Oceana and EcoAthletes, signatories expressed concern for the growing plastic pollution crisis and urged the soft drink companies to use Paris 2024 as a launchpad for introducing more reuse systems.  

Read more here.

Researchers call on governments to curb ‘stupid plastics’ 

Researchers say the world is in “the lull” before the plastic crisis begins in earnest. In a 2024 research review about the implications of increasing microplastic pollution, the authors write “the widespread outbreak of [microplastic] pollution has not yet occurred”. 

Three experts from Boston College, Norwegian University of Science and Technology and the Climate Policy Initiative Indonesia have called on the international community to implement a global cap on plastic production – with a focus on single-use plastics, regulate 15 groups of plastic chemicals of concern, including bisphenols, phthalates and PFAS and increase the use of reusable packaging by targeting manufacturers and retailers.

Read more here.

Firms attempt to quash California’s reusable plastic bag ban

Seeking to quash a regulatory change that would remove over 100 million pounds of North American post-consumer plastic resin per year, plastics giants have joined together to advocate for retaining recycled-content reusable plastic bags in California’s bag regulations, despite the environmental benefits of the  ban.
The coalition is calling for California lawmakers to abandon legislation that would expand the state’s bag ban to prohibit reusable bags made from 40 percent post-consumer resin. The plastics coalition has tried to defend its action by claiming the legislation would “force Californians to choose between two options, both of which carry with them negative environmental challenges.”

Read more here.

Environmental groups call for Labour to tackle the ‘plastic crisis’

Responding to the Labour Party’s landslide victory in the UK general election, co-founder of A Plastic Planet & Plastic Health Council, Sian Sutherland has said that a clear and comprehensive policy that takes a long-term vision is the ‘only vehicle to fight the impact of plastic on our bodies and planet’, and insisted science must inform legislation that provides certainty to business and signals that single-use plastic will no longer be the norm.

Jane Martin, chief executive of environmental charity City to Sea, also called for action on ‘single-use culture’ and called for the UK to catch up with EU legislative changes: “The EU has developed the PPWR, and deposit returns schemes have been implemented in a number of countries with great success. Simply, the UK is being left behind.”

Read more here.

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