Corporate Responsibility: Stopping the Problem Where it Starts


We talk a lot on Trash Pirates about personal responsibility in helping the planet. From buying less, to recycling more, and of course doing litter cleanups. But we haven't really talked about the underlying issue of our plastic and littering issues – corporations. In fact, a study found that just 20 companies are responsible for 55% of single-use plastic waste [1]. Companies, for decades, have fought governmental policies that would better our environment because it would require multibillion dollar companies to take responsibility for their actions, often financially. Here are just a small handful of examples: November 2021 – Bracewell Policy Resolution Group (backed by the Association of Plastic Recyclers (APR) successfully lobbied against a proposed virgin plastic tax that would apply 20 cents per pound [2]. They want to keep using new plastics at a cheaper cost.

March 2021 – Plastic executives from Dow, the American Chemistry Council, Brightmark LLC, Agilyx Inc., and Sealed Air Corp urged congress to reject the Break Free From Plastic Pollution Act for fear it would impact their plastic production [3].


In 2008, Florida became the first state to put in place preemptive legislation that concerns plastics. It effectively restricts local plastic bag bans and fees [4]. Attempts to overturn this preemption have mostly failed. In Coral Gables, they attempted to ban businesses from using polystyrene. However, the Florida Retail Federation, a lobbying group backed by corporations like Walmart, Target, CVS, and Publix sued to stop the city from enforcing this ban [5].


We need to hold these companies accountable. And we can do that in four ways.

1 - Stop buying their products, this is called voting with your dollars. This works best when lot of people do it at the same time and these actions are made public, often on social media.


2 - Write to these companies (get a lot of friends and family to do the same) and tell them they need to stop producing/using plastic.


3 - Tell your elected officials you want companies to be held responsible. You can find a “how to” on our website here.


4 - Share what you've learned about corporate responsibility with family and friends, in-person and on social media.


Below is a list of the top 10 corporate plastic polluters, their CEO’s name, and their contact information. We encourage you to reach out and tell them you want to see single-use plastics eliminated. You’ll find that a lot of them have greenwashing initiatives on their websites and social media accounts. Though we support all efforts to reduce plastic, these companies are just not doing enough, or are simply showing you pretty pictures and empty words in hopes you won’t realize they are still top polluters.


Top 10 Corporate Plastic Polluters (2021) [6]:

1. Coca-Cola

CEO – James Quincey

Customer Service: (800) 438-2653

Contact Form: https://www.coca-colacompany.com/contact-us/contact-us-form

Twitter Handles: @CocaColaCo & @CocaCola


2. Pepsico

Customer Service: (800) 433-2652

Contact Page: https://contact.pepsico.com/pepsico/contact-us

CEO – Ramon Laguarta

Twitter Handle: @PepsiCo


3. Unilever

CEO – Alan Jope

Customer Service: (800) 298-5018

Contact Page: https://www.unilever.com/contact/

Twitter Handle: @Unilever


4. Nestle

CEO – Mark Schneider

Customer Service: (800) 225-2270

Contact Form: https://www.nestle.com/info/contactus/contactus#contact-form

Twitter Handles: @Nestle & @NestleUSA


5. Procter & Gamble

CEO – David S. Taylor

Customer Service: (513) 983-1100

Address: The Procter & Gamble Company, 1 P&G Plaza Cincinnati, OH 45202

Twitter Handle: @ProcterGamble

6. Mondelez

CEO – Dirk Van de Put

Customer Service: (855) 535-5648

Contact Form: https://www.mondelezinternational.com/Investors/Contact-Us

Twitter Handle: @MDLZ


7. Philip Morris Intl.

CEO – Jacek Olczak

Contact Form: https://www.pmi.com/contact-us/product-concerns

Twitter Handle: @InsidePMI


8. Danone

CEO – Antoine de Saint-Affrique

Addresses: Broomfield, Colorado Office, 12002 Airport Way, Broomfield, CO 80021

White Plains, New York Office, 1 Maple Ave, White Plains, NY 10605

Twitter Handles: @Danone & @DanoneNA


9. Mars, Inc.

CEO – Grant F. Reid

Contact Form: https://www.mars.com/contact-us

Twitter Handle: @MarsGlobal


10. Colgate-Palmolive

CEO – Noel Wallace

Customer Service: (800) 468-6502

Contact Page: https://www.colgatepalmolive.com/en-us/contact-us

Twitter Handle: @CP_News


A side note about all the corporation above. They are ALL run by white men. There is not a woman or person of color among them. That is so disappointing.


Remember, by telling these companies to say goodbye to plastic you're not only preventing more litter, you're telling fossil fuel companies we don't want more climate change causing fuels removed from our earth (remember plastic is made from fossil fuels).


Yes, we still need to consume less, reuse what we can, recycle what we can, and do cleanups. But we have to remember this isn't on all of us as individuals. This is on corporations that cause the mountains of plastic and trash.


Finally, we need to be supporting Bottle Bills. Only 10 states have such bills (California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Iowa, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, New York, Oregon, and Vermont) [7]. Studies conducted before and after bottle bills have passed in seven states shows huge reductions in beverage container littering, from 69% to 84%, and overall littering reductions from 30% to 65% [8]. Bottle Bill Tool Kit: https://www.bottlebill.org/index.php/resources1/bottle-bill-tool-kit


Oh and if you’re looking for a very deep dive into our plastic problem, specifically in our ocean, this 194 page report put out by The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, & Medicine called Reckoning with the U.S. Role in Global Ocean Plastic Waste is a great resource.

 

[1]https://www.minderoo.org/plastic-waste-makers-index/findings/executive-summary/

[2] https://resource-recycling.com/plastics/2021/11/03/lobbyists-report-on-federal-recycling-proposals/

[3]https://www.greenpeace.org/usa/news/plastics-industry-shows-desperation-ahead-of-break-free-from-plastic-pollution-act-reintroduction/

[4] https://www.surfrider.org/coastal-blog/entry/plastic-ordinances-prevail-in-florida#:~:text=In%202008%2C%20Florida%20became%20the,beaches%2C%20parks%2C%20and%20playgrounds.

[5] https://www.miaminewtimes.com/news/coral-gables-loses-fight-to-ban-styrofoam-and-plastic-bags-11538028

[6] https://www.breakfreefromplastic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/10/BRAND-AUDIT-REPORT-2021.pdf

[7] https://www.statista.com/chart/22963/global-status-of-plastic-bottle-recycling-systems/

[8] https://www.bottlebill.org/index.php/benefits-of-bottle-bills/bottle-bills-prevent-litter#:~:text=Government%2Dfunded%20studies%20conducted%20pre,from%2030%25%20to%2065%25.