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Big Brands are Being Sued for Contributing to the Plastic Crisis

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Lawsuits are being filed against some of the world’s biggest brands for their contributions to the growing problem of plastic pollution. Earth Island Institute, a Bay Area environmental organization, filed a lawsuit against ten companies, including major consumer brands like Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, Nestle, and Procter and Gamble, alleging that the companies are complicit in providing the millions of tons of plastic that’s polluting our planet. 

Millions of tons of plastic ends up in our waterways, on our coasts, and strewn across the oceans. Much of the plastic in the ocean becomes ingested by wildlife, releasing toxins that and breaking apart in the form of microplastics that can even end up in our bodies. The lawsuit references a particularly troubling 2019 report, that alleges the average person will ingest approximately 5 grams of plastic, which is roughly the size of a credit card, every week.

“The products that we are targeting in our lawsuit are contained in plastic packaging that is designed to be used for a short period of time, sometimes just a few minutes. And yet, this packaging pollutes our bodies from one generation to the next, and our planet for centuries,” said Earth Island’s General Counsel Sumona Majumdar in a statement.

The organization hopes to incite some accountability with companies, as they plead with the court to order them to clean up polluted areas and to stop labeling products as recyclable despite the majority of them never being properly recycled at all. Most American recycling facilities are capable of recycling a handful of different types of plastic, with a large percentage of waste showing up simply being tossed in a landfill. 

The Coca-Cola Company and our other defendants churn out millions of tons of plastic packaging each year and want us to believe that it is all being recycled,” said Majumdar. “It’s a misinformation campaign, similar to those used by Big Tobacco, Big Oil, and Big Pharma. Now is the time to hold Big Plastic similarly accountable.

This lawsuit is yet another public outcry of the growing problem of plastic pollution in our country. Five states have since banned the use of single-use plastics like grocery bags, and a new bill being introduced by lawmakers calls for the outright ban of some plastics altogether. 

“This is not just a disaster that future generations will have to deal with,” Mark Molumphy, lead counsel for Earth Island, said in a statement. “It is happening now and getting worse with each passing day.”

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